So the time has come to make an honest woman (or man) out of your special someone. What’s the next step? Why, you need to purchase a gigantic (yet classy) diamond engagement ring to signal to the world “back off!” and to their friends “yup, that’s right, I am loved this much!” Seems simple enough. Now, just head to the local jewelry store (equipped with the 3 or 15 months worth of salary that you’ve been saving up) and snag a gorgeous, gleaming rock, slip it on your betrothed’s finger and then live sappily ever after.
But wait…could there be a flaw in your plan? What if the jeweler…is trying to SCAM you??
Look, the people who sell fancy diamond jewelry, just like those who sell automobiles, buildings or scented candles, are trying to increase their profit margins. If that means unloading a garbage stone on some sucker along the way, so be it. Now, as far as you are concerned; don’t be that sucker! Here are a few quintessential ways to avoid wasting your hard earned greenbacks and how to get the best lil’ diamond ring in the whole bunch!
If buying online, make sure they have a reasonable return policy (or any)
Here’s the potential problem with online purchases: the diamond engagement ring that you receive in the mail doesn’t look anything like the one in the picture (the ole “McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese commercial” versus what that monstrosity looks like in real life paradox). Even worse, if the actual stone specifications that they supply are entirely inaccurate. Ok, time to send it back – but then you read the fine print and see that they either do not accept returns of any nature, or that they happily do, but charge a restocking fee for half the cost of the item. Do your research first: if a company has these sketchy return policies in place, then it’s probably best to avoid their business altogether (they are clearly anticipating a lot of returns for their shoddy merchandise). A regular, non-shady online company will often charge return shipping or insurance costs, that’s the norm.
The easiest way to see if an online jewelry company is reputable? Why, by checking online, of course. A quick Google search will reveal a lot about any business that may have struck your fancy. Just trust the reviews and check if they’re registered with the BBB.
Like certain selfies, good lighting can totally trick you
There’s a real simple method to see if the diamond ring you are about to purchase is really “as good as it looks.” Just take it outside, into natural light. Yes, some stores may frown upon (or send security after you) if you take unpaid-for-merchandise out into the street, but not just because they think you will pilfer said gem. They have special lighting set up in their stores, to maximize the color and sparkle of the diamonds, and once that puppy sees the harsh light of day, then taddah! …it’s revealed to be utter trash. They do this by expertly (and deviously) tinting the store lights blue – this makes a yellowish, corn kernel looking stone appear as if it’s a perfectly pristine white diamond. If the salespeople won’t let you cavort around the great outdoors with the ring you’re interested in, take it to an area of the store with the ugliest lighting there is; that’s right, fluorescent (the bathroom is usually a good locale for this). If the diamond still looks sparkly there, then you’re in business.
Don’t be fooled by the rocks they don’t got
Here’s a very ancient and basic ruse some jewelers will employ: they will proudly display or verbally relate that a ring has a specific carat size “This beauty here is 2.5 carats!”, yet it will not look that large at all. What is going on here? Are they out right lying? Well, yes and no. With this ploy, they are telling you the total carat weight, not the size of the main diamond. Meaning, the primary diamond may be .80 ct, and is surrounded by a double halo loaded with 1.70 carats worth of minuscule diamond pavé. Pavé is French for “paved” or, in diamond circles, “le garbage.” Similarly sized baby stones are also called diamond “meleé,” and you’ll feel like you’re in quite the melee as you fight with the jeweler over what is what. You see, 1.70 in diamond pavé is worth diddly squat compared to a single 1.70 sized stone. Ergo, make sure you always are provided with the precise carat weight of the main event stone. In tandem with the rest of the stone’s other “C’s,” you can get a somewhat accurate estimate of what the diamond should be costing you in a retail setting (by cross-referencing with other stores and online).
Trick or Treatment: same thing
“Treated” diamonds are, ironically, not treated all that nicely. Jewelers and the like use the euphemism “clarity enhanced” to describe treated diamonds, but what this term really means is that the stone has undergone “laser drilling” to remove dark internal crud from it. These unsightly blemishes are known as inclusions, and once you remove them in this manner the stone can become weaker. Another form of treating is “fracture filling,” where preexisting cracks are made to look a little less prominent and ugly. Yet another incarnation of treating is color irradiation, where the poor thing undergoes actual radiation to improve its color grade. Overall, these abrasive treatments can hurt the sensitive little diamonds, leaving them susceptible to chips, cracks and, in some cases, emotional breakdowns further along the road. So if you see a resplendent diamond ring (at a decent price), with the subtle disclaimer that it has been “clarity enhanced,” just stay away. It could be a ticking time bomb, just waiting to implode one day on your lover’s precious finger.
50% OFF! …no, just, no
If a diamond is offered at a blaring “50% off,” then the smart money is on the fact that the initial price was blatantly overinflated (by, oh let’s say, half), and the “sale” figure is just a regular price. This is just common sense. If a diamond ring is truly provided at a significant sale price, it’s because something horrible has happened to it (a tiny crack has now spread, it was revealed to have been stolen from a highly publicized heist, etc.) It may be fine to purchase, just don’t delude yourself that you’re getting a “deal.”
At the end of the day, not all jewelers are nefarious, scheming and avaricious louts. Just be careful not to sink your savings into a diamond engagement ring being hocked by one of the sneaky ones. Follow the tips above, trust your instincts and maybe, just maybe, you won’t get scammed like a total newb. If, after reading all of this, you still end up falling prey to one of those dastardly devices…there’s a huge sale on a bridge in Brooklyn you may want to check out.