Challenges of buying a diamond

 

Phil Pancer

Before getting into the jewellery business in 1986, Phil worked in the photography business.   Both industries require a sharp, keen eye for detail.  It takes many hours of practical experience, studying and doing lab tests to graduate and become a certified diamond appraiser.  It is quite an accomplishment to hang that degree on the wall.

Since earning his degree in the 1980’s, two major predicaments have happened.  The initial occurence began roughly in the late 1990’s.  Diamonds began to be graded one full grade higher than they actually were.  For instance, what was once graded as a S.I. stone, now became a V.S. stone.  Put in a predicament, Phil seemed uncertain how to grade diamonds.  But he graded them the way he was taught, and I’m sure lost some business along the way, since a client could get a better stone for the same price.  it was very confusing for the client, trying to explain the “new normal”.  Finally, while at a jewellery show, Phil confronted the G.I.A., Gemmological Iinstitute of America, and asked about the obvious disccrepancy.  The answer was that they wanted to sell diamonds.  Alright, we get it.  Diamonds became marketed one grade higher.  Check.

Now fast forward twenty years to the present.  The internet has educated consumers and even made some “experts” in gem identification.  But buyer beware.  Though appraisals are an independent opinion, there is no advisory board.  Acceptable practice is for diamonds to vary within one grade.  One retailer, south of the border, was sued for selling overgraded diamonds.  But the big question is who is ultimately responsible for this costly error?  The manufacturers, dealers, retailers or grading lab?  If these people put in the time and effort to earn there degrees, then this would not happen.  Also, beware  of diamonds packed in previously printed parcel papers, and diamonds that are labelled as “ungraded”.  How would you know?  Find a jeweller you feel comfortable with and trust.  Ask what credentials they have.  Request a loupe and ask where the inclusion is.

So today’s rant in summary is the following. When you are buying jewellery, and diamonds in particular, do your homework on the internet but go into an actual store.  Get a feel for the place and ask as many questions as you wish.  It might cost you a little bit more but you are paying for the retailers expertise and time.  If it too good to be true, it usually is.

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