6 Engagement Ring Scams to Avoid
Scams in the diamond industry drive me crazy! Before I outline the 6 common engagement ring scams to avoid, here is something you might relate to. I’ve interviewed dozens of men about what their biggest concerns are with jewelry stores. Do you want to see what they said?
Biggest Concerns with Jewelry Stores
I know you want to feel confident about your engagement ring purchase, but do any of these sound familiar?
- “I don’t want to get ripped off.”
- “It feels like the salespeople just want to make a deal rather than listen to what I actually want.”
- “I don’t want to get my future wife a cookie-cutter ring everyone else has.”
Top 6 Engagement Ring Scams to Avoid
Let’s start with an example.
I stumbled upon a website that made me look twice. Because of websites like this, I have clients who ask me the same question over and over again:
“Why does this company’s 2ct diamond cost so much less than this other company’s 2ct diamond when it’s listed as being the same quality? Am I being overcharged?”
If you come across a higher than typical price tag, it’s usually because certain high-end brands add on the “brand-name fee”. However, when the price seems way too good to be true, it usually is.
Engagement Ring Scam #1: Total Carat Weight of the Diamonds
Sometimes a ring will be listed as 2 carats when it’s really only 2 carats total weight.
Total carat weight could mean a 1ct center diamond with 100 smaller diamonds on the side that equal another full 1ct. A single 2ct diamond is MUCH more valuable than a 1ct diamond with 100 small pavé diamonds all around it.
This is because the larger the solid diamond, the more rare it is, which increases its value. You MUST stay away from stores that lump the total carat weight in with the carat weight of the center diamond.
Now when it comes to creating a custom engagement ring, the company may not have the exact carat weight of the small diamonds until the ring is complete. Typically, with a custom ring, you select the center diamond first. This way you know the exact carat weight of the center diamond up from. Then the small diamonds are chosen to be the appropriate size and quality next to the center stone. You never want the side stones to overshadow your selected diamond, so the small diamond sizes can vary on a case by case basis.
Engagement Ring Scam #2: Treated Diamonds
Treated Diamonds are natural diamonds that have less than desirable qualities and undergo specific treatments using heat and pressure in order to improve their gemological characteristics.
While enhanced diamonds are technically real, the issue is some jewelry stores sell them without explaining the pros and cons of buying this type of diamond. It’s simply not enough to state in tiny fine print “Clarity Enhanced” in the corner of the ring’s ad.
The majority of people don’t know what that means and don’t even think to ask. Diamonds that are “fracture filled” or “clarity enhanced” are often weaker than un-treated diamonds, causing them to be vulnerable to heat. It also makes the diamond more susceptible to chipping. Heat from a jeweler’s torch can affect the color of the stone as well. If she takes her clarity enhanced ring to get re-sized and doesn’t know to tell the jeweler, the heat from an ultrasonic cleaner or a jeweler’s torch could potentially crack the stone.
Engagement Ring Scam #3: Exact Fraction Size of the Diamond
At stores where you see completed rings advertised, a price tag might say a completed ring is 3/4 carat worth of diamond (.75ct). However, it might actually weigh as little as .69 carats. This could mean you’re paying a significant amount more than the diamond’s actual value, since prices leap considerably at certain sizes.
An example of this is a three stone ring where the size of diamonds may each be .25ct, which will accentuate a 1ct center diamond. Now if one side diamond is .20ct and the other side diamond is .18ct but they’re cut shallow so they each face up to have the dimensions of a .25ct diamond, you’ll be paying more than you should be. If the jeweler will not give you the exact weight of the diamonds, we recommend going elsewhere.
Engagement Ring Scam #4: The Huge Sale
If you see a “Diamonds Half Off!” sale sign, don’t fall for it. Liquidation and “going out of business” sales are the same. These “bargains” typically mean the dealer marked up the original diamond price to double what it’s worth and is now offering the customers “an incredibly low price.” If a store can afford to mark it down that much, then they marked it up too high to begin with.
Engagement Ring Scam #5: Fancy Lighting
Fancy engagement ring lighting isn’t really a scam per se, but it is something you should pay attention to. Jewelry stores invest in extremely expensive lighting systems because it makes the diamonds look extra sparkly. While this might seem harmless, some light bulbs have a strong blue component that make yellowish stones look whiter.
Ask to see the diamond without the bright lights under natural lighting—because your girl isn’t going to be walking around with a $200,000 lighting system hovering over her finger.
Engagement Ring Scam #6: Shopping Online
The most common engagement ring scam is buying a poor quality diamond online. You will only see the ring after you’ve bought it, so count on a horrible experience with the company trying to return it.
The temptation to buy a ring online is understandable.The downside is, unless you trust the company you’re dealing with completely, there is a definite chance of losing money.
Most pictures posted next to diamonds online from popular retailers are stock photos and don’t accurately convey how much brilliance and fire the stone has. Often, the certificate doesn’t accurately convey how the stone looks in person. We’ve seen E colored VS clarity diamonds that look completely flat and dull.
Don’t End Up Like Andrew – An Online Shopping Nightmare
“I was stupid, I’ll admit it. I’m only writing this because I don’t want other guys to end up in the same situation I got myself into. I told Vanessa I wanted to keep researching online to weigh my options. I found a so-called ‘amazing deal’ and when the ring came in the mail, I realized what Vanessa had meant by needing to see the stone’s brilliance and sparkle in person. This diamond barely had any! It wasn’t at all what the picture showed and there’s no way it was the same diamond the certification described. The company had a good return policy listed on the website, but they only responded after repeated emails and a legal threat. That’s when they told me there’s a 50% restocking fee. Never again.” – Andrew
If you’re unable to see a stone in person, you must be confident that the company’s representative has your best interest in mind when choosing a stone.
For our out-of-town clients, we film your diamond selection up close in high definition under various natural lighting conditions so you can see exactly what you’re going to get. It’s a process that really works. We have never had an unsatisfied out-of-town client.
Engagement Ring Scams Takeaway
Make sure you trust the company you are purchasing your diamond jewelry from absolutely. If you find a deal that looks too good to be true, it is. If you don’t have a trusted jewelry source, show a ring’s ad to a few different jewelry stores and see what they say. If there’s something fishy, one of them is sure to bring it up.
If you want to work with an honest designer whom you can trust to create the perfect ring without the stress of the engagement ring scams listed above, contact me personally and I will work with you one-on-one every step of the way.
Ready to Get Started?
Visit us at Vanessa Nicole Jewels to understand why we refer to our store as a working studio rather than a jewelry store. We do not mass produce assembly line rings because our goal is to go above and beyond to create an engagement ring that’s special for only you.