How to Avoid Diamond Switching Scams at the Jeweler’s

diamond switching scams

Casting a Shadow of Doubt?

Whether you have an anniversary celebration, upcoming engagement proposal or simply want a nice piece of diamond jewelry, you will want to take precautions to ensure you receive the exact goods as stated at the point of sale.

Even if you are going for a basic cleaning at your local retailer, knowing how to avoid diamond switching at the jeweler’s will ensure the safety of your precious stones in their hands.

You should follow these basic guidelines on what to look for and how to proceed with caution when dealing with a jeweler; especially one that you are not familiar with yet. 

When Does Switching Usually Occur?

These terrible scams can happen more often than you think and are usually targeted at unwary customers. Diamond switching usually occurs when you are leaving a diamond unattended with an unethical sales associate or a jeweler.

Did you know that a diamond can be switched just after you have picked it out and need it placed in a setting? This requires you to leave the stone overnight or over a period of a few days with the jeweler. With more time to work with the stone, it makes it easier for unscrupulous jewelers to make the switch.

Diamonds can also be swapped out quickly when going for a simple cleaning routine. Once you walk out of the store without checking, the jeweler will have complete deniability even if you realized that the stone had been swapped.

Usually, diamonds are swapped with high quality CZ stones and they look as good as the real thing to unsuspecting consumers. You probably won’t detect anything amiss until months or years later. By that time, it is too late to make any accusations! It’s your word against theirs…

It doesn’t hurt to be wary even if you are working with a reputable business that has been around for some time. While most jewelers want to build a long term business reputation and trust with the customer, you never know who the character of a new person they might have hired behind the counter. You probably won’t even know whether their business is suffering and they have resorted to corrupt methods in order to profit off your ignorance.

Most Jewelers Don’t Want Your Stone Anyway…

The truth of the matter is, the majority of the jewelers are trustworthy and sometimes, honest mistakes can occur. When does this happen? For example, if you are bringing in your jewelry for a simple repair or change of setting, there can be cases of mix ups in the workshop.

In order to prevent such an issue from ever occurring, you should always request the jeweler to plot your diamond on a receipt before leaving it in their hands. Basically, this involves the jeweler hand drawing the locations of the inclusions and mapping them out clearly on a piece of paper. A copy of this plot is then kept by both you and the jeweler for identification purposes when you return for collection.

jeweler plot before any repairs take place

A Receipt With The Plotted Diagram Helps Protect Both Parties And Avoid Misunderstandings

For any reasons that the sale staff or person in charge refuses to plot the diagrams, take your diamond to another jeweler. There’s no point exposing your expensive items to any unwanted risks.

Reputation – Do You Need to Worry When Buying in a Physical Store?

In the age of the Internet technology, it is easy to get information on reputable jewelers easily at the click of a few mouse buttons. If there have been any scams or concerns raised by any previous customers, this information will most likely be well documented in sites like Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.

Jewelers should be able to provide proper information and any necessary equipment to view your stone prior to completing a sale transaction. If they refuse to do this or make excuses, this is a huge red flag and calls for attention.

Also, you should be wary when businesses ask you to pay cash upfront with no written guarantees. Never take such risks because it is very hard to track cash payments. Should the deal be a sham, you may not have the evidence of having paid for your purchase. On the other hand, a credit card transaction will leave a paper trail for you to have as a backup plan.

Know Your Diamond Inside Out!

know your diamond's inclusions

Inclusions Don’t Change!

Before you go anywhere with your diamond, it is essential to do a thorough inspection of the stone first. From the clarity to the individual inclusions, you should put in some effort into recognizing your potential purchase. Take notes if you can and clarify anything that you are unsure about on the spot with the jeweler.

Did you know that professional appraisers can take up to a few hours to appraise the value of a diamond depending on their experience and the nature of your stone. If their examination process can be so detailed and thorough, yours should be as well.

When you are faced with the scenario of leaving your diamond unattended for cleaning or re-sizing work, make sure you view your diamond through a loupe with at least 10X magnification. This is best done in front of them as you will be sending them the message that you know your stuff and they better not be messing around.

Check for details like unique inclusions or marks on your diamond. Make a note of this and let the other party re-confirm the details you had seen and come to a common agreement. This will let them know that you are paying attention to every detail. If there is a laser inscription on the diamond, make it known to the other party too. It can be used as a quick and easy way for verification.

What to Look For Before You Leave?

Before you leave the shop with your jewelry, all you got to do is to re-verify the details during the pickup. If you sense any hesitancy or notice something off, make sure you raise any disputes immediately.

   
Here’s a tip: Ignore anybody who tries to make you feel embarrassed for double checking the above details. As a consumer, you have all the right to know that that your diamond is the one that you had paid for and not any other stones.

   

Keeping these important tips in mind to prevent diamond switching is an important part of protecting your own investment. Even if you know the jeweler very well, it never hurts to be cautious. Stay vigilant and always use documentation to avoid any unnecessary trouble should there be disputes.

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