Many people are wary of leaving their diamond jewelry to be repaired at a jewelry shop. The reason: They are afraid that the jeweler might switch their diamond for a lower quality one. But are these fears really warranted?
How Likely Are Jewelers to Switch Diamonds?
While there certainly are jewelers who would try to swap your diamond, they are most likely in the minority. Generally, for most jewelers, the gain from switching is not worth the reputational risk and the resulting damage in lost business.
In order for the jeweler to gain a lot from switching, the difference in quality between the swapped stones would have to be substantial.
However, in such a case, that difference would also be pretty obvious to the customer, and few jewelers are likely to take such a risk.
If you think you have a reason to be concerned, though, and want to protect yourself against switching, there are several ways to do so. Let’s see what they are.
Check the Diamond’s Laser Inscription: “The Diamond ID”
If your diamond is certified and comes with a grading report, the stone will most likely have a laser inscription engraved on its edge.
This small engraving consists of letters and numbers that serve as a unique identifier for your diamond and can be read with a loupe. If you take a look at your diamond’s certificate, the same ID should be listed there.
When you are at the store to get your diamond back after a jewelry repair, you can check the stone’s ID under magnification and see if it matches the number on the certificate. If your stone will need to be taken out of its setting during the repairs, ask the jeweler to make sure that when the diamond is put back in, the laser inscription is clearly visible and not hidden by the mounting. This way, you would be able to check the ID number quickly while at the store.Black Friday Deal: Click here to get up to 50% OFF engagement ring settings from James Allen.
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If your diamond doesn’t have an inscription, you can always have the stone inscribed at a diamond grading lab that provides such a service for a fee.
Check out these loose diamonds — each of them comes with a grading certificate in which you can see the above-mentioned ID number that is also inscribed on the stone.
Use Diamond Inclusions for Identification: “Unique Birthmarks”
Having a laser inscription on your diamond is the best way to identify it, but what should you do if the stone is not inscribed? In such a case, you can use some of the more visible characteristics and flaws in the diamond as identification marks.
One of the most straightforward ways to recognize your diamond is to know its distinctive features well.
You might think that all diamonds are the same, but if you look at a stone really hard, you will start to notice some characteristics that make it different from others.
The diamond feature that is impossible to falsify is the configuration and type of the stone’s flaws: Their number and location, taken together, are unique to each diamond.
If you memorize some of your stone’s inclusions or flaws, you will be able to tell your diamond from others just by looking at it.
If your diamond has a characteristic black spot or a line inside of it, for example, use that as a recognition mark.
Sometimes, you will need to use a 10x loupe to be able to view your stone’s inclusions if its clarity is really high.
You can also use the diamond’s external flaws: Simply remember where some of the more visible chips or nicks on its surface are located.
After you’ve studied your stone’s characteristics, pick some of them to use as marks and put down a description of their appearance and location on paper.
Next time you pick up your diamond jewelry after a repair, look for those characteristics in the stone you are given back to confirm that you have your original diamond.
Let’s see how this works in practice: Here you can see real loose diamonds in 3D and rotate them to view their inclusions. Pick any diamond and click on it to examine it more closely from all sides — you’ll be able to identify small specks, lines, spots, and other imperfections, which can be used for identification.
Inspect The Diamond Plot: A Map of Inclusions
If you decide that using the flaws in your diamond for recognition is a good idea, here’s something that will make your life easier: a diamond plot. This is a map of the flaws in a diamond as seen under magnification and is unique to each stone.
If your diamond is certified (as it should be), you can usually find the diamond plot in the stone’s grading report. Whenever you want to make sure that the stone you have is your original diamond, you can take out the plot and check whether the configuration of the diamond’s inclusions matches the one that is plotted.
Since each stone’s diamond plot is unique, you can use this document to check the identity of any diamond that has its inclusions plotted.
If your diamond is certified and comes with a diamond plot as part of the certificate, refer to it when you are getting your stone back from the jeweler – check whether its inclusions are where they are supposed to be as verification that you have the right diamond.
Identifying a Diamond by Its Weight
Another way to find out whether a stone is your original diamond is to weigh it and record its weight before you leave your jewelry at the store to be repaired. Since diamonds do not come in perfectly identical and round carat weights, this is yet another way to identify your stone.
If your diamond’s weight is 0.183 g, for example, it should weigh the same after you get it back from the store.
It is best to weigh your diamond loose, however, as your mounting’s weight can change before after the repair depending on whether new parts or additional metal was used in fixing the piece.
This method has more limitations than using the diamond’s inclusions as you will need a precise scale to weigh your stone and you will most likely need to take it out of its mounting.
This option is less practical than the others mentioned since you’ll need to weigh the diamond while you’re still at the jewelry store, and the stone will need to be taken out of the setting for that. Nevertheless, it’s good to know that this is also an option if it works for you and the other methods are not available.
Remember: Check Your Diamond While at the Store
One final thing to remember is that you should check your diamond while you are still at the jeweler’s shop.
If you leave and come back later claiming that your diamond was switched, there is no way to prove that the stone you have with you is the one that the jeweler gave you back.
That’s why you should inspect your diamond right after you receive it.
If your stone has an inscription, you can ask the jeweler to verify the inscribed number and put it down on a piece of paper before you leave your jewelry at the shop.
This is just another way to document that the stone received by the jeweler is the stone described in your certificate. And even if you come across someone who is likely to switch diamonds, showing that you can identify your stone would discourage anyone from swapping it.
Finally, don’t get paranoid; most jewelers are unlikely to switch your diamond – it’s just not worth the risk and the potential hassle.
If you want to have peace of mind, take some simple precautions, like the ones described in this article, and you will be able to minimize the risk of having your diamonds switched.