Dec 28

How to Avoid Diamond Switching

By Calla Gold

­­Are You Worried About Diamond Switching?

loose mine cut diamond cushion shaped

An Old Mine Cut Diamond Under Magnification. Its Unique Characteristics are Easily Identified.

So are jewelers! It’s a two-way street of worry between us and new clients, but a jeweler with a good reputation would never risk their good standing by taking your diamond.

Most people who join the jewelry fold do so because of a dual drive: the love of beauty and the desire to help their clients. They would not compromise their personal and profession integrity just to make a quick buck.

I was curious to hear what other jewelers had to say about diamond switching, so I asked them!

“What Would We Gain?”

Diamond tester verifying diamond in ring

This Diamond Tester Lights Up Green When Touched to a Real Diamond.

Jay, a jeweler in the Minneapolis area, explains, “If we swap a client’s diamond with a Cubic Zirconia, they can easily identify the fake with a diamond tester. If we swap their diamond with another that’s similar enough to go unnoticed, what would we gain? And if we swap it with one that IS noticeably different — presumably of a much lower quality — what’s the point? Please call the police, you caught us red-handed!”

When it comes to diamond switching, there’s simply too much to lose and not enough to gain!

How Often Do Diamonds Get Switched?

Jay adds, “I am still waiting for a customer to show me evidence that a jeweler has ever swapped a diamond. After 27 years, the only evidence that has been presented to me is that ‘the grandmother of a person they met in the produce section of the grocery store had her diamond swapped by the jeweler down the street.’”

Personally, I have not known of one legitimate case in over 32 years of being a jeweler.

“But I Saw on TV That Someone Switched a Diamond in New York”

Diamond Switching Makes for Sensational News, but Only Happens Rarely.

Diamond Switching Makes for Sensational News, but Rarely Happens.

Peter E. Schlosser, a Goldsmith at Jewelry Works in Greater St. Paul Mn. says, “Once in a blue moon a jeweler is caught doing it, and that’s national news with lots of press. But, more often than not, a woman believes she has a diamond when she actually has a Cubic Zirconia.”

Peter has seen this happen three times. I’ve seen it twice. In both cases, I had to explain to an unhappy bride that her “diamond” wedding ring wasn’t the real deal.

What are Some Jewelers Doing to Allay Fears of Diamond Switching?

Tool to Prevent switching dimaonds

This Dino-lite Digital Microscope is Used to Take Magnified Images of Precious Gems. Image – Rico Shen

David Olmsted, a Master Jeweler in Pennsylvania, uses a specialized camera called a Dino-Lite to take pictures of clients’ diamonds. This lets him review a diamond’s characteristics with a client and then take a picture for them to keep. If they get back a diamond that doesn’t match their picture, they have clear evidence that the diamond was swapped.

Deycy Valerio, a Customer Relations Specialist in the Norfolk Virginia area, explains, “I try to educate and show my client what to look for to identify their stone.”

Like Deycy, I frequently advise clients to identify their diamond’s unique markers and inclusions by examining it with a loupe.

Loupe

A Loupe Lets You See Your Diamond and Its Unique Characteristics Up Close.

As jewelers, we understand that clients worry about having their diamond taken – those things are valuable! But, ultimately, there’s still a level of trust required for us to do business together.

In the words of Jay, “We have all the high tech camera stuff and explanations about our stellar reputation after 27 years. But, in the end, I look them in the eye and ask if they trust me. If they don’t, then I say ‘Thanks for stopping by, but go find somebody you trust.’”

How do You Check a Jewelers Reputation?

For hundreds of years, jewelers established the trust of their clients simply on the basis of a handshake and a verbal agreement. If you didn’t have a long-time family jeweler, finding a jeweler you trusted required speaking with their past clients or simply taking the jeweler at their word.

YELP Review

Example of an Online Review From YELP.

With the advent of the internet, however, finding an established jeweler with a good reputation is easier than ever. Sites like YELP and AngiesList allow users to review businesses and share their experiences.

If you have a hard time trusting online reviews from strangers, you can always ask your friends who they go to!

3 Simple Tips to Give You Peace of Mind

loupe for inspection of jewelry

This $15.00 Triplet Loupe from Rio Grande Will Get the Job Done

  1. Look at your diamond under a loupe. Any jeweler will have one, or you can buy your own!
  2. Cell phone with macro lens attached to camera to view diamond

    My Phone Fitted With a Macro Lens.

    Take a picture of your diamond. You can even do this with a phone camera! I recommend downloading a camera app designed to take macro photos, or buying an attachable macro lens for your phone.

  3. Check your jeweler’s reputation. Whether you look at online reviews or get in touch with a jeweler’s previous clients, checking for a good reputation will help you find a jeweler you trust!

This question comes up once every six months or so, and I thought it was high time I addressed it with a little help from my jeweler friends!

Your Personal Jeweler,
Calla

10 thoughts on “How to Avoid Diamond Switching

  1. Hi Calla-

    I am a mediator in small claims court and shortly after reading this article, a case came up involving the theft (or, replacement) of a diamond from a ring. I immediately thought, “probably not” but I was wrong! It was replaced but not for nefarious reasons. Anyway, it was fun to have a real-world experience with this topic.
    Sherrill

    • Hello Team Havlik,
      I appreciate your real world experience with a diamond switch. That’s great that reading this added to your experience.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  2. Thank you for the insightful article. I agree there is a level of trust needed. I have a question for you since I unfortunately don’t know any jewelers to ask. How would you feel about a family company where hands have recently changed (2 months ago) son is now in charge and our first time working with him. We showed him a ring which we didn’t know much about except for a few on the spot comments from other jewelers and asked him what he could tell us about it. He was quite impressed as many others have in the past but we never had a formal appraisal. 20 years ago a mall jeweler looked under a loupe while it was set and said it was practically th most perfect stone he had ever seen in his life…worth about $15k (a little over 1carat). 15 years an upscale reseller wanted to buy it (showed him while shopping for rings with a friend) after looking at it under a loupe while still set. He offered me $6k on the spot. Even the jeweler we are working with remarked “wow, now this bad boy….would you like to have it certified?” We said yes and blindly left the ring with him. Over a month passed and finally get a return call the ring is back. It got certified as 1.2 c VS2 and K. Is that possible or is it so far off? It was in an old Italian antique setting with a high profile, prongs high up suspending diamond by it’s outer edges. Top and sides completely visible.

    • Hi Betsy,
      Is it certified by a GIA certified gemologist? They tend to be the least generous and most honest with the color and clarity grading. I have seen beautiful K colored diamonds that I thought looking at it were H or I color. I mean they faced up beautifully, because they were cut well. Then I’ve seen K colored diamonds that were unacceptable looking. If the son has been working in the business for years with the family before taking over and is competant and experienced, my guess is that he is bending over backwards to make a go of it as the new owner of the jewelry store. Jewelers tend to be the kind of people that love gems, love beauty and love helping people. The jewelers I know all value the trust put into them.
      One of my client’s was cleaning out her safety deposit box and had an ugly ring with what she “knew” had to be a cz. I said “let me test that.” I took to away to my workshop and tested it and called her that night. It was a carat plus diamond. She said, “gosh, you could have told me it was a cz and I’d never have known. But then that’s not who you are. Thank you for that incredible news.”
      I value her trust in me and honor all the people who ship me jewelry to work on and re-design who have never met me in person. My reputation is my shining armor that brings me strength and happiness. The jewelers I know all truly love being worthy of trust and feel the weight of their fiduciary responsibility to protect their clients and use their knowledge to share and help their clients.
      I do not know this son who is running the business, but I’d start out assuming he wishes to be worthy of your trust.
      Having not seen your diamond before and after I can’t advise you, just let you know of my perspective.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  3. We just realized that the my daughters engagement ring is a CZ and not a real diamond. After looking at it closely under a loupe we saw the letters SWA something ZIRCONIA. Now her fiancé has to go in to the jewelers to settle this. How should he handle it?

    • Dear Jan,
      I believe he’ll need his reciept and will need to discover whether he assumed it was a diamond, but was priced as a cz and legitimately sold as a cz, but they didn’t mention that is was cz and it’s a misunderstanding or if he was defrauded. The price he paid for the engagement ring will be a factor.
      I had a young man who was furious that the 1ct. diamond he bought online tested out as a cz. He paid $75.00 for it. In no universe would a nice white 1 carat diamond cost $75.00.
      He called me on the phone after having it appraised to get my advice. He had assumed it was a diamond and the flowery language selling it suggested but did not state that it was a diamond. So he was stuck with an overpriced CZ.
      I’d need more information.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  4. I took my 1 ct. diamond ring to a small family jewelry store to have it remounted. I had an insurance policy on the diamond. They did switch the diamond. I had to take them to small claims court. I did not get my diamond back. I ended up getting a settlement from my insurance company and they settled with the jewelry store. I was devastated. It truly does happen be aware.

    • Dear Katie,
      That is a terrible story and I’m so sorry you had to go through that.
      Thank you for sharing your story, it may help someone else who has this kind of tragedy happen.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  5. I just got my diamond tunnel bracelet out of the pawn shop. The diamonds don’t look the same, appearing much cloudier than before. I have pictures of the bracelet from before. How can I go about proving the diamonds were switched and get restitution?

    • Hello Adrienne,
      I have never seen this problem before. If you have photos perhaps the easiest thing to do is to take it to small claims court in your city.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

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