Gem Scams on the Internet

Today, internet-savvy buyers have some idea how diamonds are valued and have access to the wholesale Rapaport Price Report. The elaborate guarantees, fancy certificates and ‘bargain prices’ offered by obscure websites, tempt them to order such diamonds via the internet. Unfortunately, they do not know how to use price lists and what determines a fair price. Our young buyers often fall for so-called ‘bargains’ which are offered at prices even wholesalers struggle to match. Certified well-proportioned diamonds have an international dollar price known to all dealers. If a diamond is sold below this, there is usually a good but undisclosed reason why it is so cheap.    

Now and again, an internet buyer will walk into my office and ask for his stone to be set, or just to find peace of mind on the ‘bargain’ he had bought. Great his disappointment when he discovers the bargain price was no bargain but due to one of the following:

  • Stolen goods have no cost, need to be moved quickly and are sold cheaply – and are bought at significant risk.
  • Over-graded diamonds from laboratories such as EGL Tel Aviv, HRD and some Labs in India are worth 30-40 % less than those with GIA certificates.
  • The price of diamonds with old cuts, poor proportions, and very strong fluorescence are discounted by up to 40%.
  • Diamonds may have false grading reports that were issued and signed by a so-called gemmologist without qualifications nor an address.
  •              A fake grading report

    The diamond does not belong to the certificate. Only a diamond expert can determine whether the stone is the one described in the document.

  • High Pressure–High Temperature (HPHT) processes are used to improve the colour of brown diamonds. Not all laboratories have the equipment to detect such enhanced stones, and their certificates are unacceptable.
  • Synthetic man-made diamonds have been sold on the internet as the real thing. Few jewellers can differentiate between a natural and man-made diamond.
  • Sellers may misrepresent and not disclose that the clarity of the diamond has been enhanced by laser drilling or fracture filling. Few internet buyers are aware of the above and many have burned they fingers with an ‘ordered’ diamond. Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) are more than ever applicable when purchasing a diamond or gemstone. Prospective buyers should learn from the internet, but nothing beats the expertise and service an authentic brick and mortar jeweller can provide. After all, the buying of a diamond is an unique occasion and should be one of life’s treasured experiences. 



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