Protect Yourself From Diamond Fraud

April 14, 2015

As is customary, upon closing a jewelry claim, insureds surrender items that are damaged beyond repair to their insurance company. Whether it’s the remains of a watch, or the lone earring left from a set, these items are known as salvage. PURE’s claims professionals will then look to sell the salvage in order to credit against the claim. As part of this process, an expert jeweler will examine the piece to help determine its value.

In multiple cases, our trusted jewelers have discovered that the items, unknown to our members, are fakes. One PURE member was shocked to learn that the one diamond earring that remained from her beloved set was a fake, albeit a very convincing one.

According to Marc Shavel, Graduate Gemologist with New York-based Neil Diamonds, this is not an uncommon occurrence but one that can be avoided by following these precautions.

  • Before making any purchase, research the jeweler. Check online customer reviews from unbiased, third-party sites such as BBB, Yelp and local search engines. A simple Google search can be very telling.   
  • Purchasing diamonds or other high-value jewelry while visiting the Caribbean Isles or other overseas destinations that promise tax-free shopping zones with big discounts comes with risks. There are no laws to protect consumers in these locations, making fraud very easy. You might pay $20,000 for what you believe to be a diamond when in reality it’s a cubic zirconia. There is no such thing as a “better place to buy diamonds." Diamonds are a world market and trade at essentially the same price everywhere.
  • Purchase only diamonds that are certified by either the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS); these two certification labs are generally considered to be the most consistent and strictest when grading diamonds. (Please note, diamonds under .5 ct are often not laboratory certified as a matter of cost). When it comes to certification, don’t be fooled by:
    • Official-looking certificates from local “certified gemologist” gem labs. They may be owned by the store and could exaggerate the grades to make the prices look good. It’s not worth the risk.
    • Certificates from labs with names that may be mistaken for the reputable labs for example “Gemological Institutions of America” (instead of Gemological Institute of America), or American Gemological Services (instead of American Gemological Society).
 

computer-icon-contact-us.pngFor PURE members who need assistance scheduling a jewelry appraisal, contact a PURE Member Advocate® at memberadvocate@pureinsurance.com or 888.813.7873 (PURE).