You always hear about jewelers switching diamonds.
It’s on the news.
It’s in the papers.
But is it really a cause for alarm?
Sure it is. But also know jewelers don’t switch diamonds.
Individuals do. And truth be told, only a very few people would ever attempt such a feat. So it’s those couple of unscrupulous fools that give the rest of the jewelers a bad name.
It raises such a concern that customers are afraid and nervous to leave their diamonds behind for simple things like repairs, ring sizings, retippings and even polishings.
Can you blame them?
I don’t. I mean, a jeweler could switch out your nice, beautiful, expensive diamond for a lower quality diamond that’s full of inclusions; Sure. Would you know? Not likely.
So customers get nervous leaving their goods. And then they get excited picking them back up… So excited that they don’t even look at them closely enough. They put the items on and smile all the way out the door.
And once they leave the store, it’s their word against the jeweler’s.
(Which is why you have to look closely at your items before and after you drop them off…)
Customers do have to be concerned, no doubt.
But jewelers do as well.
It really is a two-way street
Think about it… How does a jeweler know that a customer didn’t take their ring elsewhere and have their diamond switched out? How do they know that they’re not trying to trick them? Can jewelers trust all customers? Nope. Not really. Scam artists are everywhere… This switching can go both ways. Scary, eh?
So what does a consumer do?
How can you prevent yourself from becoming a victim of diamond switching? Can you ever trust a jeweler enough to leave your rings behind?
The answer is: YES!
Yes, you can trust your jeweler. Yes, you can leave your rings for repair.
And, if you want to know the honest to God’s truth, most jewelers wouldn’t attempt to steal your diamonds anyway. This is because most diamonds are either small in carat weight, or flawed (And jewelers already have tons of those diamonds).
I know there is always a risk involved with a jeweler that could switch diamonds, but everything in life is like that. There are no true guarantees. You just have to be smart, do your homework, and be prepared.
The number one way to keep from getting scammed is…
To know your diamond!
That’s it. To keep from having a jeweler switch your diamond, is by knowledge. Know your stone. Get familiar with it.
Know what quality it is. What the color, clarity, cut is…
Which also means, you’ll probably need a diamond report or an appraisal. That way you can learn what the inclusions in your diamond look like under a microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe, and where they are positioned.
Every diamond has inclusions that are unique in nature. They have their own individual fingerprint, just like people. These characteristics make them different than any other diamond in the World.
So you’ll need to scope your diamond and search for those flaws. Spot where the inclusions are. If you memorize where they are, and what they look like, you’ll be able to identify your diamond later. Because inclusions don’t grow or shrink. They don’t change colors or fade. Those inclusions that are in the diamond now, will look like that forever.
What’s the plot?
If you know what your inclusions look like, you’ll always be able to see them. This is true. And you can even make a drawing of these flaws… Identifying all the marks, black spots, lines, cloudy areas, pin-points… A map like this is called a diamond plot. Diamond plots lay out the inclusions in the stone like markers on a map.
But, there is a better way…
No matter how hard some people try to read inclusions and see where they’re at, they often fail.
This is because it takes practice and experience to be able to understand the scribbles and symbols. At least enough to identify them from other stones. Most people are lucky if they can spot just a couple of these flaws.
So what’s a better way?
Certified diamonds are proof of your diamond’s quality. It’s not just some jeweler telling you what that diamond is. It’s an independent appraiser accurately and expertly judging your stone for Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight.
Is this enough?
YES and NO. Just being certified isn’t always enough…
This is because a certificate could list that a diamond is a brilliant cut diamond, with SI1 clarity, and F color (great quality). But you know what? There’s hundreds and thousands of diamonds that are SI1, F… The reports all say the same thing.
So how does that particular certificate really prove that the diamond you’re looking at is really the diamond you bought?
First off, buy a diamond with a certificate that also has a professional plot of the inclusions on it. Some certificates have these, others don’t! Buy a diamond that does have one (most GIA certified diamonds over 1.00 carat do). Those identifying flaws are the diamond’s fingerprint. Those markings are 100% proof of ID.
Buying a diamond that’s also laser-inscribed is the best way.
Laser inscriptions are the best way in the World to guarantee you get your diamond back. Laser-inscribed diamonds actually have the certificate number etched into the side of the stone (see picture).
Match the numbers on the diamond up with the numbers on the report.
BINGO! THAT’S A MATCH!
The diamond girdle, the edge, that little rim that runs around the outside of your diamond, holds those little microscopic numbers and will be there forever. Those numbers should match the numbers on the certificate and there’s no way to fake those (and you can also verify those numbers with GIA’s report check HERE).
Laser-inscribed numbers are permanent and last a lifetime. They will help you identify your diamond always.
So scope your diamond:
When you take your diamond into a jeweler, scope it. Look for your set of numbers. When you get your diamond back from the jeweler, scope it again and find those numbers. You’ll then know without a doubt that it is your diamond and that your diamond wasn’t switched.
So if you want to go home happy and smiling, buy a diamond that’s certified by GIA, and has a laser-inscription.
Laser-inscribed diamonds are well worth the investment and well worth the peace of mind.