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What do YOU do when a friend approaches you with crummy diamonds?

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C Smith

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2006
Messages
176
There is a glut of crummy I2 stones in many mall jewelers cases it seems. I hate it when a friend comes to me all excited and shows me his or her newly gifted ring and asks "How did fill in the blank do on my new diamond ring?" . My friends and associates all know I''m a gemologist and passionate about gemstones so I''m the guy they come to. In most cases, the unfortunate in the equation bought the ring at the mall and they were seemingly confused into believing that since 2 is a higher number than 1, it must mean that an I2 is better than an I1
It''s sad and as I am no liar nor shatterer of anothers dreams, I politely decline to answer when the jewelery is truly low-grade commercial product with massive feathers and eye-visible inclusions that even threaten durability(The purchasers did get what they paid for in every case...but they paid for commercial grade junk so no dishonest price gouging occured seemingly).

I recently had a good female friend approach me with her new 10kt yellow gold three stone engagement ring and the center stone was an I2 and the two accents on either side were true I3''s. I felt horrible for her but as she was pleased with the ring and the good-intentioned man who gave it to her... I was not about to tell her he bought her a 300 dollar-ish ring (this couple is middle aged and both make pretty good money) in exchange for her hand in marriage.I excused myself politely to see to a pressing matter.

Don''t get me wrong, 10k gold and I2 diamonds have a place, but I see them more as a setting or small accents for semi-precious stones and the like, not engagement rings. I will buy a nice 10k piece in a minute if the stones are good and the price is right.

A stranger that comes to me with a not-so-great piece or even a true masterpiece is assured of an honest and immediate assessment but it''s not so easy to look your friends in the eye and decline to validate their great feeling about a piece of jewelery when they look to you with such expectation. How do some of you handle that as tactfully as possible? I will not lie to them and I''d be surprised if silence didn''t speak volumes in these circumstances. Thoughts?
 

poptart

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2006
Messages
1,899
I am no gemologist, but can obviously tell a better cut diamond from an badly cut one. I have been in a similar position before, and instead of answering I kind of just smiled and excused myself ( and might have said something along the lines of "oh, that''s nice")... because I had NO idea what to say. Especially considering her fiance spent waaaaaay too much money buying it and it was three small radiants that were completely dead. No scintillation, no fire, nothing. So it''s hard, but I think it is best to just duck out as you do and not say anything. Silence speaks volumes. And besides, in your case, they KNOW you are a gemologist and should have come to you BEFORE making a purchase like that!

*M*
 

DBM

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
404
If they got cheated by the price OR i think there''s the option still for them to return the piece then i''ll tell them straight out.

Otherwise if they got a fair deal for the quality and they can''t return then there''s no constructive benefit in telling them. I let them be happy in ignorance... unless i think they may make the same mistake again or something then i''d throw in something as a suggestion for the future.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
26,954
I am no expert either.
In that situation I put what I DO know aside.
I hold her hand to look at the stone.
I look her in the eye and say, "It's beautiful; you must be so happy. He's such a wonderful man."

In this situation her feelings and the friendship are so much more important than my expertise and being accurate.
Finding love really is so much more important than a well-selected diamond.
To me this is emotional honesty.
 

firebirdgold

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2005
Messages
2,216
The brief look of dismayed panic probably gives me away!
But I can usually find something to say about the ring or piece of jewelry. When someone is excited about their piece of jewelry and expecting praise they don''t seem to actually notice that you''ve commented on the ring rather than complimenting it. (especially if you smile and use a positive tone of voice) ''Oh! a Marquis cut diamond!" (totally omitting that the only way one can tell it''s a diamond is by context!)

It also works if you say something positive about the idea rather than the actual object. ''Oh! a three stone engagement ring to symbolize your past present and future! I think that''s such a romantic idea for an engagement ring!".


The worst was when my fsil proudly showed off her new engagement ring to me. *shudder* Fortunately commenting on how unusual it was pleased her. I was able to say something positive about her diamond since it was a very pretty green color ...
 

ladykemma

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
2,194
Date: 11/23/2006 12:17:27 PM
Author: IndieJones
The brief look of dismayed panic probably gives me away!
But I can usually find something to say about the ring or piece of jewelry. When someone is excited about their piece of jewelry and expecting praise they don''t seem to actually notice that you''ve commented on the ring rather than complimenting it. (especially if you smile and use a positive tone of voice) ''Oh! a Marquis cut diamond!'' (totally omitting that the only way one can tell it''s a diamond is by context!)

It also works if you say something positive about the idea rather than the actual object. ''Oh! a three stone engagement ring to symbolize your past present and future! I think that''s such a romantic idea for an engagement ring!''.


The worst was when my fsil proudly showed off her new engagement ring to me. *shudder* Fortunately commenting on how unusual it was pleased her. I was able to say something positive about her diamond since it was a very pretty green color ...
green? was it moissanite?
 

RockDoc

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
2,509
Like a doctor needs to have a good beside manner, a gemologist needs a high level of what I call "rockside" manner.


Rendering an opinion, requires a multitude of considerations.

A. If the item is an engagement ring, or an article that is going to have sentimental/romantic meaning, approaching this with a heavy hand of compassion is needed.

B. A true disclosure of your expertise is important too. For those who want to hold themselves as critics ( either positive or negative) rendering an opinion comes with some liability issues too. If you are an expert with credentials, the level of liability is higher, but if you''re not an expert, and choose to render an opinion, that the person didn''t like, you could open a pandora''s box of liability. If you aren''t someone qualified, maybe it safer and far better advice to say, it''s is best that you get someone professional to evaluate the purchase. This illeviates the pressure on you, and is probably a good way to address the problem without having to say something that you don''t really believe.

C. A stong consideration of what the person asking really wants to know. I ask people in advance of seeing anything if they want the factual truth, or not. I am very assertive and direct on this subject. If you sense risking the friendship, it is best to politely decline an opinion rather than get into a "stew" about it. As a suggestion you might ask: " How would you feel if I didn''t like what you bought?"

D. Essentially, I do think most people want to know the facts. They really don''t want "sugar coating". I find this to be exceptionally true with "Cruise Purchases".

E. Another sometimes cumbersome consideration is the difference between getting the "perfect quality item", reconciled with a financial budget. Sometimes a limited budget requires buying something less than perfect, and they may have paid a fair price for what was purchased, and perhaps discussing that is reasonably the prudent and compassionate way to approach how to handle rendering a judgment.


F. Guess a good catchphrase here is to practice..... "When in doubt, DON''T!"


Hope this helps

Rockdoc
 

mtrb

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2003
Messages
207
There are all types of people out there... honestly I have a friend who insisted on buying his fiance a 3 stone engagement ring at ZALES even after I warned him. What he got for 3k was a piece of crap compared to what I was able to purchase here. At that point, I just nod and say "very nice" and congratulations... what else can you do? Its like the old saying " you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". I would love to tell him how horrible I think the stones and setting are, but that is just not my place and they are happy. If they like it, then they like it, it is just none of my business. So..sometimes a little fib or smile is in our interest of friendships. Really it does not affect us anyhow.

Some people do their homework and some do not.. some end up being brain surgeons and some become Janitors...

The world needs Janitors too.
 

etienneperret

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Messages
49
It is a no win situation.
Very much like when you are asked, " Do these pants make me look fat?"
Tell the truth and they will resent you, be diplomatic and they may be mad at you later when they learn more from someone else.
Good luck.
 

allycat0303

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
3,255
Well I think that it depends on how the question was asked.

For example, if it''s "how did blank do on my ring" lots of smiling, blushing like a newly engaged happy girl, then I would find an aspect that I loved and compliment it, ex "I love trinities" the setting is so original etc.

If someone asks me "how did blank do on my ring?" serious face, I want your honest opinon kind of vibe, then I would tell the truth (but in the gentlest way possible)

I think sometimes, people may ask something like that in a rhethorical question kind of way, like they want to share their happiness and it''s a way to call attention to the fact, but not to get an actual opinon.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,674
Date: 11/23/2006 12:14:57 PM
Author: kenny
I am no expert either.
In that situation I put what I DO know aside.
I hold her hand to look at the stone.
I look her in the eye and say, 'It's beautiful; you must be so happy. He's such a wonderful man.'

In this situation her feelings and the friendship are so much more important than my expertise and being accurate.
Finding love really is so much more important than a well-selected diamond.
To me this is emotional honesty.
I agree with this. If they insist on your opinion of the grading, politely refuse to give it on the grounds that you are not equipped to do a proper inspection in such a casual circumstance. You are doing neither yourself nor them a favor by guessing and they will respect you for your decision to eschew offhand opinions, especially if you are perceived as an expert. If they really want it graded, send them to an independent gemologist and have it done right.

Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

Julian

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 5, 2004
Messages
724
Usually, it's too late to return the ring if it's on her finger. I can't imagine that any expert opinion would cause the couple to return such an emotional symbol. The only time I would be brutally honest about my opinion on quality would be when they were looking or at any stage before it was on her finger.

Otherwise, if it's on her finger... I'd give her the reassurance and appreciation she wants. There's always something to compliment! Even if it's a milky stone from Zales, someone loved her enough to buy it for her. And that's very special!!!
 

justjulia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
2,308
I would say, "uh uh, oh no you didn''t!" No, not really, but I''d be thinking it. One man''s trash, another''s treasure. Jewelry is supposed to be cheerful. The kind of cheerful you put on when your friend''s bride''s maid dress selection is unreal but you smile and wear it anyway.
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
''what matters is you like it''.

''if you want a professional opinion, i prefer to not do business with my friends. i can suggest XXXX who is more than competent and will give you an accurate appraisal''.

''i''m so pleased that you found something you enjoy''.

those are things i''d probably say....i tend to be a bit more honest/blunt than the average josephine.......

movie zombie
 

Scooba

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 10, 2006
Messages
431
I think if someone is just asking because they want to show off a bit and they are happy and you can tell they don''t know anything about diamonds then you could sugar coat it a little and just say it''s pretty and not look any closer.

If someone wants an honest opinion to know if they have quality or if they overpaid, then I think that you should warn them that you are a gemologist and you are very discerning on the matter of diamonds, and that you are going to give them an honest opinion if they would really like you to take a close look at it.

I don''t know anything about liabilities, you should probably take the other gemologists advice, I am just a commoner, but I know some of my friends who don''t know anything about diamonds and are just starry-eyed to have a ring probably wouldn''t want to know the truth..ignorance is bliss, right?
 
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