Here is a smorgasbord of wisdom about on concerns, questions, and lesser-known dangers that you will face as you shop for a diamond.
“THE SAME THING, ONLY CHEAPER”
If something is significantly cheaper than the “same thing” somewhere else, it’s most likely not the same thing at all.
If you skipped it, revisit this post and read about the misconceptions about grading systems and diamond “certificates.”
The old saying “If it’s seems to good to be true, it probably is” is very true in jewelry.
“I GOT A GREAT DEAL!”
This has to do with “sales,” or the illusion of a sale, that you’ll find at many jewelry stores. Some stores will get products, give them a ridiculously high price for a few weeks or months, and then mark them down to the full, normal retail price, and...
You’ve got a “sale.” It’s a marketing strategy. It’s called “Mark it up to mark it down.”
As a general rule, “sales” in the jewelry industry are not the “great deal” that’s advertised. There’s a saying in the jewelry industry:
“In jewelry, you get what you pay for… Or less.”
THE BENEFITS OF BUYING LOCAL
When people start shopping for a diamond, they are typically only thinking about the purchase of the diamond or the ring. But there’s a lot more that goes on after the purchase is made.
For example, you may need to have your ring sized, or resized. If you buy from a local jeweler, they will often do this for free with your purchase. Some jewelers offer cleaning and maintenance checks for free, can help you insure your jewelry, and can give accurate appraisals that will be honored by your insurance company.
Local jewelers can usually have your jewelry serviced and returned to you within a few days, or faster. Chain stores and online retailers can take weeks, sometimes months, to perform basic service work… Not to mention the risks of sending your most precious jewelry in the mail.
What you save in after-purchase service and convenience with a good local jeweler can often far outweigh the money you might save on the upfront price tag of a “cheap” retailer.
“Blood diamonds,” or “war diamonds,” refer to diamonds mined in an African war zone and sold to fund further insurgent activities. The awareness of “blood diamonds” sky-rocketed after the 2006 release of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “Blood Diamond.” This movie focused on diamonds being sold during the civil war of Sierra Leone in the 1990s. What many don’t realize is that when this movie was released in 2006, the Kimberley Process had already been in place since the year 2000.
The Kimberley Process requires its members to certify that the trade of rough diamonds are not used to finance armed conflicts. The Kimberley process works to ensure that diamonds bought and sold around the world are conflict-free.
Also, because the United States is the largest consumer of diamonds, the U.S. has been enacting legislation that bans the importing of diamonds from suspicious sources since 2001*. This has made the Kimberley Process even more effective in the U.S., and has virtually eliminated the mainstream trade of conflict diamonds.
*(executive order 13194 under President Bill Clinton in 2001, executive order 13213 under George W. Bush in 2001, and the “Clean Diamond Trade Act” implemented in 2003 under executive order 13312)
Realistically, your chances of buying a “blood diamond” in the United States are incredibly low. With the Kimberley Process in place, federal legislation guarding what comes into our country, and the active efforts of responsible, independent jewelers at work... Diamonds are the most “humanitarian” precious gem stone available today.
If this is something you’re concerned about when it comes to buying a diamond, don’t hesitate to ask your jeweler more questions. Any good professional jeweler will be able and willing to discuss this with you further.
“WHAT ABOUT MAN-MADE DIAMONDS?”
We live in amazing times. Take a “diamond seed,” put it into a chamber for a process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD) in which carbon atoms rain down onto the diamond seed... and a diamond crystal comes out.
It sounds like science fiction. It’s very real.
The crystals that come out can be gorgeous stones on par with the best geological (from the earth) diamonds in the world. Some people love their beauty, as well as the technology behind them. Some people like the idea of owning a diamond that didn’t come from a mine.
On the other hand, some people want “the real thing,” and don’t like the idea of buying something that came out of a laboratory.
Either way, there are two things you should know:
First, the future of created diamonds is not certain. They are something you should see for yourself, side-by-side, with geological diamonds and come to your own conclusion.
Second, the global supply of created diamonds is nowhere near stable. Man-made diamonds are not going to replace from-the-Earth diamonds over night, or even anytime soon.
As the industry stands now, it’s a matter of preference of where you want your diamond to come from, and all of the same rules of buying a diamond laid out in this guide still apply.