Diamonds have become a global favorite as far as jewelry and ornaments are concerned. Everything is now being laced with diamond cuts, from engagement rings and necklaces to bracelets. As a natural resource, diamonds are rare. For this reason, they have always been costly. Thus, only the wealthy have been able to have them.
However, enter science to the rescue. In the recent century, crystal growth technology has enabled the creation of synthetic diamonds. These diamonds are usually less costly than mined ones. Thus, diamond synthesis has brought diamonds within reach of the general public.
Sadly, there is a snake in paradise.
Enter Jewelry Scams
Every industry has its share of scams, and the jewelry industry is not exempt. Fraud is now a common concern for people buying or investing in diamonds. Every year, companies in the industry incur losses running into hundreds of millions in any currency. Unfortunately, the situation is also not good for people buying diamonds.
There are many scams people fall victim to when buying diamonds. These include weight scams, diamond switches, altered certificates, and even color treatments. But don’t fret. We will now arm you with some important things you should know to avoid falling prey to these.
What to Keep in Mind When Buying Synthetic Diamonds
These are the things you should know before you buy synthetic diamonds.
1. Not All That Glitters is Diamonds
Deception plays a huge role in diamond scams. One of the things people often get deceived about is the nature of the diamond piece they’re buying. When it comes to man-made diamonds, there are two types. They are synthetic diamonds and simulated diamonds.
Many diamond vendors and companies mix “simulated diamond” and “synthetic diamond” with their customers. Even more, most customers themselves mix the terms. But they’re not the same.
Simulated diamonds (or diamond simulants) are diamond look-alikes made out of synthetic stones. They look like diamonds, but they are not natural diamonds. They do not have the chemical traits of real diamonds. Synthetic diamonds, on the other hand, are real diamonds. The only difference between them and mined diamonds is where they come from.
Of course, diamond simulants are not hard to spot. Their look isn’t the same as real diamonds, and they’re not as durable. Yet, it is still quite easy to mistake them if you’re not careful. So, watch out for simulants pushed as real diamonds. That is unless you’re going for stimulants in the first place.
2. It’s All About the ‘C’s.
As they are not mined from the earth, are lab grown diamonds real, and are they just as good as their natural counterparts? This is a question that many people ask when they are looking for an alternative to mined diamonds. The answer is that, in many ways, lab-grown diamonds are actually superior.
For starters, lab-grown diamonds are usually free of impurities, which means that they are more colorless and clear than natural diamonds.
They are also typically less expensive, since they don’t need to be mined and don’t come with the same environmental impact. And because they are produced in a controlled setting, lab-grown diamonds can be made with very specific characteristics in mind, such as carat weight and cut.
So whether you’re looking for a traditional diamond or something that is truly unique, lab-grown diamonds are definitely worth considering.
Nevertheless, whether you’re going for real diamonds or simulants, you should know the four ‘C’s of diamonds. These are crucial traits on which the overall quality of a diamond depends. They are:
- Carat weight
Diamond graders pay attention to how a diamond is cut, and so should you. The diamond-cut affects the quality and brilliance of the diamond. If the diamond is cut well, it will reflect more light. But if it’s poorly cut, it will reflect less and appear dull and lifeless.
The clarity of a diamond is a measure of what flaws it has inside and on the surface. A flaw inside the diamond is known as inclusion, and one on the surface is called a blemish. Therefore, more clarity usually means higher quality.
Diamond color is the basis for many diamond scams. These scams may involve unclear color grading and color treatments. In the case of unclear color grading, a vendor may list more than one color grade for a piece. This is a red flag.
Diamond pieces are color graded in letters from D to Z. As a rule, a diamond should have only one color grade. Any confusion about the color grade of the diamond may mean it was stolen, or that it is not certified. It also raises questions about the expertise of your vendor.
Color treatments are not as clear-cut. They involve masking the poor color with a layer of chemicals. So they are not bad per se. But vendors may mislead unwary buyers into thinking the color is authentic.
The weight (in carats) is another crucial trait of a diamond piece. The price depends largely on it, and it also shows how rare that diamond is. Therefore, you should pay attention to weight to avoid weight scams.
3. Certification Matters
Yes, it is. Diamond certificates are reports issued by authorized gemological institutes like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). These reports are based on the four ‘C’s we talked about. They let you know the quality of the diamond you’re buying and whether it is authentic. This way, you can avoid getting ripped off by vendors.
Thus, if you want to be sure of your diamond quality, you should only buy certified diamonds. If your vendor claims a diamond is of high grade, you should ask to see a grading report. If they refuse to provide one, that’s your cue to walk away.
It would be best if you also were wary of fake grading reports. Vendors know that buyers will ask for grading reports. For this reason, fraudulent vendors may offer you reports from unknown sources. They will claim that reports from these sources are just as good as reports from any of the licensed agencies. Don’t be fooled. If the certificate is not from a licensed agency such as the GIA or AGS, it’s likely a fake.
Finally, keep the certificate. Oh, yes. It’s yours. You should lock it up somewhere safe for possible future reference.
4. Receipts are Queen
You should know to ask for a receipt after purchase. This is especially important if you’re going ahead to buy an uncertified diamond anyway. Diamond grading certificates contain all the crucial details about a diamond. But if your diamond is not certified, you should have a receipt listing all these details, including grade.
There is also the likelihood that you may need to return the diamond in the future and ask for a refund. How will you do that with no receipt?
5. Beware of “Great Prices.”
Sure, great prices are great. Part of the appeal of synthetic diamonds is that they cost less than mined diamonds. But you should beware of “high grade” diamonds being offered at temptingly “great prices.” If it sounds too great to be real, that’s because it probably is.
Diamond scams are a pain in the butt. There’s nothing like a good rip-off to soil that bliss of an engagement or your glittering gift to a loved one. Plus, it is a hassle to return diamonds, lay complaints, or sue vendors for fraud.
This is why you must understand the importance of these pointers above.
You can be scammed, whether you’re going for a mined diamond, a synthetic diamond, or a simulant. So, keep your eyes sharp, and be advised.