Tricks and traps!
Keep your eyes and ears open for these lovely, little jewelry store tricks, traps and trade secrets.
20 sneaky ways.
Below are 20 items that jewelers use to ‘creatively‘ promote, sell and push low quality goods.
Yellow diamonds, used merchandise and low clarity.
Some of these can be labeled as: confusing, misleading, not educating the consumer, using sneaky selling techniques, and…
Pulling the wool over your eyes.
But no matter what you call it, you should be aware and pay attention the next time you’re in a jewelry store looking for that perfect gift.
You may not be getting what you wanted.
And you may not even know what it is you got.
Tricks of the trade
Just remember, these tactics will only work if you allow them to. It all boils down to one thing: Knowledge. With knowledge you’ll know the difference between a low grade diamond and a higher quality one. You’ll understand the 4C’s. You’ll know how to shop and how to shop smart.
So here we go, the tricks of the trade:
1) Pre-Mounted Diamonds
Generally pre-mounted diamonds are lower quality and not certified. Jewelers set lower quality diamonds into mountings (like semi-mounts) because it makes them look better and people have a tendency to ignore diamond quality in a mounting. People are usually more concerned with the overall look. Pre-setting diamonds into rings, pendants and bracelets can mask their quality and even cover up chips or bad flaws. Make sure you microscope all the diamonds in any mounting. You never know, that mounting could be hiding the fact that the diamond is yellow.
Just be warned.
2) Lighting Hides Fluorescence
Be careful of diamonds that have fluorescence (fluorescence is listed right on the diamond certificate).
And under the bright jewelry store lights, that diamond with fluorescence may look fine. But getting it out into natural sunlight may make that diamond look milky, foggy, hazy or even yellow. Always see if it’s possible to view a diamond in different lighting situations. It may change how the diamond looks. Read more: diamond fluorescence.
3) Grade Bumping
If you’re not buying a certified diamond, then you don’t know what you’re buying.
You may be paying too much for that diamond and you may not be getting the quality they say it is.
An SI2 clarity, F colored diamond could really be a I1 clarity, G colored diamond. If the diamond is graded by the “jeweler’s personal opinion“, then it could be exaggerated or wrong. Read more: grade bumping.
4) Forget the 4C’s
This is sad.
Diamonds are priced and sold based upon the 4C’s. If they don’t discuss it, then what are they hiding?
If they don’t mention the 4C’s, then they are just playing you for a fool.
5) Pushing Quantity over Quality
A lot of stores will try to upscale you into buying a larger diamond. Many will say that size matters over clarity and color. This is not true. Women are always more happy with good quality than they are with size. Bigger is not always better.
6) Approximate Carat Weights
Watch out for the sales fliers and catalogs that say their jewelry is 25 points (for example), but the fine print says “carat weight is approximate and can vary as much as 07 points or more”. So what is the real carat weight of the item? Are you paying for a .25 and only getting .18 carats? Find out what the real weight is before you buy. If you’re only getting 18 points then you should only be paying for .18 points. Right?
Be careful with trade-ins. It may sound like you’re getting a good deal, but a lot of times trade-ins are not worth it.
Most of the time you can actually get the same exact deal without the trade-in. So are you giving your trade-in away? Read more: jewelry trade-ins.
8) Multiple Color Grades
If you buy a solitaire diamond (single diamond) and they list the color as 3 multiple colors like G-H-I, then don’t buy it. Single diamonds should only be listed with one color grade (like G) at the most (unless the piece of jewelry has more than 1 diamond in it). Be careful that the jewelry store isn’t stretching the truth and trying to cover all the bases. And also note that if they do give you a small range, like G-H, then that usually just means that the diamond is a really an H (9 times out of 10). Read: multiple color scam.
9) Misleading Terms
Some salespeople will say anything to sell a diamond. And if it’s misinforming the public, so be it. If they say “bow-ties are not good”, then don’t buy it from them (bow-ties are good as long as it’s not too dark). If they say “spread stones” are good, then leave. Spread stones chip easier and lose light.
If you hear contradictory statements from jewelry store to jewelry store, then you need to do your homework first. Learn the truth. Find out which jeweler is fibbing and trying to mislead you.
10) Certifying Low Quality Diamonds
This is a tactic used by some jewelers to try and sell more lower quality diamonds (and it works perfectly). That’s because people are led to believe that a certified diamond is a good diamond. People hear that you must buy “certified“, but don’t realize that it doesn’t matter if it comes with paperwork… What really matters is the actual quality of the stone.
You have to ask yourself…
What’s the clarity?
What’s the color?
Stores are certifying I2 and I3 clarity diamonds to make them sound better. Be careful, I3 clarity is the lowest clarity grade available on the earth. Certifying it doesn’t change that fact or make it any better.
11) Not Microscoping the Diamonds
If the jeweler doesn’t give you the opportunity to view and inspect the diamonds up close, then don’t buy it from them.
All jewelry stores should show you diamonds under a microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe. And they should also show you how to use these items (like showing you how to properly hold a jeweler’s loupe). If you don’t see the diamonds under magnification, walk away.
The reason why some jewelers don’t let you scope their diamonds is because their diamonds are low quality and they are hoping that you don’t care.
12) Spread Stones
Spread diamonds are diamonds that have a narrow depth, but are much wider than a normal cut diamond. Spread stones will look bigger than they really are. A 1.00 carat diamond can look more like a 1.50 carat. Which sounds good, but spread stones lose light, life, brilliance, sparkle and can actually chip much easier. Spread stones look big, but should be passed over.
13) Pushing Price
If a jewelry store does nothing but push price, be careful. A lot of jewelers think that this is all a customer wants, a cheaper price. They will work you over by dropping the price repeatedly, but rarely do they ever talk about quality.
It’s just cheap, cheap, cheaper.
Take it or leave it.
If it sounds like the bargain is too good to be true, it probably is.
14) High Appraisal Prices
If they are selling a diamond for $3,000 and telling you that it will appraise for over $12,000, then be extra cautious. Selling a diamond based upon a high appraisal value is only trying to make it sound like you’re getting a really good deal. A high appraisal value doesn’t mean squat. What matters is what the quality is you bought, and how much you paid for it. That’s the bottom line. So always make sure you shop around and compare similar items. See who’s really giving you the better deal. Plus, a higher appraisal value only makes you pay more in insurance. :(
Read all the fine print.
Is the weight approximate? Are the stones lab-created? Heat-treated? Fracture-filled? Moissanite? Read how their discounts apply. What is their return policy? Is sizing an extra charge? There’s always some hidden fine print… Read it. And also read: Disclaimers.
16) Selling Used as New
If the jeweler you deal with also “buys” jewelry from the public or estates, then you may be purchasing used goods.
Some jewelers just polish up the “used” jewelry and resells it again as “new“.
This is devious.
You should always inspect the jewelry well before you buy it. Look for damaged stones, chips, scratches in the metal, dents, dings. Look at the shank, is it worn and thin? Are the prongs new and durable? There’s nothing wrong with buying “previously owned” merchandise, as long as you know it is. But not disclosing this fact is fraud. Read more: jewelers buying gold.
17) Bait and Switch
They advertise one piece of jewelry at a really good price (just to get you in the door), and then you find out that they’re “sold out” of that item. Usually these places won’t give you rain checks, and they will try to talk you into a more expensive piece. Beware!
18) Keeping your Old Mountings
If you have your diamonds reset into a new mounting, you should get your old mounting back. Unless you talked about it and worked it out in the price of the new item, those old mountings are yours.
Jewelers usually work your old mountings into the deal, but they need to tell you that that’s the case. Also, if you have a watch sized and links taken out… Then make sure you get those extra links back. They are yours. You may need them. Read: extra watch links.
19) Cheap Mountings
Cheap Jewelry means Cheap Mountings.
For the most part, cheap jewelry is thin and breaks easily. Most inexpensive items are hollowed out and so thin you could bend them with your fingers. Mountings like this usually contain low quality stones, yellow diamonds that look like salt, and they are usually made quickly and horribly (just take a look at them under a scope and you’ll see). They are cheap for a reason. Looking at them may make you want to buy a nicer, more durable piece.
20) Blue-White Diamonds
If any jeweler still uses the term “blue-white” then don’t buy it.
Blue-white is an old, discontinued, misleading term that was supposed to make a diamond sound like a top-notch white diamond. But many times it just refers to the fact that the diamond has blue fluorescence in it. Not good. Pass on these “blue-white” specials.
So here’s my advice:
Keep your eyes and ears open so you can spot these low quality deals, steals, tricks and traps.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with buying low quality… as long as you know beforehand that it’s low quality.
If you like it and are happy with the piece, then all is good.
But if the jeweler tries to hide the fact that it’s low by not telling you more about it, misinforming, misleading or pushing price, then shop somewhere else.
Don’t rush into buying.
Look it over.
Know what it is you’re purchasing first. Learn what the quality is.
And always make sure you know what their return policy is.
You just never know.
Because some jewelers also like to keep that a trade secret.
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