We expose the honesty gaps in the diamond And jewelry industry
This is Jai’s request complete with his rabbit sketches. What follows is the computer rendering that he accepted and then video of the finished ring. The ring holds a 1 ¾ ct diamond in its ears and it was cast in platinum. Subtle but entirely personal. Jai thought it was perfect when he saw it!
You have just bought a diamond that is uncertified because you were told that it would be cheaper than getting one with a certificate. You have just taken a huge risk!
RISK #1: You may have actually bought a lab grown diamond and not a natural one as you had assumed and you may have paid way too much. Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds grown in the laboratory and because they can keep growing them unlimitedly the value of the diamond is less than half the value of natural one even if it is accurately graded. It is impossible to discern a lab grown diamond from a natural one and you need very expensive testing equipment to verify it, which most jewelers would not have. Ethically, Lab Grown diamonds have to be disclosed at point of sale but unscrupulous seller will not do that. It is illegal to not disclose lab grown diamonds. Lab grown diamonds are readily available, making it a huge risk buying uncerted diamonds. If you are dealing with a highly reputable jeweler they will work within a framework and a chain of legal responsibility to assure you that a diamond is natural in origin. However, buying from Craigslist or Ebay certainly creates a much greater risk.
RISK #2: The diamond is natural but mis-graded, it is a much lower grade than you were told it was which makes it a much lower value. We have seen diamonds sold without certificates at the wholesale trade show at the Blaisedell that were 8 grades off of what they were sold as.
The actual grade of a diamond will determine its value and to feel confident with what you bought it is best to buy one that is certified. We would recommend GIA and AGS for natural diamonds and IGI for lab grown diamonds. Unfortunately all others should be viewed with a bit of suspicion as to its accuracy. The following story is an example of the problem.
Melissa walked into our store a while back and asked if we could grade her diamond. We did and it turned out to be 3 grades lower than what it was sold as. She told us that we were the third place that gave her a grading that was lower. She began to explain her situation. She had done enough research to know that GIA is an accurate grading company and had specifically asked for GIA graded stones to purchase. She was assured several times that the diamonds that she viewed were GIA graded. She bought one and when she went to pick up the mounted ring asked for the GIA certificate only to be told that there was none. She said that she had specifically asked for GIA graded diamonds and since this was not one can she have her money back. She was told no, that all sales were final.
She sent her diamond to GIA to get it graded and it came back three grades lower than what she bought it for. She then went to Consumer Affairs to find out if she could do anything about her circumstances. She was told that she does have a case but will have to take him to court. He wedding was just two months away and she did not have extra money to hire a lawyer or the time in case of not getting it resolved before her wedding and she did not want to be without a ring so she kept it. Suffice to say she was not happy. Not a way to spend one of the happiest days of your life!
As a knowledgeable professional I would NEVER ever buy and uncerted diamond from unknown sources. There is just too much risk in doing that. We would not recommend purchasing any diamond that does not have a certificate. In other words if you do not want to be ripped off then rely only on GIA or AGS graded diamonds and IGI for lab grown diamonds. Also make sure that the diamond also matches the certificate, and find someone that can help you assess the cut of the diamond. Do this and you can enjoy and have peace of mind for your purchase.
These are the GIA, AGS and IGI certificates.
In 1988, my bench jeweler at that time, broke his left side ring finger on his wedding day. He was carrying lots of gifts up their stairs and missed a step. Down he and the gifts went and somewhere in there, he bent is finger and broke it. That finger swelled up so fast that his wedding ring started choking his finger and prevented the blood from flowing. He had a finger that looked like a purple sausage.
Sadly, stories like this are very common. Within two weeks this month I had to cut off two rings.
The first was a call and I was asked if we cut off rings that were stuck on the finger. There was an urgency in their voice. I told them that we do and they asked if they can come in ASAP. Apparently it had become tighter and really started to hurt. When Amy came in her finger looked like it was turning a bit blue. It turned out that her condition was a partial result of arthritis that had become worse and started to swell. It does not take long to cut off a ring and in 10 minutes it was off. The look of relief on her face makes helping them so satisfying. Fortunately their ring was a simple solitaire and it did not need special considerations to preserve the setting. They will wait until her condition stabilizes and we can then repair and resize her ring if necessary.
A week and a half later I fielded another call to cut off a 10 mm Hawaiian band. They told me they had already gone to see EMS and were told that the ring was too wide for them to remove so they called me. When John arrived it looked like he had just injured his wrist and there seemed to be some swelling to his hand. It looked really tight and I was surprised that he was not experiencing any pain because of it. He may have had pain but it could have been more a result of the broken wrist. He was to have an operation to place a metal piece on the broken bone the following day, which may have resulted in even more swelling so it had to come off before going to the hospital. The wider band took a bit longer than 10 minutes but the mission was accomplished! We wished him a speedy recovery from the upcoming surgery as he left our office.
People have gone to hospitals emergency rooms and had their rings cut off. Unfortunately the staff in the hospital are not jewelers and they will sometimes chip the small diamonds on the ring in the removal which makes it much more difficult to repair and more costly. The hospital staff’s only concern is to get it off not to preserve the ring. I assume that the removal is not free being in an emergency room. We do not charge for the service and we will more than likely be able to repair the ring so it can worn again.
Need help? Do not hesitate call us, you may alleviate all unnecessary pain and suffering.
Ada came in one morning somewhat distraught, asking me to price out a new setting for her diamond. I asked her what she had in mind and she asked to see samples. I told her we do not necessarily carry lots of inventory but we can order or make a ring according to her specifications. Ada said she did not know but had to remount her diamond because it fell out of her ring that morning and that this was the 2nd time so she wanted to change the ring to make sure it did not happen again.
A Simple Inspection Would Have Prevented It
I asked to look at her ring and told her that the prongs tips had broken off which is why her diamond fell out. The prongs should have been checked periodically so this situation would not have happened. She was extremely fortunate that she found her diamond on the carpet in her house. I also told her that we can just change the head (prongs) and then remount her diamond. I also told her that if we remounted it in platinum it would be more secure that white gold in the long run and that changing just the head will cost a lot less than buying a new setting. She was very glad to hear that her concerns will be taken care of and it also saves her money.
When it was finished and she picked it up she was really pleased that we had mounted it higher which made it look more elegant. It was a 1 ¾ ct so it really stood out. She was really happy the way that it turned out especially now that it looked band new. Ada was so relieved and appreciative that she brought us a delicious okazuya lunch. Score!
This is a 1 ½ Ct GIA certified Emerald Cut diamond mounted in an custom made platinum setting and beautifully flanked by ½ ct each half moon shaped diamonds. Uniquely awesome!
What is a rose cut diamond you ask? It is a vintage cut diamond first produced about 500 years ago. It has 3 to 24 facets, has a flat bottom and a domed top with triangular facets that makes it resemble petals in a rose. Essentially it looks like only the top half of a diamond.
The rose cut diamond will appear physically larger than a full cut diamond because there is no bottom to the diamond. It is estimated that only 0.1% of all diamonds currently is a rose cut diamond.
The origins of a rose cut started in the 1500’s when diamond cutting techniques and knowledge was basic and the style reflects that simplicity. They were cut by hand and meant to sparkle under candlelight. The large facets performed nicely under low light conditions.
In the last 4 to 5 years it has gained in popularity partly due to celebrity endorsement. Jennifer Aniston received an 8 ct. antique rose cut engagement ring in 2012 from Justin Theroux. Recent history has seen a rise in vintage styled rings and the rose cut follows in this tradition.
We have been seeing more and more jewelry pieces featuring Black Diamonds. Black Diamonds are unusual, striking and fascinating to many consumers. And while most sellers of black diamond jewelry are ethical there are two huge issue that should be considered before purchasing a piece - IS IT REALLY A DIAMOND? IS IT A NATURAL EARTH GROWN BLACK DIAMOND?
Several years ago black diamonds hit the market and it was first used mostly as a fashion statement, usually smaller diamonds that are pave set along with white diamonds as a black and white theme. You can now find these black diamond jewelry in most of the major retail and online stores. It has increased in popularity and with it evolved to include larger engagement size black diamonds. With this increased popularity there have also been instances where consumers ended up owning black moissanite, or black lab grown diamonds instead of a genuine earth grown natural black diamond.
For consumers detecting the difference is next to impossible without special equipment. More so because moissanites are synthetic material that is carbon based and will fool most standard diamond testers. It takes a special tester that can detect moissanite from a diamond. To detect a lab grown diamond you will need a very expensive specialized piece of equipment that most jewelers do not have access to.
To BE SURE that the diamond is a genuine earth grown black diamond you should ask for a GIA document, a Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report, that will identify the diamond as a genuine or treated fancy black diamond.
Do not get ripped off! Take time to get the proper documentation for confirmation and not have to worry a bit about your purchase.
GIA Discloses Companies Banned in Hacking Investigation
Rob Bates | October 27, 2015 JCK
The Gemological Institute of America is publicly disclosing the names of the 19 companies it says submitted diamonds that received altered grading reports due to unauthorized remote access of its computer system.
The companies can no longer submit stones to the lab, pending further investigation by Indian police.
A statement says that Indian authorities have also arrested two former employees of Tata Consultancy Services, the GIA’s systems provider, in the investigation. GIA said it did not know what they are charged with. Tata did not respond to a request for comment.
The discovery of the unauthorized access has led GIA to invalidate 1,042 grading reports. Their report numbers, along with the submitting companies, can be seen here.
GIA decided to release the names after “police informed GIA that the investigation has reached a point where we may now publish the client accounts that submitted the diamonds in question,” according to a statement.
GIA’s spreadsheet lists 19 submitting companies, mostly based in India, though at least one looks to be based in Hong Kong. Most of the clients submitted dozens of diamonds; three listed names submitted only one. At least two seem to share common ownership.
The spreadsheet lists the stones’ report numbers, carat weights, and shapes. It does not list their color and clarity, as they have may have been altered.
Several of the diamonds can be found online. For instance, Googling GIA report 1208363128—a 1.43 ct. round brilliant—leads to several online diamond listings, most of which have been removed.
Here is an online scan of one invalidated report (5203571257), which says the accompanying a 1.06 ct. stone has been graded D internally flawless.
GIA “strongly request[s]” that anyone in possession of any of these diamonds and grading reports return them immediately to GIA for examination at no charge.
Entering the affected report numbers into its online Report Check returns the message: “The report you requested has been invalidated; the report and the diamond must be returned to GIA for further review. The report will not be available in Report Check until the diamond is re-examined.”
At press time, it could not say how many of the 1,042 affected reports or diamonds have been returned.
There are many diamond and jewelry companies that are willing to make easier sales and extra profits by cheating. Both the consumer and the ethical companies in these industries must contend with all sorts of attempts to deceive or cheat. Now we have to deal with computer hacking on top of overgraded certificates, the application of substances that temporarily improve color, synthetic diamonds and so on.
On October 23, 2015 the Jewelers Circular Keystone reported by its online service that the GIA reported that their diamond grading report database was hacked. GIA has invalidated 1,042 diamond reports as the grades on those reports were changed through computer hacking.
Here is the article. Included is a link to a list of the affected reports. If any consumer finds their diamond included in this list then GIA requests that the diamond and grading report be sent to GIA. Anyone in this situation may contact us for assistance in doing this.
Here is the article:
GIA INVALIDATES MORE THAN 1,000 REPORTS BECAUSE OF HACKING
Rob Bates | October 23, 2015 |
The Gemological Institute of America has invalidated 1,042 grading reports issued by its grading lab, as they bear grades that were altered after its system was accessed without authorization by former employees of its database support contractor, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
The list of affected reports can be seen here. GIA requests that anyone with these reports or their accompanying diamonds return them to its lab for inspection. Entering their numbers into Report Check will show that the reports have been invalidated.
The affected diamonds were mostly submitted in India, though some also came into GIA’s Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters. The stones were graded in whole or in part at various GIA locations, including its U.S. and India labs. The diamonds were submitted between November 2014 and September 2015; approximately 900 were submitted in July and August.
The issue was caught when the lab flagged certain grading discrepancies through its internal controls. It subsequently launched an investigation in conjunction with TCS.
The investigation revealed that one or more former TCS employees gained remote access to the system and made unauthorized changes to specific grades on behalf of certain parties. The clients who submitted the diamonds in question have been contacted and suspended from subsequent submissions to GIA pending further investigation.
The unauthorized changes involved both color and clarity grades, says spokesperson Stephen Morisseau.
GIA and TCS have made the results of their investigation known to law enforcement agencies in India, and they are actively investigating the matter, a statement said, adding that the incident has led GIA to strengthen its controls.
The Diamond Loupe
June 16, 2015
In his latest Diamond Intelligence Briefings, Chaim Even-Zohar recounts the discovery and the documented reversal of a treated diamond, upgrading the stone temporarily by several grades, discovered at the Antwerp IGI lab in November last year. According to the IGI lab, the reversal process - through acid boiling -, which was witnessed and documented in an affidavit, revealed the diamonds were treated with a coating, temporarily upgrading the color grade of a 3.03ct diamond four grades, from J to G+ color. The precise nature of the coating, which may involve an very thin film visible only at 500 times magnification, is unknown. The article adds that the treated diamonds IGI discovered do not come from the same source(s) as the treated diamonds that were discovered by the GIA recently. IGI reportedly informed relevant trade bodies after the discovery to let them decide on taking disciplinary actions, but according to Even-Zohar, they kept silent.
“Visions of Beauty” is a video blog featuring customer directed custom designs ranging from the sublime to definitely ornate. It could be modern, vintage, classical, free form or anything else one desires. Customers bring to the table, pictures, sketches or ideas of what they want. With a good understanding of what they desire computer renderings are done for them to see if we understand their wishes. If the renderings are not right in their perceptions adjustments are made until they are satisfied. A wax model is then produced from the renderings which then show the exact size, height and width the ring will end up to be. If the wax is accepted then it is used to make the casting from which it is then finished and the diamonds are set. These are videos of the finished product. Each ring is exquisitely crafted to express the personality of the owner in creating their dream ring. Consider making yours today!
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