Here are some of the most common engagement ring scams and ways to spot them. Follow VideoJug’s advice and learn how to avoid engagement ring scams.
Step 1: Know Your Jeweler
Before you even walk in a jewelry store, check out the company on the Better Business bureau’s website to see if there are any outstanding complaints, or worse, lawsuits filed against the jeweler.
Step 2: Understand Diamond Speak
Clarity defines and grades the number of internal inclusions and external blemishes a stone might have. The fewer flaws, the brighter the stone, and the more light it reflects.
Color refers to the diamond’s interior body color. This varies greatly, ranging from colorless, or “clear”, to faint yellow, or even brown. The less color, the more you’ll pay…
unless your diamond has a strong, intense color, like rare red or blue. These are far more expensive than colorless diamonds.
The Cut of a diamond is not its shape, but how well it’s fashioned and proportioned to maximize it’s brilliance. The better the cut the brighter, more brilliant, the diamond.
Carats and points denote a diamond’s weight, which in turn determines its size. Jewelers are legally obligated to write the precise decimal carat weight on the price tag.
Step 3: Examine it
Diamonds are as much art as commodity. Two diamonds with identical specifications can look very different, depending on the artistry of the cut. The right cut maximizes a diamond’s brilliance. So beware when buying online paying too much attention to data and low res pictures. You must see a diamond in person before buying it.
Make sure the diamond is loose, and not mounted in a ring when you inspect it. It’s easier to see its imperfections this way. Look at the stone with your naked eye first. If you can see blemishes without magnification, think twice before buying.
Next, examine the diamond under ten power magnification. Any legitimate jeweler will have a binocular microscope for you to use. You can also use a “loupe” but these are harder to use. Here’s an insider’s tip: make sure that the loupe is a 10 power and not a 2, 3, or 5 power loupe. Some jewelers might use this trick so you won’t see a diamond’s flaws. If the jeweler gives you any excuse why you can’t inspect the diamond under magnification… walk away.
Examine a diamond’s clarity by viewing it against a black background, lit from the side. When inspecting a diamond’s color, view it on a white background. Some jewelers will show you a diamond only on a black background, which will make even the most yellow diamonds appear white.
Step 4: Get the Cert
Make sure that whatever diamond you choose has a “Cert” – a written document from a credible gemological lab, like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) that delineates the diamond’s Four C’s and other useful info.. Ask to see this document before you purchase the diamond. This way you know exactly what you are buying.
If the jeweler gives you excuses or cannot produce these important documents, you may be dealing with an unscrupulous jeweler.
Step 5: Spotting Flaws and Fakes
A jeweler may try to sell you a treated diamond without telling you. Treated, or “clarity enhanced” diamonds, have had a little cosmetic surgery. Similar to the way chips in car windshields are fixed, flaws in diamonds are filled in with liquid silicone or another filler. The problem is that these fixes often aren’t permanent. Exposure to sun, heat, and even some household cleaners will turn the filler different colors or make it fall out altogether. These diamonds are real, just flawed.
You can often spot filled diamonds under 10 power magnification. Here’s how the experts do it: Turn the diamond onto its face, point side up, and look for flashes of single colors which will indicate you are looking at a fracture filled, treated diamond. If you see flashes with many rainbow colors at once, then you are probably looking at a fracture of an untreated diamond.
Some engagement rings are impressive… but they’re still fake.
You can spot fake diamonds, like Cubic Zirconium, by placing a newspaper behind the stone. If you can read the print, then it’s a fake. Real diamonds will scatter the light and blur the print.
Step 6: Price
When it comes to price, if you see a diamond with a price that seems too good to be true….chances are, it is. Be wary of stores that don’t put the prices on their merchandise, but put cryptic pricing codes instead. This allows them to change the prices depending on how much they think they can get out of you. If you don’t see exact prices on the jewelry, move on.
Make sure that you have the jeweler put in writing on the sales invoice the exact gemological specifications of the diamond, such as the 4C’s grading of the diamond.
Step 7: Get An Appraisal
Finally, after settling upon a diamond and purchasing it. Have an independent jewelry appraiser inspect the stone in your presence to verify it is what the jeweler says it is and it is the same stone described in the certificate.
To find an appraiser, ask reliable jewelry organizations like The American Society of Appraisers for recommendations in your area.