OMG! They Switched My Diamond!
This doesn’t look like my diamond! When this thought first jumps into your head, you get that queasy feeling like when you can’t find your credit card. Your stomach drops into your knees, your heart rises to fill your throat, and you think, “My life as I know it is over.”
This is a bad feeling. Chances are you just picked up your ring, (which was only going to get sized) from the jewelry store that afternoon. As you wear the ring, you notice that the diamond seems different. Maybe the familiar black spot is gone. Maybe it seems a little smaller, or just not as white. You don’t want to think these bad things about your jeweler. But then you are convinced. This is not your diamond!
What can be done? Who can you call? This is when many people discover that independent jewelry appraisers exist, and maybe they’re a good thing. But I diverge….
Women like to take care of these problems as soon as possible. This is when I get the jewelry emergency phone call, usually on a Saturday evening. The appointment is set up for 7 am Monday morning.
Arriving a few minutes early, the grieving diamond owner shows me her diamond ring, which is normally accompanied by an old appraisal. I am to look at the diamond and see if it matches the old appraisal. I look at the diamond under my microscope. I probably clean it, then look again. I compare it to diamonds I have for color grading. I measure the stone. Then I examine the old appraisal. I look under the microscope once again. I give the news. The diamond matches the old appraisal (within a grade here or there).
Thank heavens it does! Yes! All is well with the world once again. Let me say here that the diamonds always match the old appraisal. Except for one time. I’ll get back to that.
I understand the fear. The television news magazines (which have been designed to create a more just society, after all) have shown us how easily this can be done. Hidden cameras and diamond experts are convincing evidence that thick fingered store owners in the jewelry district are thieves. Only experts can tell the difference between diamonds, right? If the jewelers can switch diamonds, and no one can tell, why wouldn’t they?
Perhaps some of them do. Maybe sometimes they have. I’ll never know for sure. In my opinion, (appraisers only give opinions) most never would. They have too much to lose, including their reputation and livelihood. It doesn’t make financial sense to risk your professional status by replacing a nice diamond with an inferior one, and then hope you can sell the nicer one.
Although come to think of it, that may not be the best argument against diamond switching. After all, lots of people behave in ways that are not in their own best interest. Take chocolate, for example….
Another reason I do not believe that jewelry stores switch diamonds is this: I never see the evidence for it. Of all the times I have checked diamonds to see if they have been switched (probably hundreds), there was only one time that the diamond didn’t match up. In that case, the diamond was actually nicer than the old appraisal stated. I can only speculate about what would explain that difference!
In conclusion, it’s OK with me if you want to make sure that your diamonds have not been switched. In many cases, it would be the prudent thing to do, like having insurance. As an independent appraiser, I’m happy to consult with you on all of your jewelry questions and emergencies. Perhaps you could bring some chocolate…