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Is your Jeweler a Crook?

By Peter Lopez

Questions to ask when looking for an honest jeweler.

John is in town on business, as he walks thru the "Diamond district" he spots a beautiful Princess cut diamond ring in one of the many windows on this particular block.

As John considers this ring for his upcoming engagement, a stream of questions floods him. Will she like it? Will she even say yes if she does like it? Is it a good deal? Is it good quality? Is this jewelry store reputable?

These are all legitimate questions, and not knowing the answers to any of them he has to rely on Tony, the storeowner. When he asks Tony these questions, Tony assures him that even if his fianc"e does not like the ring, not to worry, he is buying it in the "wholesale district" and the price is so low that any jeweler back home will buy it for more than he paid, at least 40 or 50% more.

When John finally is down on one knee, he is delighted to hear the words "I will" After a few days his fianc"e admits that she would prefer a pear shape for her center stone, as everyone now uses princess cut.

John takes the ring to a few jewelers in his area and is totally disappointed to find out that he can only get about one third of what he paid for it. The diamond quality and weight that Tony had quoted were almost accurate, but the ring was purchased at retail price.

Nevertheless, John thought Tony was a crook who misled him into buying the ring by making false claims about its value.

Is John correct in thinking Tony is a crook

According to The Federal Trade Commission, the guidelines in the United States, John would be correct. Deception of any kind is fraud, even when it involves only the future value or resale potential of jewelry. In fact when anyone sells jewelry for purposes of investment, they must inform the buyer that "appreciation or profit cannot be assured" and "no organized market exists for the resale of jewelry industry products by private owners"

Jewelers themselves helped write these guidelines for the jewelry industry. I, along with every other ethical jeweler in the United States support laws against fraud. We want to earn public respect and be regarded as people with integrity.

It seems today that when you ask a person about jewelers, 3 out of 5 has some horror story as how they, or a friend has had a diamond switched or has been lied to about the quality of a diamond or gemstone.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Jeweler

How long have they been in business? If they have been there a few months their guarantees don't mean anything.

What kinds of services do they offer? Can they do repairs, are they done in house, can they do custom work.

Do they have a Graduate Gemologist on staff? What other credentials does this store have? Can they do appraisals?

What kind of return, replacement, and buy-back policies do they have?

Do they have a microscope available to you? Can you look at their jewelry under magnification? Most jewelers without a microscope available to the consumer do not sell diamonds worth examining under magnification

Are they willing to put their verbal descriptions in writing?

When you are seriously interested in an item, are they making an effort to find it for you if they do not have it in stock?

Do they have a range of qualities and or a good selection?

Is their store "always on sale" with the same discount? If they have a never-ending sale they might mislead you with something else.

Do you feel they are trustworthy? Is the store cold, or does it have a friendly atmosphere?

Are they behaving professionally? Are they dressed professionally?

Do they put down their competition? Are they voluntarily offering you a negative appraisal of the jewelry you are wearing? Competent jewelers do not need to resort to these tactics. They are insulting you as a buyer and they are also acting unprofessionally when they claim their jewelry is better or less expensive

Are they interested in service? Some stores are friendly until you ask for a battery. Being a jeweler is not only about making money

If you are satisfied with what and how they have answered your questions, you've found a jeweler with excellent service. My advice to you is, establish a good relationship with them. There are good jewelers everywhere, the hard part is finding them when you need them.


Peter P. Lopez

About The Author

Peter Lopez

I am a third generation Jeweler; I have been behind the jewelry counter since I was six years old. I have worked for my father, for Zale Corp, Crescent Jewelers, and for various independent jewelry stores. I studied at GIA and have been examining diamonds for 15 years.


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