This age-old saying holds true for just about any aspect in life – especially when choosing and buying jewelry for your special someone. So, we are here to educate as well as equip you in order for you to defend your loved one’s honor and your hard-earned money against bogus jewelers.
The Blue-White Diamond Trick
This is a very old term that scammers use. Here is what the dealer does – he will probably tell you that it IS a better diamond. But, truth of the matter is, it is NOT.
“Blue-white” refers to the fluorescence that results in natural light; and, appears to have ultraviolet wavelengths. Further, the fluorescence can make a colorless diamond look a little oily or milky against the light. This scam can get you to buy a sub-standard diamond since it is not of the real value.
The solution? WALK AWAY. Avoid jewelers of this kind, as it is obvious that they have scammed a lot of customers.
The Carat-Total-Weight Sham
You’ll see this “tag” in plenty of jewelry retail stores of diamonds in a ring. They make sure NOT to enlist the center stone separately. It’s just impossible to compare prices with several other rings IF you do not know the REAL weight and quality of the main diamond.
Pay attention because this is crucial. One large diamond is worth MUCH MORE than 6 small ones that total the same weight.
For example, if you have one G/VS2 diamond which weighs 1.00 carat, then it has to cost over £3,000. But, ten smaller G/VS2 diamonds totalling 1.00 carat might only be worth a little over £1,000. So, there’s your scam right there! Simply because the smaller diamonds in most stores are of lower quality – much lower than this example, actually.
The solution? Ask for the weight and quality of the center stone itself, in writing. Don’t be afraid to head for the exit if they refuse to do it. After all, it is best to put your interest on top of theirs.
The 50%-Sale “Offer”
This isn’t a sweet deal. Chances are, the jeweler is DESPERATE to make a sale. And, if you’re not careful, you will fall victim to this kind of scam and may part with a good amount of money. Honestly, there is nothing romantic about this setup.
Rumor has it that a major jewelry store in Florida, U.S.A. marked up their gold chains up from $100 to $500 AND THEN marked them half-price down for a sale. That said, a customer ended up paying for $250 for an item which was originally pegged at only $100.
Things are no different when it comes to diamonds on sale. Liquidation and “going out of business” tactics are usually employed by most jewelers, particularly in New York City. It’s been going on for 15 years, in fact. But, hey, don’t expect them to tell you that!
The solution? Don’t fall for any of these sale offers. Go for the regular-tagged jewelry and negotiate with the store wisely. Better yet, get in touch with the REAL EXPERTS in diamond-and-gold crafting! We aren’t called House of Diamonds for nothing, after all.
The “Bait-and-Switch” Act
This trick is as old as the blue-white diamond scam and is still being employed by many stores. The Office of Fair Trade (TOFT) has outlawed such scam. Unfortunately, it still happens as it is hard to keep track of all 25,000 jewelry stores in the U.K. and in U.S.A.
The scam takes place when a store advertises a diamond at a great price. But, as soon as you get to the store, your dream find is tagged “sold.” What the jeweler will do is offer you an item, which looks “more exquisite” and more expensive.
They bait you with a fake offer AND switch you to a piece of jewelry that brings them the highest profit.
The solution? If the item you want is unavailable, don’t settle for something else. If the store can’t give you exactly what you came for, then head straight for the door. It is your right as a buyer.
The “Light-Makes-White” Scam
Selling diamonds is likened to going out on a date. The man puts on his best behavior to please the woman he sets his eyes and heart on. The jeweler applies the same “dating concept.” This time, however, he shines his brightest light on the diamond-encrusted-gold band you have set your eyes on for a higher price. Now, that’s heartbreaking.
You see, bright lights make each piece of jewelry look better. Of course, every jeweler wants to show his diamonds in the best light; but, there are some lighting tricks you should avoid.
Some bulbs have a strong blue-color component that makes yellow stones look whiter. Other jewelers use special bulbs with strong ultraviolet wavelengths that make most diamonds fluoresce blue. This trick can also whiten some stones of lower color ranges.
The solution? ALWAYS ask if the diamond has fluorescence; and, ask to see the piece of jewelry without the bright lights in another part of the store before you buy it. And, DO ask for a certificate from an independent laboratory to verify the grade if you are looking for a fine color. The laboratories make it a point to mention any sign of fluorescence. If the store agrees, proceed with the purchase. If not, LEAVE.
The “Grade Bumping” Scam
Just about every jeweler you will meet WILL exaggerate ALL grades in his store.
If a jeweler does not offer you a certificate from organizations like The Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A), then, clearly, he is exaggerating the grade. There are no exceptions. The TOFT states that a jeweler must be accurate within one grade of color and one grade of clarity on a diamond.
This means they can be inaccurate to one color and clarity. And there are no strict guidelines given in the law for which lab definitions to use. So, many jewelers may “legally” bump the color and clarity of a diamond by 1-2 grades, at the very least.
One of the ways stores extend their legal range, is by giving you a “G-H color,” for instance. That means they can legally call an I color a G-H. In fact, because it is hard for consumers to prove misgrading, we have seen grades bumped as much as 3 to 4, or even more!
Stores, in several occasions, grade L colored-diamonds as a G, which is 5 grades higher. Unfortunately, this can mean a great deal of money if you are talking about a fine-quality, 1-carat diamond.
The solution? If you are looking for a fine-quality diamond, insist on a recent certificate from respected gemological institutions like the Gem-A. And, remember to compare prices of other stones bearing the exact same certificates.
Have you been scammed recently? Tell us and we’ll be sure to give you more tips on how to dodge scheming jewelers. Drop us a line, will you?