How do I know what I am getting?

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Sep 3, 2000
People from all over call anonymously every day and ask me questions similar to the above. They are finding what seems like incredible bargains because they have shopped well, but now have the problem of realizing they simply cannot tell if the deal is fair or if there is misrepresentation involved.

What comes to my mind is: Who do you trust? Why would you place your trust blindly in a relatively unknown seller?

I urge people to get a time set into the deal before payment is made or several days after payment is made to go and have their purchase verified for proper accuracy. I''m always amazed and saddened by the general lack of understanding of how to protect oneself during a purchase. At the time of purchase is the best time to be proactive in protecting your rights, not after you discover a hidden problem.

Diamonds with no GIA, or AGS report are very likely to be graded differently than their represented quality. Even diamonds with GIA and AGS reports often get somewhat different opinions and occasionaly one discovers a wrong report with a diamond entirely. Some diamonds with other lab reports have what appears to be bargain prices, but usually the prices reflect what the diamonds actually would grade and not the higher grades on the report. Once in a while, these diamonds are the very best deal in the market, but you cannot possibly know that before an expert sees it. All of this can be accidental, but sometimes sellers of certain badly documented diamonds intentionally use this phony grading to make sales. We don''t see a lot of bad guys out there selling diamonds from legitimate store fronts or from well respected Internet firms, but plenty of diamonds are bought on on-line auctions and flea market sellers who are here today and gone tomorrow. Nearly every major market has at least one or more B&M retailers who do use corrupt lab documents to defraud innocent consumers. The claim that all lab reports are the same is hogwash. Don''t fall for it.

After all the education you can get here about diamonds, a consumer still can easily be victimized. A very large part of getting a bargain and a great deal is actually getting it and not coming close yet missing the brass ring. Be thorough, less impulsive and cautious. Determine the sort of seller you are dealing with. If paying means it is yours with no return privileges, be extremely skeptical. If inflated values or non-GIA or non- AGS reports are part of the sales pitch, be very protective of your wallet. Don''t fall for a bargain that is too good to be true. Let Bernie Madoff set your eyes to reality on getting way more than a faiir deal.....It rarely, if ever, happens. Nearly all lab reports are useful and welcome, but it takes expert interpretation to know how to rely upon specific ones. A consumer just can''t do it alone.

We are in increasingly desperate times. Sure, it isn''t the end of good living forever, but the economy may lead more sellers into pushing the honesty envelope a bit more and more. Reliable sellers are far less likely to be tempted if they stick to the high road of proper documentation and adequate return policies.
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