I had my blog idea all planned and ready to write, but last night as I was crawling into bed, I flipped on the television. The channel was on ABC (as I watch Good Morning, America while I’m getting ready for work) and there was a show on. I briefly heard the words ‘diamond’ and ‘ring’ which of course caught my attention. The ABC news show was called The Lookout and they were doing a segment on diamonds and diamond shopping. I found it very interesting and sort of frustrating that some jewelers in New York City were misleading their customers and not disclosing that they were selling clarity enhanced diamonds. As a gemologist, I always want to both educate as well as assist customers with finding the right diamond.
I didn’t catch the very beginning of the show, but basically an ABC reporter and a gemologist went undercover while looking at loose diamonds and buying engagement rings. The undercover ABC reporter was shopping for an engagement ring and the gemologist was undercover as his mother just there for moral support. The reporter ended up going to the diamond district in NYC and met with a few local jewelers. Two jewelers that he bought rings from ended up selling him clarity enhanced diamonds. The ABC reporter looked at the independent diamond grading reports and each stated that the diamonds were clarity enhanced. When he asked about what ‘clarity enhancement’ means, one jeweler told him it had to do with the polish of the diamond and the second jeweler told him that basically it’s done ‘to make the diamond look nicer’. Neither jeweler gave a truthful answer as to what it means when you have a clarity enhanced diamond.
A clarity enhanced diamond is where a diamond with a lower clarity grade is treated with a special filler, which is often lead based glass. This treatment fills the cracks (inclusions) and the diamond can pass as a higher clarity grade. Clarity enhanced diamonds are less valuable than untreated stones and require special care, such as heat-free setting. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a clarity enhanced diamond, but customers should not be misled as to what they are purchasing. Please note that deBebians.com DOES NOT sell clarity enhanced diamonds.
Next, the undercover ABC reporter took the diamonds to an independent appraiser who tested and examined both diamonds. Both diamonds proved to be clarity enhanced. When the reporter went back to the jewelry stores to ask how he was sold a clarity enhanced diamond and not really told exactly what that meant, both jewelers did offer to take the diamonds back. One jeweler said that it has to do with the polish on the inside of the diamond (impossible since polish is on the surface of the diamond) and the other jeweler would only talk off camera.
Shows like this frustrate me because the diamond and jewelry industry are all about trust. Customers need to know exactly what they are buying. The diamonds that were purchased were accompanied with independent grading reports that stated that the diamonds were clarity enhanced. It was more that the undercover ABC reporter was trying to get the jewelers to admit to what that exactly means, and they didn’t. I do feel that customers need to educate themselves to a certain degree, but that we as gemologists, need to educate and guide customers honestly through this very important process.
Here at deBebians.com, we have three GIA gemologists on staff eager to assist you with your purchase. It is not uncommon for us to have a 30 minute conversation with a customer explaining the 4 C’s and going through diamonds on our website explaining about the qualities and characteristics. Many times we offer to run a loose diamond search for customers so that we can pick out the best of the best for the customer. This is such an important process and the customer needs to feel educated and completely comfortable with their purchase from start to finish. As a gemologist, that is what I strive for with each and every customer, which is why we DO NOT sell clarity enhanced diamonds.
To view the episode of The Lookout in its entirety, please click here.