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diamond switching

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by writing, Jan 22, 2008.

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  1. writing
    Rough_Rock

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    by writing » Jan 22, 2008
    I need advice. I brought my round diamond ring into a local jewelry store to be appraised a couple of months ago. I had a previous appriasal done in 1991 when I purchased the diamond from a loose diamond seller in the diamond district in NY. That appraisal which was done by an independent appraiser. The appraisal said the diamond was a VVS2/VS1; F/G color and 1.66 carat weight. The value was stated as $15,000.00. The diamond was set in a 14K gold tiffany setting.
    When bringing in the ring to the jeweler I was told that I had to leave the ring for 10 days for the appraisal to be done. I needed the appraisal because I was purchasing new insurance and was requested to get a new appraisal.
    I brought in 4 other pieces of jewelry at the same time that all tripled in value.
    I was out of town when the appraisal was finished and my husband picked up the jewelry for me. Much to his surprise, when he read the appriasal it said that the ring had a diamond in it that was a VS1; J color with a value of $11,400. We brought the ring that was given back to us to 4 other jewelers in our area that said it was a VS1; J color stone.
    I know that this was not the diamond I brought into the jewelry store to be appraised. I have had the diamond for 16 years and know the stone they gave me was not my stone.
    I have already talked to the jewelry store and they deny switching the stone. Any advice would be appreicated.
     
  2. heyeliza
    Rough_Rock

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    by heyeliza » Jan 22, 2008
    Do you have a way of identifying your diamond such a plot? Do you know if your diamond has a laser inscription? If you do, this is pretty straight forward to prove if switching did happen. Best of luck.
     
  3. DBM
    Shiny_Rock

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    Oct 24, 2006
    by DBM » Jan 22, 2008
    i would be curious to know if the diamond in question now does in fact weigh 1.66 cts. it wouldn''t be conclusive proof but it is something of a marker. also if the previous paperwork had specs on the mm measurements of the round i would check that. if it matches dead on there''s a good chance it''s the same stone i think...
     
  4. nolimits
    Rough_Rock

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    by nolimits » Jan 22, 2008
    If you have an old plot of the inclusions, that would be the easiest way to identify. The dims and weight might help but it''s possible they had something the same size/weight to make a swap. Did they do inscriptions back then?

    Outside the "bad" appraisal, what makes you feel the stone was switched? Any particular characteristics? Less fire?

    This will be hard to prove but I''ve heard of it happening before. Of course hindsight is 20/20 but this is one of the reasons many people prefer to use independent appraisers vs. jewelry stores.
     
  5. EricaR
    Ideal_Rock

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    by EricaR » Jan 22, 2008
    My mom actually had her stone switched once a few years back. It was my great-grandmother''s ring and has a lot of sentimental value. Since it is also a large stone (3.5+ct), my mom started carrying a loupe and the inclusion plot with her. After so many years of getting it checked twice a year she is used to pulling out the loupe and confirming the stone is hers before she signs any papers.

    When the stone was switched she was in a small store in a mall. They were shocked that she could tell. She immediately called a manager over and they fixed everything. The employees claimed it had been a mixup while replacing two of the prongs. [​IMG]
     
  6. Ellen
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by Ellen » Jan 23, 2008
    Take in the appraisal you had done when you first bought the stone and show it to them.
     
  7. Modified Brilliant
    Brilliant_Rock
    Trade

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    by Modified Brilliant » Jan 23, 2008
    Okay...let's back up a little here. Was the diamond weighed, measured and graded loose when you originally
    purchased it in 1991? Or was the diamond in the mounting and then graded by an independent appraiser?
    Did the appraiser have a working relationship with the seller or was the appraiser totally independent? The fact that
    your original appraisal has a split grade indicates to me that the diamond was graded "in the mounting." An appraiser
    will usually not "split" a grade if the diamond is loose. Diamond "switching" at any level is practically non-existent.
    It's an easy way to ruin a reputation and possibly find yourself in jail. It's just not worth it.


    I would, at this point in time, have the ring appraised by an "independent" qualified appraiser. If you wish,
    the diamond should be taken out of the mounting, then weighed, measured and graded. You'll eventually
    get to the bottom of the situation. But don't conclude that your diamond was switched until you have all
    the facts. Keep us informed, please.

    Jeff Averbook,GG
    Graduate Gemologist since 1986

    www.metrojewelryappraisers.com
     
  8. Ellen
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by Ellen » Jan 23, 2008
    I know you guys keep saying this, but it happened to me, and there''s other posts on here about this type of thing as well. I''m not saying it happens a lot, but you honest guys (and I mean that sincerely) give some of the jewelers out there way too much credit, imho.

    Also, what I tend to give some credit to is the fact that she''s had the diamond for 16 years, and feels it''s not hers. I would kinda think after all that time, she''d know what her diamond looks like. But I could be wrong. [​IMG]
     
  9. nolimits
    Rough_Rock

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    by nolimits » Jan 23, 2008
    I wouldn''t accuse someone of switching my diamond on a "feeling". I''d want some proof. Really if she has the original plot showing the inclusions, then she can go back and loupe it and be certain if the stone is hers or not. If it has the inscription, the job becomes even easier.
     
  10. denverappraiser
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

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    by denverappraiser » Jan 23, 2008
    Ellen,

    I’m with Jeff. I hear tales of stone switching on a near daily basis and, when we dig into it, it’s almost never supported. It happens, but it’s a tiny percentage of the number of times that people think it happens.

    The problem is both a fear of repair jewelers and an inherent optimism about original sellers. For example, the assumption being made here is that the original stone was a 1.66ct. VVS2/VS1, F/G. I call this an assumption because the source is a statement by the original seller and an ‘independent’ who was working on his behalf. There seems to be no dispute at all about whether it’s a diamond, the weight or the clarity. The only item in question is color. Is it G, J, or something else entirely? One of the other key assumptions being made is that the all of these graders are correct and that therefore the stone must have been switched. Unfortunately, this too is suspect.

    As far as I can tell, so far none of the 6 graders is a credible source because we lack sufficient information to make that call. The default answer is NO and just because they work in or own a jewelry store doesn’t change that. Did any of them have any training at this? Was it graded mounted or loose? Did they use diamond masters, a colorimeter or just guess? Was it in a controlled environment? Did they even clean the stone first? They may be right, I don’t know, but a poll of workers at a jewelry store isn’t any more a sensible way to have a stone graded than to blindly accept the word of a seller from 17 years ago as accurate. Appraise the appraisers and, if they are found wanting, don’t rely on their opinion.

    I’m going to take the Writing’s word that she knows her diamond well enough to recognize that it’s now different and I’ll give some advice in a few minutes about that but this is not sufficient evidence for a criminal charge (which is what this is) or even an insurance claim with most companies. There’s simply not sufficient evidence of a loss occurring at all. It’s her word against theirs. Most appraisal sessions involve a professional cleaning and this can make the stone look VERY different. It’s quite common for people to not recognize it and, if the value conclusion is lower it’s common for them to assume that the stone has been switched. If the value given is higher they rarely have a problem with it.

    The most likely scenario is that the original jeweler simply overgraded it when it was sold in the first place and it took 17 years before she got around to getting it appraised. Another likely issue is that the second and subsequent graders didn’t clean the stone correctly and they are simply misgrading the color. We just don't know.

    Working,

    I’m sorry to be harsh in the above paragraphs. Your position is difficult. *IF* it has been switched, you need to get some better evidence than what you have told us. The original appraiser may be some help but most don’t keep files for 17 years and often there wouldn’t be much there anyway that not in your report. Did the first appraisal that the seller got for you include a plotting, dimensions, photographs, fluorescence, girdle description or anything else that can be used to match to the report to the stone?

    If the stone was switched, the prongs will need to have been worked on and there will be tool marks and similar evidence of that work. An independent appraiser should be able to assist in inspecting the piece for this sort of thing.

    Assuming you can collect some decent evidence about the prior condition, you may have a small claims case against the jeweler but the key to this is going to be your paperwork. The key items will be the original appraisal, the original sales receipt, the appraisal report and any other paperwork provided by the jeweler and the report from your independent. Even with bulletproof documents you won’t have a criminal case because it’s unknown what happened in the intervening 17 years and I think your chances of civil action are slim but you may be able to build build enough to support an insurance claim, especially if you’ve had insurance from the same company for the entire 17 years.

    Neil Beaty
    GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
    Professional Jewelry Appraisals in Denver
     
  11. Diamond*Dana
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Diamond*Dana » Jan 23, 2008
    So all you had done was an appraisal, nothing more (setting seitched) that would make the diamond appear different to your eyes? I would think that you would know your diamond after 16 years of owning it, but I am not so sure that I would be so quick to accuse a jeweler of switching the stone. I think that your best bet here is if you have a prior report and/or plot of this stone that you could compare to...then I would get an independent appraisal and see what happens. Was the stone originally weighed unmounted? If so, I would have it unmounted and re-weighed.
     
  12. Ellen
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by Ellen » Jan 23, 2008
    Neil, as always, a very interesting and informative post. I guess we''ll just have to wait and see on this one.
     
  13. MustangGal
    Ideal_Rock

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    by MustangGal » Jan 23, 2008
    Don''t most of the diamond switching issues arrise with the diamond being switched with a CZ? I don''t think I''ve heard one with the diamond being replaced with another diamond.

    If it had been switched out for a lower color stone, I don''t think the monitary gain would be enough to make it worth it. It sounds more like conflicting appraisals. Try a real independant appraiser and get the whole story.
     
  14. jng2b
    Rough_Rock

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    by jng2b » Jan 23, 2008
    I think that, at most, you might have an insurance claim if you can get another appraisal and confirm that it is NOT the same stone as the original stone. However, I think you will have absolutely no chance at getting any recourse from the jewelry store. Unless you had a plot made when you dropped off the stone, and then re-plotted it immediately when you picked it up (before you left the store), there is no way to prove that you didn''t switch the stone on your own, either sometime in the last 17 years or since you''ve picked up the stone. I also find it odd that the jewelry store just happened to find another stone that so closely resembled yours within the 10 days and decided to switch it. It is not that big of a difference in color - I vote for conflicting appraisals, not stone switching. But I''m not an expert - just my common sense opinion.
     
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