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chipped diamond: subjective or objective?

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I purchased a diamond (for an engagement ring) from a jeweler who also agreed to set it. I think the diamond was well priced ($5500 for a GIA cert’d 1.21 carat princess brilliant; VS2; H; 5.84x5.80x4.22; depth 72.8%; table 76%; thin to slightly thick; culet none; polish good; symmetry good)?



When I brought the diamond to be appraised, the independent appraiser found a small chip. I returned the diamond to the jeweler who subsequently claimed that the chip was "natural". The jeweler then called the appraiser and tried to convince him the chip was natural, but the appraiser stuck to his assessment. Five business days later, the jeweler called me and said that they "sent the diamond to GIA who agreed it was a chip".


So, the jeweler "polished out the chip" and said the diamond lost .005 carats. He then reset the diamond and re-shipped me the ring. I brought the ring back to the independent appraiser and he said no chip this time, but he couldn’t weigh the diamond because it was set. He also found the dimensions changed from 5.84x5.80x4.22 to 5.80x5.80x4.22 (So, the original GIA report is no longer valid). The appraiser's computer modeling programs calculated the diamond's new weight was 1.2 (lost .1 carat).


The independent appraiser seemed incredulous that the jeweler had sent the chipped diamond to GIA and had an answer within 5 business days, but the jeweler is in the nyc diamond district. Although I am from the nyc area, I now live in the rural Midwest and the jeweler shipped me the diamond, but I chose it in person.


I was wondering what everyone thinks about this situation? Could a small jewelry business with GIA educated jewelers really not know that the diamond was chipped? Is a chip subjective? I am concerned because:


(1) the jeweler called the appraiser to try to change his mind

(2) the jeweler hesitated to acknowledge the diamond was chipped and

(3) the jeweler refused to discount the purchase of the re-cut, re-set diamond by the amount it would cost me to have the diamond re-certified by GIA and by one of the two appraisals.


I think the last point (3) is a reflection of the fact that the jewelers know I have no diamond purchase options in my area (assuming I want to view the diamond before purchase, which I do).


Also, about a week after the second appraisal of the re-cut, re-set diamond, the diamond became loose in the setting. I have not yet contacted them about the loose setting, so I don’t know what they will say.

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5 day turn around from GIA is 'questionable' at best since the last I heard they were out 3 or 4 weeks.. Local or not, GIA has enough trouble right now that I doubt that they will be doing anyone any favors for a while.. This was most likely a BS CYA move to hopefully make you happy.. Not a bright move..


Chip or Natural, not my field, but Neil and some of the others could probaly spot it in their sleep..


Do I think that the people that sold you the diamond are trying to scam you?? Not likely.. They probably did have it repolished to remove the chip.. The plot should be able to confirm that.. But a width change from 5.84 to 5.80 is roughly 4 hundredths of a mm.. Ok, well it's exactly four hundredths of a mm..


Again, not my expertise, I just bust them when setting them, no - not really - but I would think that falls into the realm of wow that's close.. Since it's already set there simply is no way to get an 'acurate' weight, it is just an estimate.. A slightly fat girdle in one spot could account for a lot of the difference..


I do think that he should offer to pay for the second inspection (which shouldn't have cost very much anyway) but not having it recerted at GIA.. Mostly because that would mean removing the stone, again, and sending it away for a few weeks.. Then who pays for all of the resetting??


Just a few things to think about -



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Hmmm.... Neil or someone correct me here, but if I do the math, a .005 difference appears correct given the measurements provided.


Assume for a moment that the diamond is a cube with the dimensions given:


Old: 5.84x5.80x4.22 = 142.93984 cubic mm


New: 5.80x5.80x4.22 = 141.9608 cubic mm


If I also assume that the diamond has uniform density (not an unreasonable assumption at all), then the new cut is 0.99315 the carat size of the old one. If the old one was 1.3, the the new one is 1.3 * 0.99315 = 1.291 carat.


That's a difference of 0.008 carat.


Now revisit the initial assumption of the diamond being a cube. Obviously, it is not, and with that adjustment it's not unreasonable that the real difference is actually 0.005 carat.

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Telling the difference between a natural and a chip isn’t usually all that difficult but there are occasions when its difficult, especially if they haven’t seen a lot of chips before. For starters, a natural would have been listed on the plotting diagram of the original GIA report.


I agree that the claim of a GIA exam in 5 days seems unlikely. I would also point out that GIA-GTL does nothing of this nature without both putting it in writing and without charging for it. If it was GIA they will have both a report from GIA and a bill indicating the service was done and what their findings were. Not that this matters all that much, since they’ve agreed that they caused the damage.


(1) the jeweler called the appraiser to try to change his mind


They do this all the time. The jeweler is being accused of doing something wrong and they are trying to defend their reputation. Personally, I won’t discuss my clients or their property with anyone other than the client and the people that they tell me to talk to (like their attorneys) without their specific permission or a court order. This means that, had I been the appraiser in this situation, I wouldn’t even have acknowledged having met you much less discussed the details of our conversation.


(2) the jeweler hesitated to acknowledge the diamond was chipped and


Yeah, but he did do it. He muttered a few excuses first but he ended up in the right place. This behavior may be cause to shop elsewhere in the future but as far as this situation goes, you won. Don’t mess with success. It may have been legit. Most people haven’t seen very many of these and I’m sure he was eager for the conclusion to be that it was your fault, not his.


(3) the jeweler refused to discount the purchase of the re-cut, re-set diamond by the amount it would cost me to have the diamond recertified by GIA and by one of the two appraisals.


Here I disagree with them. You no longer have a GIA graded diamond because, as you point out, the old report is no longer valid on the recut stone. They should have discussed this matter with you prior to resetting the stone because, for some people, this is a very important topic and they paid extra for that report. You are entitled to either a GIA exam, an alternative exam by someone else that is acceptable to you or a discount. They should also have reimbursed you for the second appraisal since the need for it was purely a function of their damage. I could not with a straight face suggest that it’s worth your trouble to pull the stone, get it graded, reset it, repair the damage to the mounting that may be caused by all this prong work and then get yet another appraisal to document the final condition but if the GIA report is an important issue to you, this is the only way I can think of to remedy the situation. Frankly, I would expect them to count writing you a check for a couple hundred bucks as pretty attractive alternative.


Ben, your math is fine. 0.005ct weight loss is quite reasonable but it will depend a lot on the size of the girdle, the nature of the damage and what precicely was required to repair it.


Neil Beaty


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