Misinformation, half-truths, deliberately misleading, false advertising…lying. This is common to man. Think about it, we are taught our ABC’s and how to count and tie our shoes but one thing we didn’t have to learn was how to lie.
Unfortunately, many people bring this pre-programmed ability into their business practices. No industry is untouched by deception. Luxury items, especially jewelry, are a huge target for those looking to scam unassuming consumers out of their hard earned money. The truth is, under normal circumstances, you can not buy a 3 carat diamond for $3,200; however, you may be lead to believe that you can. Keep reading to find out how and what you can do to protect yourself against this kind of malpractice.
Our case in point follows, a for sale item on the popular auction based website EBAY.
Before we talk about this example, we must make clear that this is not an attack on EBAY. There are things the site could do to create better boundaries and police illicit behavior but they are not ultimately responsible for the problem. As we stated the problem is within people not within a website.
That being said, take a look at the following image and ask yourself, “What is this auction for?”
Given all of the information available, it appears that this is an auction for a 3 carat diamond ring set in 14K white gold with an appraised value of $9,800 that is selling for $3,250
If you scroll down the page, you are presented with some more information.
Here we see two videos and some more information. All of which seems to support the information on the first page. So, the average consumer who is looking for a diamond engagement ring and has done some online research sees that they are planning to purchase a 14K white gold engagement ring set with a 3ct. D/VVS2 diamond that has been certified by International Diamond Trading Corporation. If they go through with this purchase, they have just bought a lie.
Did you catch it yet? THIS IS NOT A DIAMOND RING!
Lets look again at our images with some attention drawn to how many times “diamond” and diamond grading terms are used in relation to this product.
This product has references to “diamond” or diamond grading terms nineteen times. So you may be asking, “Well if it’s not a diamond what is it?”
If you haven’t caught it yet, let’s look one more time at the images with a different emphasis added.
Nowhere on the first page of this auction can we see that this product is anything other than a diamond. Scroll to the bottom of the page and we see one small note. “This is not a Natural GIA certified Diamond, this is a cultured diamond.”
The question then follows, what in the world is a cultured diamond? If you search for “cultured diamond” you will be presented with a plethora of information about laboratory grown or man made diamonds. They are chemically the same material as their naturally occurring counterpart however they are made in a lab instead of grown in the ground. Their technical term is “synthetic diamond”. Synthetics serve a purpose in the industry and have done so for many years, especially in the colored stone arena, offering consumers a less expensive alternative which offers identical performance. This is a good solution for customers as long as they are informed and know what they are buying and why.
However, this ring isn’t even a synthetic diamond! It is a diamond simulant! A simulant is any substance which appears to be something else. It shares no other characteristics with the material it is imitating other than appearance. Glass, for example, is a diamond simulant. This ring is Moissanite, a popular diamond simulant since the late 1990’s.
You might be wondering, “Where does it say that?!”
Let’s look at our image one last time,
Five times. That’s it. Five times in the entire listing is Moissanite mentioned. However the item is still referred to as a “cultured diamond” the same number of times! The seller uses this term interchangeably on purpose to confuse the consumer.
Are you upset yet? Thoughts of “How could they?!” might have come to mind.
There are many other things that are wrong with this listing but this is by far the biggest issue, intentional misinformation in order to deceive. This example, and many others like it, is not only confined to auction or sale sites like EBAY. This kind of deliberate deception is prevalent (to varying degrees) all over the internet. Deception like this is not only a threat and a reality online, but in brick and mortar stores as well. Even the largest jewelry store chains in the world are not free from the propensity to flat out lie in order to make sales. Again the problem lies with the individual selling the item, they are the one choosing to be dishonest.
You may be wondering, “Then how can I trust anything a jeweler says?”
Finding an honest jeweler is not impossible. There are organizations of jewelers that submit themselves to standards and codes of ethics which they are expected to uphold in order to be considered for membership. One such organization that is dedicated to consumer protection is the American Gem Society (AGS). From their website,
“The American Gem Society was founded in 1934 by a small group of leading jewelers. Their goal was to create an organization that could help protect the jewelry-buying public from fraud and false advertising…
The American Gem Society (AGS) is a nonprofit trade association of fine jewelry professionals dedicated to setting, maintaining and promoting the highest standards of ethical conduct and professional behavior through education, accreditation, recertification of its membership, gemological standards, and gemological research.
The Society is committed to providing educational products to inform and protect the consumer and to contributing to the betterment of the trade by creating industry standards to protect the jewelry-buying public and the fine jewelry industry as a whole.”
The American Gem Society is the only organization in the world with this level of dedication to protecting YOU, the consumer! An AGS store is one who is dedicated to taking care of the needs of the customer. Once you have found a store dedicated to protecting the consumer it is imperative to go even a step further.
American Gem Society stores have to have at least one member, associate or owner who has met particular education requirements. For example, the highest credential in the entire jewelry industry is a Certified Gemologist Appraiser, a title bestowed by AGS. The individual who reaches this level has the equivalent of a master’s degree in the field of gemology and also has qualifications to accurately appraise any piece of jewelry for a variety of purposes such as fair market value, insurance, or estate value. Those who have achieved or are on the path to obtaining this level of certification have an immense knowledge of the jewelry industry and are dedicated to teaching consumers. When you are educated you can make better buying decisions and get the most for your money. Education is the key to giving you the confidence necessary to not only make good purchases but enables you to sniff out any wind of shady business practices. Even with our current access to the ever growing stockpile of information this type of education is impossible to obtain through mere internet research.
Much like you cannot use even the most thorough internet research to diagnose and treat cancer, you cannot use internet research to have the type of professional education provided through an organization like the American Gem Society. There are approximately 400 Certified gemologist appraisers in the world, as of this writing, our owner and our store manager are 2 of those 400. One of our associates is a Registered Jeweler through American Gem society and another is a Certified Sales Associate.
At Diadem Jewelers, we are committed not only to the ethics of the American Gem Society but the highest ethics code given to mankind–the infallible, inspired word of God, the Bible. Which tells us plainly that within every one of us is a baked in desire to deceive, not only others but ourselves. It could be something “small”, a “little white lie” as many people call them, such as tearing off the date on an expired coupon or something “big” like embezzling or an affair. Lying pervades all of humanity, some lies do have greater corporal circumstances but the truth is all lies are condemning. Romans 3:10-12 says, “As it is written: ‘No one is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.'”
The first sin was committed because man chose to believe a lie rather than the truth. The effects of that sin trickle down through all of humanity and thus we are born into sin. It is our nature. The only way we can be freed of the just punishment for that sin is by a work of God to transform our mind in order to believe that this very God sent His only son to die for our sins, thereby allowing us to be considered as righteous and holy and be counted as the sons and daughters of God. That realization will, in turn, drive us turn from sin and desire to sin no more.