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ABC Does Some Undercover Diamond Shopping

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by sonnyjane, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. sonnyjane
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  2. Sky56
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    by Sky56 » Jul 11, 2013
    Thanks for sharing. Quite disconcerting but not surprising to see shady business practices in the jewelry industry.

    It was great to see Antoinette Matlins in the video. She has written wonderful books, I own several of them - her very clear, easy to understand, detailed writing on gemology has been highly educational for me as a consumer. Books are listed here:

    http://www.antoinettematlins.com/books.html#EWR3
     
  3. Sandeek
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    by Sandeek » Jul 11, 2013
    That was a very interesting journalism piece on the dishonest salespeople not disclosing clarity enhanced. And in some cases lying about what CE is. Buyer beware is the moral of this story. Do your due diligence before visiting NYC diamond district that's for sure. I live close to NYC and would still buy online before venturing through the diamond district for a purchase so expensive.
     
  4. allowingtoo
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  5. msop04
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    by msop04 » Jul 11, 2013
    Thanks for posting this, sonnyjane!

    This is unfortunate but so true, and it's also a perfect example of why it is important to educate yourself (at least somewhat) on anything that you plan to spend a lot of money on... Thank goodness for PS and other informative sites!! :))
     
  6. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » Jul 11, 2013
    In defense of the jewelry industry.....

    The methodology of this sort of piece is to look at dozens or hundreds of jewelers, biased toward ones that you think are a problem and to broadcast those that support their position. This same thing could be done with nearly any industry. That's no excuse for the bad guys behaving badly, and it's certainly a reason to be careful as a shopper, but it's not evidence of a massive risk either.

    What can a careful shopper do?

    1) Buy lab graded goods and be picky about the choice of lab.
    2) Use a credit card.
    3) Only buy from dealers who have a clearly spelled out return policy that allows for a 100% refund for some reasonable amount of time and for ANY reason. You should have the right to think about it outside of the reach of the salespeople, to show it to your friends, neighbors and appraiser.
    4) Require sales documentation that spells out exactly what is being purchased.
    5) Use appraisers who are NOT the seller or who are working for the seller. Trust but verify.
     
  7. Wink
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    by Wink » Jul 11, 2013
    I enjoyed seeing this, Antoinette Matlins and Barry Block are both friends of mine over many, many years. Both have been fighting the good fight against the bad guys for as long as I have known them. (Antoinette is part of Gemological Bonanno family. Her father Anthony ran a gemology school for many years and her entire family is very well known in the gemological circles.)

    As a jeweler I was especially appreciative of the fact that they did show an ethical jeweler too. So many times these investigative reports visit good people too, but do not show them as it does not fit the profile that they are looking for. There are bad apples in every profession, just as there are good ones. It is nice to see one done with proper balance.

    This shows clearly why you must do some homework before you blindly buy any product, especially one as complex as jewelry.

    Wink
     
  8. soxfan
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    by soxfan » Jul 11, 2013
    ugh! I wanted to watch this and missed it! I'll have to see if it's on demand...
     
  9. AprilBaby
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    by AprilBaby » Jul 11, 2013
    I got it on the link above. Very scary shopping if you have no clue what's going on. I think many sales people only know what they are told from the boss. Most mall people I met have no clue what they are talking about. I went to a jared once and the kid selling diamonds asked me why I would want a GIA cert when an IGI was top of the line....huh????
     
  10. sonnyjane
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    by sonnyjane » Jul 11, 2013
    That's a good point, a lot of mall places have employees that just recite whatever they've been fed. In this exposé piece, however, did at least to me seem like they were lying intentionally. The employees took special care to skirt around important issues as opposed to just giving the wrong answer.
     
  11. lovebug1031
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    by lovebug1031 » Jul 11, 2013

    i had one sales person there try to convince me radiant and cushion cut were the same...um what? no
     
  12. coati
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  13. Rockdiamond
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    by Rockdiamond » Jul 11, 2013
    It was a very interesting report.
    I do think that by going down 47th street- as opposed to "Main St." the entire report was biased in a negative manner.
    Of course there's many less than informed salespeople- and this does create a problem for buyers all over the country..BUT...in my experience, which includes many years on the road selling diamonds to jewelers, all over the US, 47th street is by far the worst market for this type of chicanery.
    The ultra high rents, and close proximity to competitors creates a high pressure situation.
    I wince pretty much every day at seeing how bad the representation is on 47th street.
    My point is that the averages are skewed by using 47th street, versus picking jewelry stores in a wider range of locales.
    There's a lot of really honest jewelers out there
     
  14. ChristineRose
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    by ChristineRose » Jul 11, 2013
    I think it's interesting that CE stones aren't sold by legit jewelers very much, at least not so far as I can tell. I would never buy anything from someone who tells me "It's worth $10,000 but Imagonnaletyahaveitfer $3,000."
     
  15. sonnyjane
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    by sonnyjane » Jul 11, 2013
    Agree. I'd like to imagine that most people greet offers like that with skepticism, but clearly many people do still take the bait.

    I was wondering, and the pros might know the answer to this: Is the insurance more expensive for CE diamonds? Do companies even offer insurance on those stones? And for companies that replace with like stones, I'd imagine they would only cover other CE stones?
     
  16. Modified Brilliant
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    by Modified Brilliant » Jul 11, 2013
    What I learned from this report...

    Fake mustache adhesive will not work well throughout the day.

    Barry Block looks very professional in a full length laboratory coat.

    Sadly, uneducated diamond salespeople still exist and "CE" diamond disclosure will continue to be in tiny letters or accompanied by an asterisk * on many "lab" reports and "appraisals."

    Unrealistic "appraised values" and "great discounts on inferior goods" is old news recycled into new news.

    I'm always appreciative of any consumer report that exposes this type of behaviour...it's important for the consumer
    to know these CE diamonds exist.
     
  17. astar11
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    by astar11 » Jul 11, 2013
    I have question though, if cust buy from respective seller like victor canera, leon, steven kirsch, ja, bgd, wf, goodoldgold, do cust need to get guarantee in writing?
     
  18. ChedWick
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    by ChedWick » Jul 12, 2013
    That was an interesting segment. As pointed out by some others I can see where they sought out the most likely places to give them the experiences they wanted but that doesn't take away from the fact that this does happen and that those who are wise enough and informed enough to avoid experiences like these, are grossly outnumbered by those who don't know any better.

    I'm certainly no expert but I do consider myself cautious when buying anything and like to know everything I can about what I'm buying. I never buy expensive items on impulse and hardly ever buy anything without first reviewing its feedback. Doesn't matter if its a 1500 dollar TV or a pair of 10 dollar headphones. This is why my diamond/engagement ring search, took nearly 4 years.

    Not knowing any better I started right where most do, the Mall at the Kays and Zales of the world. I slowly moved up and finally found my way to the quality vendors such as Good old Gold, James Allen, and White Flash.

    Looking back at my experiences, I had quite a few that would have likely ended with me being hustled if I wasn't so particular with what I buy. I don't believe clarity enhanced diamonds ever came up except from a sales person at Jared when I told them I was already in the process of buying a diamond. They asked what the specs/price were then proceeded to tell me that it had to be too good to be true and that it was probably a CE stone due to it being 2k+ less than what they could get me.

    I've learned I'd rather deal with a gemologist and actual jewelers and will avoid "sales persons" at all costs.
     
  19. Christina...
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    by Christina... » Jul 12, 2013
    Re: ABC Does Some Undercover Diamond Shopping
    by Modified Brilliant » 11 Jul 2013 19:38
    What I learned from this report...

    Fake mustache adhesive will not work well throughout the day.

    Barry Block looks very professional in a full length laboratory coat.

    Sadly, uneducated diamond salespeople still exist and "CE" diamond disclosure will continue to be in tiny letters or accompanied by an asterisk * on many "lab" reports and "appraisals."

    Unrealistic "appraised values" and "great discounts on inferior goods" is old news recycled into new news.

    I'm always appreciative of any consumer report that exposes this type of behaviour...it's important for the consumer
    to know these CE diamonds exist.

    I had this thought as well and it certainly doesn't appear to be for the best interest of the consumer. It's sad and frustrating that some consumers feel as though they are being diligent by only purchasing stones accompanied by lab reports, assuming that they are protecting themselves, only to find that the lab appears as eager to deceive them as the dishonest jewelers in the video were. :nono:


    Re: ABC Does Some Undercover Diamond Shopping
    by Rockdiamond » 11 Jul 2013 16:14
    It was a very interesting report.
    I do think that by going down 47th street- as opposed to "Main St." the entire report was biased in a negative manner.
    Of course there's many less than informed salespeople- and this does create a problem for buyers all over the country..BUT...in my experience, which includes many years on the road selling diamonds to jewelers, all over the US, 47th street is by far the worst market for this type of chicanery.
    The ultra high rents, and close proximity to competitors creates a high pressure situation.
    I wince pretty much every day at seeing how bad the representation is on 47th street.
    My point is that the averages are skewed by using 47th street, versus picking jewelry stores in a wider range of locales.
    There's a lot of really honest jewelers out there

    I 100% agree. I think that in the interest of FULL disclosure, ABC should have included additional information such as the number of jewelers they visited and how many of them were deceptive. These investigative reports are so often presented in a manner meant to alarm consumers and paint, in the case, the diamond industry with a broad brush, when I think it's quite likely that they met many more honest dealers than dishonest ones.


    by AprilBaby » 11 Jul 2013 12:29
    I got it on the link above. Very scary shopping if you have no clue what's going on. I think many sales people only know what they are told from the boss. Most mall people I met have no clue what they are talking about. I went to a jared once and the kid selling diamonds asked me why I would want a GIA cert when an IGI was top of the line....huh????

    I agree Aprilbaby. I'm always stunned by the lack of knowledge that sales people have. I once asked to see an asscher, the SA looked at me in complete confusion, so I told her that she probably referred to them as square step cuts rather than asschers. She then told me that Asschers were not step cuts, then pulled out her handy sheet of paper with all the fancy cuts listed and while I was arguing that they were indeed step cuts, she decided that 'they were only step cuts to a point!' :rolleyes: We left in a hurry. :lol:



    I also found it interesting that the reporters made such a huge issue of the appraisal values as though inflated values are unique to CE stones and not to almost every single stone sold from a BM store. Of course there are exceptions but inflated values are issued much more often than not.
     
  20. Rockdiamond
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    by Rockdiamond » Jul 12, 2013
    I agree about the point Christina made about inflated appraisal values- this is endemic as many store appraisal are inflated- as well as the fact that that EGL reports include valuation, which seem always to be heavily inflated.
    It's not really the same as selling CE diamonds without disclosing. Although it still reeks, I would not put it in the same category as selling CE diamonds undisclosed.

    Also great point about how the report shows only one honest seller.
    Who knows how many places they visited- but as Christina and I also agree, 47th street retail area is simply not the place to use as a barometer of the integrity of America's jewelers

    As a general rule, yes, insurance companies will insure whatever jewelry you're willing to pay premiums for.
    As far as replacement- it varies with policy.
    Many will replace with a comparable stone- meaning they can use a CE stone.
     
  21. allowingtoo
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  22. kenny
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    by kenny » Jul 12, 2013
    I applaud ABC for doing some important diamond education!!!

    Part 2 should expose the diamond industry's 'lab problem'.
    ... why grades of F VS1 from EGL is not the same as F VS1 from GIA or AGS.

    IMO, this is a more shocking and widespread problem than clarity enhancement.
     
  23. sonnyjane
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    by sonnyjane » Jul 12, 2013
    Thank you.
     
  24. Rockdiamond
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    by Rockdiamond » Jul 12, 2013
    +1,000,000

    I have to heartily agree.
    I speak to so many people who get nasty surprise when trying to sell a "certified" diamond - only to learn the "Certificate" is not going to help them at all.
    People who've bought CE diamonds unknowingly is far more rare in my experience
     
  25. delight
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    by delight » Jul 12, 2013
    Just food for thought. Why don't consumers do research for buying an engagement ring when they can get all nitty and gritty for lower priced stuff like t.v., cars, cooking stoves, lawn mowers... ?

    It really surprises me on the amount of people I know who purchase a diamond without doing any prior research. Do you guys see the same thing happening around you?
     
  26. kenny
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    by kenny » Jul 12, 2013
    People vary.
    Many are stupid.
     
  27. Christina...
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    by Christina... » Jul 12, 2013

    reading quickly, this is what I saw....

    People vary.
    MEN are stupid. :lol:

    I completely agree with your Part 2 topic btw!
     
  28. coati
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    by coati » Jul 12, 2013
    I think it's easy for us–at PS–to forget the newbie's perspective and that romantic rush and all things emotional about the engagement ring purchase. Sure the onus is on the consumer to do their homework, but the larger issue is the lack of disclosure in the industry. I have no problem with ABC's exposé, as I think of the average consumer, who knows nothing about clarity enhancement, inflated appraisal values, and lab grading reports. So if the show gets shoppers asking jewelers questions, then that's a good thing. We know that some jewelers are averse to consumer questions from the countless threads posted here.

    The segment reminded me of that Gallup poll discussed at the 2011 GIA Symposium that Rob Bates blogged about at JCK.

    "Jewelers ranked near the bottom when Americans were asked 'what professions do you trust,' according to a poll by Gallup... Only 20 percent of those surveyed said they trusted jewelers, right down there with lawyers and members of Congress."

    Shows like this don't help with that perception, but there is a reason behind it. And yes, this can be applied to almost any industry. The Internet has changed shopping research, and over time, info on topics like clarity enhancement will hopefully reach the average consumer.
     
  29. coati
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    by coati » Jul 12, 2013

    Old news to seasoned pros and prosumers but not to the average engagement ring shopper. This news needed recycling, because the problem isn't going away.

    I'm with you on the mustache. And I can't believe they tried that beard in the beginning!
     
  30. MissStepcut
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    by MissStepcut » Jul 13, 2013
    Hear, hear.

    I meet a lot of people who think diamonds are a scam. I try to explain that they really aren't, but really? Most retail diamond purchases do look sorta scammy. Meaningless grading certificates, sellers promising you're buying "wholesale," badly cut and heavily included diamonds that would be damn hard to resale. By the time I finish my spiel about how to avoid scammy diamonds, I really do get where they are coming from. So many things to avoid!

    I meet a lot of other people who aren't worried at all, because they "know a guy." Their friend has a trusted family jeweler. They're sure they'll get a deal, because their friend's sister's diamond appraised for double what they paid. Those people are even harder to talk to.

    I think it's difficult, even for people who have "done their homework" and spent a couple hours researching diamonds to get to the truth of the matter.
     

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