You go to ten different Jewelry Stores looking for a large Diamond Engagement Ring.
You know you want a 1.50 Carat Brilliant Cut Diamond, VS2 Clarity, F Color (Exceptional Quality). Most of the Jewelry Stores you visit are fairly close in price ($14,000-$15,000), except for this one particular Jeweler who is willing to knock off over Three Thousand Dollars for this ring.
You buy the ring. It’s a beautiful ring and you’re very happy and excited about giving it to your girlfriend until you go and get the ring appraised…
The Appraiser tells you that the Diamond you bought is NOT a VS2 Clarity, F Colored Diamond, but it’s an SI1 Clarity, G Colored Diamond instead (Check them out here at James Allen).
That’s one full grade lower in both Color and Clarity. And guess what?
This is Perfectly Legal!
It’s legal and it happens all the time. It’s called Grade Bumping and people never know about it until it’s too late.
The fact is, you could have gone out and purchased a 1.50 Carat Diamond, SI1, G Color instead for only $11,000. You could have saved yourself over $3,000+!
That’s a HUGE difference. I’m sure that you would feel as burned as I would…
How is this Legal?
It’s Legal because Grading Diamonds all boils down to one thing: Opinion!
Every single Diamond in the world is different and will get a difference of opinions. One Jeweler may look at a Diamond and grade that stone as an SI2, while another Jeweler could look at that same Diamond and call it an I1.
They Both are!
The same goes for Color as well. Color is very subjective. “It looks like a White Diamond to me…”
Keep in mind that this isn’t saying that Jewelers are lying about the Color or Clarity, or that they’re even trying to scam you. They may truly believe they are right and that the Diamond is that Color and Clarity. After all, it is their opinion.
Most Jewelers you run into will be legit and wouldn’t do anything to harm their reputation. Plus, some Diamonds are borderline and could go either way. There are just too many things that could affect the final grade.
And I’m also sure you will find those unscrupulous Jewelers that will bump the quality up on purpose. Some may push the Color and Clarity just because they can. You have to be careful. And you should always deal with a reputable Jeweler. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
The bottom line is, there is no exact science when it comes to grading Diamonds. There are no rules that state “This Diamond must have 14 small Inclusions no bigger than a fine hair to be called an SI1…”
It doesn’t work that way. It’s all based upon training, experience and knowledge. Plus what mood they’re in at the time of Grading as well as the time of Day and the light source can all be a factor of how a Diamond looks and how a Diamond is graded.
The FTC allows Grade Bumping
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) says that grading Diamonds (both Clarity and Color) may be off as much as one whole Grade one way or the other, but no more than that.
If a Jeweler thinks that they could ethically get away with calling an SI1 Clarity Diamond a VS2 instead, they probably will. It’s just their opinion. And it will make them more profit.
Grade bumping happens and there is only one way to totally prevent it:
Buy Certified Diamonds
If you buy a Diamond that is NOT Certified, you open yourself up to that single Jeweler’s opinion and view point on what they perceive that Diamond could be, or could sell for.
But, if you buy a Certified Diamond, then you remove the Jeweler’s opinion from the equation. Certified Diamonds are Certified by an independent outside source where the appraiser at a Gem Laboratory uses their expertise, knowledge and sophisticated equipment to grade the Diamond as accurately and correctly as they can (I prefer GIA – The Gemological Institute of America).
Certificates will tell you what the quality of the Diamond really is and not what the Jeweler wants to sell it for.
By buying Certified Diamonds, you protect yourself and your Diamond against Grade Bumping. It really is the only way to be sure.
Not only do I recommend Buying Certified Stones, but I also recommend buying Certified Laser-Inscribed Diamonds.
Laser Inscribed Diamonds have the Diamond Report Number Etched directly onto the Girdle of the Diamond.
That’s Proof Positive!
Because $3,000 is a lot of money to lose.
And that’s just not my opinion…
That’s a fact!
Buy your Certified Diamonds Here at James Allen and you WILL Save Money, and you won’t be Bumped! :)
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About the Author
Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist and Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
Let Richard help you choose the best diamond, the most dazzling engagement ring, and save as much money as possible. Read more about the author here. Follow Richard on social media; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Contact Richard Scott here.