The diamond and jewelry industry has been radically changed since the onset of Lab Grown (LG) diamonds.
Retailers are wrestling with numerous questions.
Should we sell LG diamonds along side our natural diamonds?
Do LG diamonds undermine the value of our natural diamonds?
Where do I buy LG diamonds?
Should I sell LG engagement rings, or only LG fashion jewelry?
And many more.
However, there is one question that most of us have not asked.
How do we protect ourselves from fraud, misrepresentations, and threats to our most valuable possession- our reputation?
The advent of LG diamonds has increased the opportunity to commit fraud exponentially. Not only can a jeweler more easily misrepresent the product they are selling, they can easily become a victim, from both their supplier and their customer.
First, let’s consider the jeweler’s customer. Most jewelers offer 30 days money back, and most offer a trade up program. If a customer returns a diamond, how do you know if it is the one you sold them? It wasn’t such a problem in the past because it was difficult for a consumer to find a low cost replacement that could fool you or your staff. However, now it is easy for anyone to find a LG diamond that closely mimics the one you sold them.
Some jewelers will reply, “We only sell lab graded diamonds that come with girdle engravings.” The issue is girdle engravings are no longer reliable. Girdle engraving equipment can be obtained for as little as $10,000 and can mimic a legitimate engraving. Even the GIA has admitted as much, and is selling equipment that identifies a legitimate new engraving from a fake.
Other jewelers will say, we live in a small community, we know our customers and we don’t have to worry about that. Well, many people who invested with Bernie Madoff also knew him and attested how wonderful he was!
When you take in repair work, do you have an easy way to identify the diamond when it comes in to make sure there is no mix up and you return the same diamond to your customer? How do you eliminate any customer concern that it is not the same diamond that is returned? Few say it out loud, but almost every consumer is worried about diamond switching when they take their jewelry in for repair. We need to eliminate any doubt immediately, because even an unsupported claim can damage your reputation.
What if one of your customers claims the natural diamond you sold him was a LG diamond? They went and had it appraised for insurance purposes, and it was determined it is a LG diamond. They are demanding their money back. Is that diamond actually the one you sold them? Has it been switched? Can you prove it? Even if you recognize the attempted fraud, do you have any proof/data to back it up?
Now let’s consider your suppliers. What if that “natural diamond” you sold was indeed a LG diamond? It was represented as a natural diamond when you bought it. Would you be able to go back to your supplier with certainty that is the diamond they sold you? They may have not intended the misrepresentation, but it occurred. Are there hard feelings? Is the relationship damaged? Now both of your reputations are at stake.
There is an inexpensive solution to all of the above. But first, let’s explore one solution that is being promoted by many, but is ultimately unreliable and expensive.
LG Diamond Detection Equipment
A quick online search brought up many instruments that claim to detect natural vs LG diamonds. These were priced anywhere from $100 – $20,000. The most affordable units are based upon spectrometry. Many of these instruments look for nitrogen within the diamond which shows up as a “spike” on the spectrograph of the diamond. Roughly 98% of natural diamonds contain nitrogen, so when nitrogen is not detected it is either Lab Grown or it’s a Type IIa diamond. These instruments will give a reading of “refer for further testing” on these LG or Type IIa diamonds. So these instruments find the nitrogen, and “clear” it as a natural diamond.
However, this makes a huge assumption: LG diamond growers are unable to grow diamonds with nitrogen. I’m not sure that that is true today, but I’m even more sure that will not be true in the future. More sophisticated instruments use additional “markers,” but it’s likely these will also be overcome by the diamond growers in the future. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous people in the world, and their passion will be to overcome any detector that is brought to market. Just like the use of speed radar guns and radar detectors, it will be forever a cat and mouse game.
The only way to be sure a diamond is natural is examine the “growth lines,” or “growth rings.” When a tree is cut down, it’s growth rings can be seen. We are able to see the number of years of growth, and even detect good growth years vs bad growth years. We can actually determine the varying environment the tree experienced over the years. The same is true for a natural diamond. The crystals take many years to form in nature, and the growth lines show inconsistencies over time as the diamond formed or “grew.” A LG diamond has very consistent growth lines since it’s “environment” was controlled. Examining the growth lines takes expensive UV light instruments with significant magnification, and then expert interpretation of the images, an expensive and time consuming process.
The only way to be truly protected is to buy a lab graded diamond, or to buy the hi-intensity UV equipment and get the training to be able to read the growth lines. Any other instrument is a continual cat and mouse, or radar and detector game. It’s a good scenario for the instrument sellers: not so much for the buyers.
The Low Cost Solution
GemEx has invented and patented an incredible, reliable, and inexpensive solution. Using an iPad/iPhone along with the DiamondEye viewer, you can “fingerprint” and identify any diamond in seconds. For a $50 investment and a few dollars per diamond, all of the problems listed above are solved. We also offer a program where this protection for your store is cost free.
This system has been tested on over 800,000 compares and failed in only 8. The failures were corrected with another scan. DiamondEye works on both mounted and loose diamonds. If you haven’t been a victim of the above mentioned fraud, it is only a matter of time. It will happen. Contact GemEx to learn more about DiamondEye.
Check out how simple it is at https://retailer.diamondeye.app
1 response to “The LG Diamond Dilemma”
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