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Consumer Confidence

Michael Cohen

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I received a call this morning, one which we get on a regular basis. The question is always the same, and our answer is always the same. It usually starts with, "I am buying a diamond how can I be sure that I am getting what I am told". the answer is simple. No matter where you are buying a stone you need to firstly make sure the retailer is reputable.A good way to determine this, is by the certificate they provide you with the diamond. If you are offered a certificate from a reputable laboratory that is recognised by the world associations you can be sure you are getting what you are told. And dealing with a reputable retailer. If you are offered a bogus certificate or an in house certificate of valuation you should shop elsewhere. This advice is simple and seems logical, YET we constantly see consumers who have been caught out. Why is this? Well today, I would like to share what we see. The consumer is sceptical and mistrusting by nature,YET when they are involved in a emotional purchase and at their most vulnerable, the sharks come out to feed,playing on the feeling of the moment and the feeling between the couple. It takes very little to convince a first time, uninformed person that they are getting a great deal, especially with very official looking paperwork. This always ends in tears and usually the feeling is they will never trust again. It is amazing that a few unethical traders who perpetuate these problems bring doubt on to the industry as a whole,and my personal view is that we should stand together and get rid of them once and for all. Point out the pit falls to your customers, they do appreciate it.Michael Cohen


Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia

Suite 1, Level 1

133 Castlereagh Street

Sydney, 2000

Tel: 02 9261 2104

Fax: 02 9261 4263




Edited by Michael Cohen
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Lab paperwork is a reinforcement of the trust you are placing in the retailer, not a substitute for it. I agree absolutely that a store that points to a report from an unknown lab and feels that this absolves them of responsibility for the grading is a bad sign and it’s evidence to shop elsewhere. This is even true with GIA/AGS graded stones. These labs do not report on everything of importance about a stone nor do they claim that they do and they say nothing at all about the value or whether it’s a wise purchase. It’s becoming increasingly common for dealers to sell GIA graded stones as a commodity and to simply pretend that there’s nothing more to it than what appears on the ‘certificate’. For some people this works out ok, but it’s a dangerous step and can lead to a great deal of unhappiness.


I agree that the root of the problem is a learned cynicism about retailers and the diamond business in general although this isn’t entirely misplaced. It’s a blind and expensive purchase for almost everyone so they simply MUST trust the supply chain and there are a fair number of sources that simply don’t deserve this trust. People hate this. It’s easier to put confidence in some remote entity that calls themselves a laboratory than in a one-on-one advisor, even when you know the lab is BS. At least the letterhead is usually very impressive. They don’t want to trust the retailer, they don’t want to trust or pay for an appraiser and they like the idea of buying from low cost and efficient distribution channels. It’s a complicated soup that’s a recipe for abuse.


I further agree that the solution starts at the retailer. Choose your dealer first, then the diamond instead of the other way around. If the dealer is lying to you by asking you to rely on bogus paperwork or ‘appraisals’ with values and descriptions that you know to be fiction, don’t just demand a better price, demand a better dealer.



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