Got Diamond Questions?
Our community of diamond experts are here to provide answers
Sign in to follow this  
Sarah111

Switched Diamond. Help!!!!!!

Recommended Posts

I am pretty sure my diamond has been switched. I received it in August. My fiancé purchased it from a diamond expo from a jeweler in LA. We live in NY. I brought the ring back to change the setting. I got the ring back a week later. When I went recently to look at bands, I noticed my diamond looked yellow compared to the band. (it his GIA certified) The jeweler said it just needed to be cleaned. She cleaned it in front of me, then checked the prongs. She asked me if it was inscribed. I said yes. She could not find it. I had 8 different geologists check the ring out. No one could find the laser inscription. Also, 2 people at 2 different jewelry stores did further inspection and said my diamond had been treated/enhanced. I believe my diamond was switched when I had my setting changed. When my fiancé purchased it, the jeweler showed him the inscription under the microscope. When we contacted the jeweler, he was really defensive and said if we came to the nextbshowmhe would show us where the id was. ( the show is 6 months away) he also got very cocky and said he wouldn't switch out a 1 carrot, it would be a $50k diamond. He sent an email apologizing the next day and said we could send it to him if we want and he would make good if it was indeed not what we purchased. My ring is insured. I don't want to send my ring, nor do I trust this man. I believe he is a fraud. What are my options? It was purchased on a credit card in June, and the credit card said it has a 60 day discrepancy. help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s easy enough to spot most inscriptions and to decide if a stone has been ‘enhanced’ although I’m not sure the strategy of surveying jewelry store workers is really the best approach. Assuming it's mounted, inscriptions can be obscured by the setting and that makes matching the stone a bit more difficult. It's still not usually all that hard but practice helps and not everyone who works in a jewelery store has the skills or the tools. You say you’re in New York. New York City perhaps? GIA has a lab there, and they offer a service to match stones to their prior reports (or not) for a relatively reasonable price. Call 800-421-7250 and see what they can do for you. If you're not in the city you can still ship it to them.

 

That’s actually the easy part. What to do if you find there’s indeed a problem? What you’re saying is a serious criminal charge and, if you’ve got a case, call the police. Although the police is a decent first step, demonstrating that the stone you have is different from what was supposedly sold to you is NOT the same as proving that a particular person is responsible.

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does take a little while to switch diamonds - has the ring been out of your eyesight for more than an hour and in somebody else's hands? If so, who had it? Only the original vendor?

 

Bear in mind that he may well be totally honest - he probably has not replaced the setting with his own hands, but has relied on a contractor. He still has responsibility, and should have checked more carefully - if the stone has indeed been switched.

 

Just one word of advice to add to Neil's excellent summary above: keep everything you have in writing and note down conversations with date and time. Send the notes to the other party - keep them factual. This will help in case things have to go to court.

  • Like 1

Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has never left my finger. I do recall calling him when it was supposed to be in. He told me not to worry, that he was out and needed to check it because one of his guys were setting it and he checks everything before he ships. When we called him and very nicely asked him where the laser inscription was located, he got very defensive. He even laughed. He said "If I was going to switch a diamond, it would be a $50000 diamond, not a $6000 diamond". He also said we must have switched it or had it cleaned somewhere where they switched it. FYI I have done some research on this particular jeweler and this is how I found this site. Someone had a saw something sketchy with him in 2009 and had written on here for advise. He then sent an email apologizing the following day and saying this has not happened in 30 years, but if it has, he will make right if we send him the ring insured with a copy of the papers. What I want, is my money back and not to do business with this man. I do not trust him. I do not know what to do. I would never send him this ring if my life depended on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, to get your money back you do need to send him the ring. The question is whether you can get an unconditional commitment to refund your money rather than getting into a controversy over "you switched the stone"; "no you did". If you can do that without referring to anything to do with switching, then you are in a good position. Secure, tracked shipping is cheap.

 

Unfortunately, assuming good faith on both sides (perhaps unlikely, but possible), it is equally reasonable from his point of view that you have switched the stone as it is for you to say it was him. You both have had the opportunity, and the financial motivation would be the same (though as a consumer it would be a lot less attractive than to him as a jeweller).

Edited by davidelevi

Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If this was a new setting, can't he tell if it had been reset or tampered with in any way? This is beyond aggravating. I have no motivation at all. I want the diamond my fiance picked out. It will never happen. It is gone. This diamond is worth way less then the one he purchased. I don't want to call my insurance company, as I am sure they will tell me this is a civil matter. This is awful! What would you suggest I do? I don't want to be without a ring. I am getting married this year!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're insured, that's a fine solution. It most definitely is NOT 'just' a civil matter but it doesn't matter. If you can demonstrate that someone stole your diamond and you've had continuous coverage since you bought it, it's probably a covered loss. Whether or not they can make a case about exactly who is responsible and exactly what happened is now the insurance company's problem. They'll try to make a case, and if they can they'll subrogate against the jeweler for it, but it's their problem, not yours. You may be required to testify, and obviously you are a suspect yourself, but the burden is on THEM, not you.

 

As mentioned above, it is entirely possible and not even all that difficult to match or separate a stone with a previous GIA document. If you've got a sales receipt with that report number, and solid evidence that the stone is now missing, you've got a claim. My advice changes slightly with this new info. Start with your insurance agent, who will send you to a qualified appraiser. Get an appraisal that clearly identifies if the stone does or does not match the expected GIA document. If it doesn't, file a claim (including the cost of the appraisal because your agent sent you there).

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on how it's been tampered with. A hurried job would leave evident traces; an accurate one, far less or even none. But the biggest problem is that you would be calling on the defendant to be both judge and jury (as well as the defendant).

 

From the point of view of a court of law, you have the same motivation that the switcher (whoever it was) had: what you have there is worth less than what you are trying to get your money back on. Don't get me wrong - I am not saying that you switched the stone, and I am not arguing about your genuine wish to have what was a token of love back in (on) your hand. All I am saying is that it is almost as easy for the dealer to portray you as someone intent on defrauding him as it is for you to do the same for him - and I speak from personal experience (as a consumer) here.

 

If I were you, I would attempt to resolve this peacefully by asking the dealer "How would you give me back if I returned the ring and all the documents to you? I do not know if the stone has been switched or not, but I am starting to associate this ring to unpleasantness rather than to joy, and I no longer want it." If what they offer is acceptable to you, take it and (ask your fiancé to) restart the search, this time starting from vetting the dealer way before he even thinks of the stone. Write off the unavoidable difference to what you paid for the ring to "experience", and be thankful it's not more.

 

If what they offer is completely not acceptable, ask your insurance if they will deal with it. Someone with few scruples may go as far as "losing" the switched stone... but it's not something I would even think of, not least because insurance fraud is something that will haunt you for the rest of your life.

 

If the insurance route is also a blind alley, get definitive proof that the stone has been switched. Go to a qualified, independent appraiser and explain the situation; get him/her to remove the stone from the setting, compare it to the documentation you have, if necessary send it to GIA for verification as Neil has suggested. Ask the appraiser to document any signs that the setting has been modified prior to his/her work, and put this in writing in the report. Then, assuming all of this comes out the way you suspect it will, send copy of the documentation to the dealer, demanding your money in full and letting them know politely but firmly that failing that you will pursue the case through the courts.

 

Some times, people will see sense - the reputational loss as well as the potential legal cost will make them think again; even if they are not "guilty" (other than of negligence: the setter may well have been the one who switched the stone), it may well be better for them to refund you than to be dragged through court, even if they win.

 

If the dealer doesn't budge, then do go to court. Depending on the country/State you are in, you may be able to put the claim through a Small Claims type track that will be relatively unexpensive and informal, but be warned that even in that case it is going to be a long, unpleasant process and ultimately you will still be reliant on the dealer to pay you back, even if the court finds in your favour.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cross-posted with Neil. He may well be right that the you will have a valid claim with the insurance company, and he knows US-based insurers 1000 times better than I do. All I can say is that the (very few) times I have tried to claim anything from an insurer, they have always wriggled out of it... but none of them were US-based insurers.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Mysterious disappearance' is a covered loss with most US policies and theft is a covered loss in all of them. You can have a theory of what happened, and they will certainly ask, but it's just that, a theory. What we're talking about here is theft, pure and simple. Diamonds just don't jump out of the setting and get replaced with something else. It took you a while to notice but that doesn't change the heart of the problem. You probably don't have particularly good evidence against the thief and you would lose in court for that reason but this is not one of the requirements for an insurance claim. The thing is, in order to make a claim, you MUST have evidence that a loss has actually occured and a survey of several jewelry store workers is simply not sufficient. The reason it matters is that there are a few other options.

 

1) It was the wrong stone in the first place. That is to say, the problem was with the original delivery (which was before the insurance policy started and therefore would not be covered)

2) No loss has occured. The stone is just dirty, your vision is going out or some similar alternative issue that explains the evidence.

3) You are the crook, and the crime here is insurance fraud, not diamond theft.

 

Obviously these would all be grounds for denying a claim. On #1 and #3, the burden is on them to prove it after you've filed a claim and #2 is the reason you're being sent to an appraiser before it even starts.

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The jewelers I went to were certified gemologists. They looked at it under a high powered microscope (3x? I don't know if this means 30x or 300x?) so #2 is out of the question. And of course #3 is incorrect but that is also not verifyiable, and i understand that. When he purchased the stone, the jeweler showed him the laser inscription. That is not to say it was the stone he received after it was purchased and insured. I do believe it was my stone when it was insured. I had tried on bands with it, and it was very bright. It is a VERY noticeable difference now when I compared it to a diamond of the original calibre, which is what raised my suspicion in the first place. I really don't want to go through my insurance. I'm thinking of finding someone to document that it is indeed not mine, contacting the jeweler with this information, and hoping he will at least give me a comparable stone. I would be happy with that at this point. (even though I really don't want to). If he refuses, I would then go forward with at least hoping he would not want a tarnished reputation (bbb, bad reviews, and contacting the expos that he works with). And lastly, if I must, get the insurance company involved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a sight I could go to to find a local reputable jeweler/gemologist that would help me document this? thank you for all your help. I am at a loss for the right direction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To quote Neil once again:

 

Try the following:

 

www.najaappraisers.com

www.appraisers.org

www.ags.org

www.isa-appraisers.org

 

These are all membership societies and they have online lookup systems for their members. Some (most actually) are jewelers but the individual appraisers all will have websites and you should be able to look there and see if they're suitable for your requirements.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

how do you know, the person who cleaned it did not switch it?? These people are very fast, they can switch it in a sec.. I found it hard to believe a jeweler you bought your ring from would switch it. Have you checked there BBB review? If they have a lot of complain then no, they would not do it, but if they have a lot of complain against them, then they did. People that switch do it all the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt the cleaner can switch - they'd need to have a pile of "to-be-switched" stones and the luck of having something that fits the setting well enough that the customer won't notice.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

how do you know, the person who cleaned it did not switch it?? These people are very fast, they can switch it in a sec.. I found it hard to believe a jeweler you bought your ring from would switch it. Have you checked there BBB review? If they have a lot of complain then no, they would not do it, but if they have a lot of complain against them, then they did. People that switch do it all the time.

Conceptually this is correct but, in practice, it’s a lot harder than it seems at first blush. It takes some fairly unusual skills and tools to do it in a way that isn’t immediately obvious, it takes an inventory of stones that are the right size and shape, and it DOES take time to even do a crappy job. It takes advance planning and it takes a system in place to make the theft work and get away with it. It’s kind of like stealing the engine out of your car while it’s in for an oil change. The NASCAR guys can do it in 30 seconds after all. Maybe they can, but the chances that the guys at JiffyLube are prepared to do the same is fairly low.

 

Secondly, it doesn’t pay nearly as well as people think. Swapping a 1ct, SI1/G for a 0.90ct, I1/I for example, conceivably would pass the first inspection of the consumer but the payoff only comes when they sell that SI1 to someone else. Anyone who has tried to sell a diamond can tell you that it’s not that easy and, if we’re talking about a high volume store that can actually do it effectively, they have a LOT to lose by getting busted stealing customers goods. Every single one is evidence. It happens, but it doesn't happen anything like as much as people think it does. We’re talking a few cases per year in the whole country. FAR more likely is misrepresentation on the front end. It never was a 1.00/SI1/G and the customer didn't notice because they aren't an expert and they were relying on the advice of the seller. Why get it appraised when the seller provided a ‘free’ report? This happens every day in every city. Incidentally, this would NOT be a covered loss under a typical insurance but if you nip it up front by getting a decent independent appraisal it's covered by both the jeweler's return policies and often the credit card company as well.

 

 

Lastly, as mentioned above, a jeweler stealing your diamond would be a covered loss under any insurance policy I know of and it’s instructive to note that the insurance companies aren’t overly worried about assuming this risk. They will issue an ‘all risk’ policy for about 1-2% of your declared value and this includes everything from theft to loss to fire. They’re making money on this deal and theft by jewelers is a tiny tiny fraction of the claims. They’re betting that the ‘average’ customer has this happen once every 1000 years or less and they’re WINNING this bet. Their rates and coverages are published and, again, they've been making money at this for decades so they can't be that far off. On the other side, nearly everybody thinks they know someone who has had it happen and a fair number of people think it’s happened to them. These datapoints just don’t line up. Believe what you like but I’m going with the accountants and the actuarials.

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These sort of situations are very frequent these days. The man shouldn't be left like that with out any action taking on him. We may complain on him in the community of this field such that he will experience the loss of his doing, On the other case, you may accept his apologize and may  leave him. I had experienced these sort of situations yet and so I would like to share the other members opinions and any suggestions regarding this. Anyone experienced please share with us. Thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mattkowal - I'm sorry, but I flatly disagree that these situations are "very frequent". On sharing experience and insight, you have 15 posts above providing it, so I'm not sure what the point of your post is.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this