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Diamond Scams To Avoid

Updated on November 14, 2009

Diamonds: Things to Know


Purchasing Diamonds Online

Can you safely buy diamonds online?  Yes you can, and you can do it relatively safe by being careful.  One thing to be most cautious of is buying fake diamonds at a real diamond’s price.  There are a couple of reasons to purchase a diamond online, the main one being price.  The price of a diamond online is typically lower because of lower overhead costs.  Online dealers don’t need to worry about display cases and such so their prices will be slightly lower than retailers.  It is important to not just look at the price of the diamond as a too low price is a general indication of a scam.  By shopping online you have a much larger selection to choose from whereas shopping in the store you are limited to what they have stocked.  Again, be extra cautious when making the purchase.  I highly recommend going through the same procedure I set up in the previous article shopping for diamonds.  When you are armed with the knowledge of diamonds, particularly concerning cut, clarity, carat, and color, you will be less of a target for con artists.  Comparison shopping online is so much easier as well.  When you find an online dealer that has a particular diamond you like, look at other similar ones at different websites to determine if you are getting a good deal.  Just finding the right diamond with the right price is just the beginning of making the purchase online.  You need to investigate the seller.  You need to find out what jewelry associations they belong to as well as their refund policies.  Learn what they offer for services in addition to the diamond.  The Better Business Bureau will tell you if there have been any complaints about the seller, and they will give you a good indication on the nature of their business.  As with any other diamond purchase it is imperative that you get a diamond grading report from GIA or Gemological Institute of America.  There is one guaranteed way to protect you when buying the diamond and that is to use an escrow service.  The escrow service will receive the diamond from the seller, appraise it, and send the diamond to you.  You in turn send the money to the escrow service and they pay the seller.  This way everyone involved in the transaction is protected.

Diamond Scams


Diamond Scams

It is so easy to be scammed when purchasing a diamond, so here is some things to watch out for when making that vital purchase.  Some minor scams to be avoided are the ones that happen to people who know very little about diamonds and are not prepared.  Being fooled by a jeweler is the most common ones, they are like car salesmen.  The most popular scam happens at most jewelry stores and that is the “Total Carat Weight” scam.  Having discussed this only vaguely, this scam is when jewelers tell customers what the total carat weight of the ring or piece is, instead of what each individual stone is.  By doing this, retailers lead consumers to believe that they are buying a diamond bigger than what it actually is.  This is why you need to ask the jeweler what the carat weight of the center stone is.  Jewelers are also allowed to round off diamond weights to the nearest ¼ inch.  For instance, if a stone says it is ¾ carat that means it is between ½ and ¾ carat.  Now being that it is to the nearest quarter inch that stone is most likely closer to ¾ than to ½ carat.  Another scam jeweler’s use is fluorescent lighting.  No big deal right? You may be amazed to know that fluorescent lights are brighter than normal lights and cause diamonds to sparkle more than a lower light.  When buying a diamond, make sure you ask to see the diamond in different lights.  If you go to get a diamond appraised, which you should never do at a jewelry store, get three or four different values.  Jewelers will often low ball you and give you maybe half of the value of the diamond on an upgrade that you’ll pay the difference in.  This is complete bull and should never be done.  If you want to know what your diamond is worth you should have it appraised from the GIA.  Some very dirty jewelry stores will sometimes switch the diamond you have chosen with a lower quality one when you go to have that diamond set in a ring.  Unfortunately, the only way to avoid this is to use a trusted retailer like DeBeers or Kay Jeweler’s.  In the end the best way to avoid these scams is to be prepared with knowledge of diamonds which I have tried my best to arm you with.

How to Spot a Fake Diamond

How to Spot a Fake Diamond

Fake diamonds are everywhere and virtually impossible to tell just by looking at them. This is especially true if you don’t know much about diamonds. There are some steps to take in order to avoid buying a fake diamond.

1. Only deal with reputable diamond dealers. Whenever you find that reliable jeweler make them your jeweler until they prove themselves untrustworthy. Do not go from jeweler to jeweler and purchase a diamond if you have never dealt with them before. The first time is the exception of course. Lastly, a reputable dealer will have a diamond certificate for each diamond, if none exists, it is a fake.

2. Fake diamonds are usually set in poor metals. A zirconia is a fake diamond ladies and gentlemen, but most reputable dealers identify them as zirconias. If you look at the stone and see scratches and nicks, it’s a zirconia. A diamond is the most durable stone on the planet.

The biggest thing to do to avoid buying a fake diamond is to secure the diamond certificate. With that certificate you can be guaranteed the validity of the stone. With the certificate, it also means the diamond is authentic because no two stones are alike.

Synthetic Diamonds

General Electric produced the first synthetic diamond in 1954. They are basically a rock that has the same properties as a real diamond but it is man made as opposed to nature made. A synthetic diamond should also not be confused with a zirconia. Synthetic diamonds have been around since 1954, but weren’t released to the market until the 90’s. The reason for this is that GE has been working to perfect the method to make synthetic diamonds the same quality as real diamonds. It was also discovered that it is cheaper to mine, cut, and sell real diamonds than it is to produce synthetic diamonds. Now Gemesis Corporation was able to produce the synthetic diamonds at a cheaper price, and they produce white diamonds as well as colored diamonds at about a third of the price of real diamonds. The synthetic diamonds are in fact hard to find and have become rarer than natural diamonds.

Other Articles of this Series

Before you purchase a diamond

Shopping for a diamond

Care of your diamond

Rarity of Diamonds


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    • lifedancer profile image

      lifedancer 6 years ago from California

      Some good tips!. Another is never tell the salesmen how much you want to pay. Say instead that you'd like to see a range of there best to lowest price before you make any decisions. It is legal for vendors to give diamond weight as 1/4, 1/2, etc. of a carat and for that weight to be as much as a 1/4 carat off! That is why you should only accept decimal weights like .50, .87ct. Rounding is not permitted with decimals. Crazy laws, but... Get a diamond tester, but check for double refraction (Moissanite). Read my book " Enhanced, Plated, Irradiated, and Lab Created: What Jewelry Vendors Don't Want You to Know" which is available on, search in the "store". If you buy it, send me a note on hubpages, I'll send you an updated copy. There is more important info on buying diamonds than there is in this article. Some mistakes in the article: 1/4 inch does not equal 1/4 ct, zirconia should read cubic zirconia and should not be confused with mined-from-the-earth zircon crystals, total carat weight is not a scam, but a way of taking about a piece of jewelry that you should know about, store do use special lighting for stones and that is why you should look at jewelry in all types of light. See my hubs for other jewelry buying tips.

    • profile image

      cahwilliams 6 years ago

      Can you recommend some escrow services companies for diamond transactions?

    • profile image

      Cdub 6 years ago

      Can you recommend some escrow services for diamond transactions?

    • profile image

      poetlorraine 8 years ago

      i will always get a certificate thanks again

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thanks PL: It is very important to be aware when making huge purchases like diamonds, I still recommend buying at a jewelry store but you can save money online. Just depends on whatever you're more comfortable with. Just be careful and get the certificate.

    • profile image

      poetlorraine 8 years ago

      never would have thought to buy diamonds on line.... now when my man decides to by me a diamond, i will direct him here promto... nice hub

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Absolutely not myownworld. Men are generally dense about hints so tell him, "If you're ever considering buying me a diamond, read these pages." Obvious to a man would be, "Buy me a diamond, here read this first though." I hope this helps and thanks for reading. There are five of these in the series.

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 8 years ago from uk

      very well researched hub wesley... not that I was into buying diamonds, but do u think if I forward this to my husband, it will seem a bit too obvious? I just don't want him to fall for a scam, just in case! anyway, thank you for posting..u know how it is with women and diamonds! x

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Dame thanks for reading and commenting. A lot of research went into these and I'm glad that people are reading them.

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 8 years ago from Canada

      Now that would be quite the gift! lol. Great info. :) thank you!


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