Diamond Scams | How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off When You Buy

Diamond Scams | How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off When You Buy

A diamond purchase isn’t a small expense. There are many ways that you can get ripped off, whether buying from a local jeweler, online, or private party. This post will try to help you avoid common tricks, traps, and deceptions.

How can you avoid getting ripped off when you buy a diamond? There are many specific ways to protect yourself, but above all, don’t be overly trusting. You deserve to have evidence regarding the quality claims that are made about a ring that you’re prepared to spend thousands of dollars on. Any reputable seller will understand and cooperate with your request.

So, what exactly do you look for as warning signs, and ask for as meaningful substantiation of quality? We’ll dive into those specifics below—so keep reading!

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

I was 23 when I walked into my first jewelry store. I had no idea what I should expect to pay for a diamond engagement ring. I had no experience with gems or precious metals. I knew that cost would increase based on diamond size, but that was literally ALL I knew.

The salesman that saw me walk through the doors of store probably sized me up in seconds and thought ‘fresh meat’! I tried to play it cool…like I’d looked at hundreds of rings and knew EXACTLY what I was doing, but that was a facade that was easy to see through.

You know when someone that knows nothing about cars goes in to have their car fixed by a new mechanic and doesn’t want to seem like a sucker, so they try to fire of the little bit of car vocabulary that they know, and make it crystal clear that they have NO IDEA what they’re talking about. That was me. I had ‘sucker’ drawn on my forehead.

Because I knew nothing, and the salesman could sense it, he started pulling out rings and telling me about them. His choice of words made each ring seem like such a rare and valuable find. I was mostly worried about the overall look of the ring and the ultimate price tag (after all, I was shopping with borrowed money that day—which is a topic for another time).

I had every intention of trying to stay in a section of rings that was less expensive, but ring by ring, we moved down the display case. Each ring seemed more valuable and wiser than the last, but the cost difference wasn’t huge. He told me about inclusions and had me look through his loupe. I actually paid MORE for a diamond that had fewer/smaller inclusions—inclusions that you only see with a Loupe. In the 20 years since I bought that ring, do you know how many people have looked at my wife’s ring through a Loupe? Take a wild guess. Yep, zero!

“There’s a sucker born every minute” – PT Barnum

I bought a ring that day—at my very first store! Did I pay too much? Probably, on several levels. The really scary thing is how clueless and susceptible I was. That experience is one of the major reasons that I started this blog. I want to help you feel less like a fish out of water. I’d love for you to be someone that can confidently shop for your engagement or wedding ring, knowing that you’re going to be able to find the ring you love, get a great value, and protect yourself from dishonest players. Don’t get ripped off when you buy a diamond. Some common tactics, used by the shifty, are outlined below.

Common Diamond Scams:

There are 4 main categories that drive, or determine, diamond value. They’re commonly referred to as the 4 C’s. The categories include cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Since each of those four areas is a driver of value, they’re also areas where dishonest sellers often try to deceive unprepared buyers.

Despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies and government watch groups like the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), we can’t be completely sheltered and protected from dishonest sellers. While agencies do their best to set and enforce guidelines that certainly help, we still live in a ‘buyer beware’ environment. The following scams are common ways that dishonest sellers often try to deceive and take advantage of unsuspecting buyers who are looking for a bargain.

Multiple color grades

Naturally colorless diamonds (those that don’t have any degree of a yellow or brown hue) are a rare find. Because they’re rare, they’re also valuable. In fact, the more colorless a diamond is, the more valuable it is. The colorlessness of diamonds is graded on an alphabetical scale that runs from ‘D’ through ‘Z’. A diamond that’s graded with a ‘D’ is perfectly colorless. An ‘E’ is slightly (almost imperceptibly) tinted. An ‘F’ is a little more tinted. As the scale continues to progress, diamonds display a progressively darker hue.

One little trick that sellers sometimes use to deceive buyers on the value of a particular diamond, is to list multiple color grades for it. For example, a ‘J’ diamond might be promoted as an ‘H, I, J’—meaning that it falls someone in the ‘H’, ‘I’, or ‘J’ portion of the color scale. No one would want to say that an H grade diamond is an ‘H, I, J’, because ‘I’ and ‘J’ are less valuable grades. Potential buyers often assume that an ‘H, I, J’ diamond is possibly an ‘H’, and therefore justify spending a premium for an inferior diamond. A diamond should really only have one letter representing its color. If you find a seller listing a range I’d suggest that you buy elsewhere. If you decide to continue looking at a diamond that has a color range listed, always base the price you’ll pay on the highest (most tinted) grade that’s listed. For instance, In our previous example, you would base what you’re willing to pay on the assumption that the diamond is a ‘J’ for color (not an ‘H’).

Deceptive Lighting

Lighting can make things look a lot better or worse than they might otherwise naturally appear. Any photographer can attest to that. Jewelers know it too! Light can influence your perception of color and brilliance. Because of that, you might LOVE diamond that you found in the display case of your local jeweler—it was PERFECT—until you pulled it out again to look at it when you got home. It looked like an entirely different ring! It has a yellow hue that you swear wasn’t there before.

Because lighting can distort your perception of color, you should look at diamonds in various types of lighting. It’s perfectly fine to walk over to a different corner of the store to get to a different kind of light if needed. Stand by a window if you can to get some natural light, or walk outside (with the jeweler’s permission—and company probably) if needed too. It’s a big investment, so you’re completely justified in double checking the color and brilliance of the ring in various types of light.

Selling a Diamond Simulant as a Natural Diamond

Diamond simulants are diamond impersonators. They’re look-alikes. They could be made of glass, plastic, stone, or any other non-diamond material. They may look like diamond to an untrained eye, but they don’t have the same hardness, durability, or other characteristics. Most importantly, they don’t have the same value.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with buying a simulated diamond, as long as you know that’s what you’re buying and it’s priced accordingly. The problem is the deception that leaves you paying WAY more than you should for the item you’re buying.

Selling a Synthetic Diamond as a Mined Diamond

This situation is similar, but still, a bit different than what we just discussed with Simulated Diamonds. Remember simulants are look-alike diamonds. Synthetics, however, are REAL diamonds—they’re just made in a laboratory instead of excavated from the earth. What do I mean by ‘real’ diamond? I mean that synthetic (or lab created) diamonds are made entirely of carbon. They’re also visibly identical, equally hard and just as durable. Even though they are real diamonds, and look identical, no one would want to purchase a synthetic diamond at mined diamond prices, because synthetic diamonds are usually 30% to 50% less expensive.

Even though lab created diamonds look identical to mined diamonds, there are still some pretty simple ways to try and confirm the nature of what you’re thinking of buying. Here are a couple of initial options

Under 10X to 30X magnification, carefully examine the rim that runs around the girdle of the ring. That’s where labs, like GIA, will typically make an inscription on man-made stones, to make them easier to identify as such. Only stones that have been graded by them will have an inscription. If the seller has a grading report that they can make available to you, it will clearly indicate if the ring was lab grown. There are also machines that can identify whether a gem is earth-grown or lab-grown. It may be worth paying for such a test if a grading report isn’t available to confirm that info for you.

I’m hearing more common stories now about jewelers unknowingly selling lab-grown diamonds as earth-grown diamonds. Again, they’re visually indistinguishable, so it would be easy for a jeweler not to know if the wrong product is sent to him. It’s a case, where the scam is apparently happening further up the supply chain. A grading report from a reputable lab can help mitigate that risk for you. Ask to see if they have a report for the diamond.

Selling a Simulant as a Lab-Grown Diamond

Simulant stones can be represented as a lab-grown diamond too. Again, simulants aren’t diamonds in any way, shape, or form, but they do look similar (not the same—but similar). Even though lab created diamonds are substantially less expensive than mined diamonds, they’re still far more expensive than most simulated diamonds (like Cubic Zirconia). While there’s nothing wrong with CZ, for those that understand what they’re buying and pay an appropriate price, no one would want to pay lab diamond prices for a simulant type product. For example, simulants may have a value of $10 per carat, while a lab diamond, might be closer to $1800 per carat.

Weight Deception

Weight deception comes in two main forms. The first, is approximating (or rounding up). Someone might say that a diamond is approximately 1 carat, but the cost difference between a .9 and 1-carat ring can be significant, so you’ll want to know the exact weight.

As we discussed with color, sellers would likely never approximate when the approximation doesn’t work in their favor. For instance, someone with a 1.09-carat diamond would never say that the diamond is approximately 1 carat. That would short-change them on weight, which is an important driver of value. Because of this, if a diamond is advertised as an approximate weight, please seek one specific weight measurement, and if possible, have it weighed again, in front of you—or check the grading report, from a reputable lab, for confirmation.

Sellers also use terms related to weight measurements that can sometimes be deceptive to unaware buyers. Carat Weight (CW) is a representation of how heavy (how large) a particular diamond is. Carat Total Weight (CTW) is a representation of how heavy all the combined diamonds on a given ring are. The distinction between the two numbers is important because very small diamonds are much less rare and valuable.

Very small diamonds can also look good even if their color and clarity aren’t great. They’re used for additional decoration around the larger center stone. When there are a lot of them, it can increase the CTW quite a bit. The unsavvy buyer (like I was), assumes that the CTW number represents the weight of the center stone, and could easily end up paying far more than they should for the ring. Some sellers will display both a CW and CTW, which is fine. When the CW is missing though, buyers are more prone to confusion. They often overestimate the value of a given ring with multiple tiny diamonds surrounding a larger diamond.

Not Disclosing Treatments

Using machinery, technology, substances, or processes to artificially improve the appearance of an earth mined, or a lab-created, diamond, is referred to as a ‘Treatment’ or ‘Enhancement.’ The HPHT (High-Pressure High-Temperature) process, for example, can be used to make a naturally tinted diamond more colorless. That process can be used to improve the color qualities of both earth-mined and lab-grown diamonds.

It’s important to be aware of this, because naturally colorless diamonds are far more rare, and valuable, than treated diamonds are. Because of that, enhanced diamonds will sell for less than natural stones with the same color qualities. Heat treatment can also be used to intensify the color in diamonds, making them more vibrant, and therefore, more attractive and valuable. Some of these treatments are literally impossible to detect, so manufacturers and jewelers are ethically bound to disclose them. In reality, many certainly don’t. I was visiting a big box retailer yesterday and stopped by their jewelry counter. They had signs throughout their jewelry counter stating that buyers should assume that all stones have been enhanced, unless otherwise stated, for individual rings. That was good to see, but many sellers can, and do, conceal that information in order to deceive buyers and improve profits. Awareness is helpful. You can directly ask your jeweler if individual diamonds have been ‘treated’ in any way.

For the record, there’s nothing wrong with treated, or enhanced, diamonds, as long as you’re paying a price that’s appropriate for what you’re getting. Treated diamonds are wonderful because they allow you to get a stunning ring for FAR less than a natural stone with the same qualities would cost.

Deceptive Grading Reports

I’ve referenced certificates, or grading reports, several times. Certificates from well known and established (reputable) laboratories can substantiate claims about a particular diamond and provide peace of mind, but you still have to be cautious with grading reports. There are two common ways that grading reports can be used in scams.

  1. Fake grading reports are sometimes provided. These bogus reports might have the appearance of being from GIA or another quality lab. If you base your buying decision on a fake report, you’re sure to lose significant money on the transaction.
  2. Real reports are produced, but they’re from garbage laboratories that can’t be trusted. There are unscrupulous labs that are almost like mail-order degree mills for college students that want to buy a degree without cracking a book. These dishonest laboratories provide a very nice looking certificate that can report exaggerated or completely false quality data on the diamonds they issue reports for.

When it comes to grading reports, you have to consider the source. These reports can be incredibly helpful, or garbage, depending on where they come from. We’ll share a list of the most trustworthy labs below. Avoid putting much weight in reports from other organizations.

HUGE markdowns

We’ve all been drawn into stores because they advertise liquidations or huge sales. They may say they’re having the sale because they’re going out of business, moving, over-stocked, because there’s a holiday, or any other reason. They list a really high retail price and then a huge limited time discount.

Our defenses are weakened by the fear of missing out. You may buy a ring because sales psychology predictably worked as the jeweler thought it would, and a sense of scarcity drove you to act ‘before it’s too late.’

As the saying goes…

‘if something ‘looks too good to be true, it probably is.’ -Unknown

In reality, retailers often mark their inventory up, so they can mark it down. In other words, they list an unreasonable retail price (something no one would ever really think of paying as the everyday price, and then claim to discount to a lower price that’s typically pretty close to normal retail (sometimes the sale price is still quite a bit more than the object is actually worth).

Rather than shopping with the sellers that have sensational sales, you’ll probably be far better off, dealing with reputable retailers (online or offline) that post fair prices all the time. There’s nothing wrong with a sale, but when you see extremes or sales look a little gimmicky, proceed with extreme caution.

Diamond Switch Outs

Most jewelers are certainly honest, but ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ Having said that, it’s very possible for jewelers to swap out your diamond for another stone, and in most cases, you probably wouldn’t notice. There are two ways that this scam can take place. The first, happens when you drop your ring off for repair work, or to be cleaned, they simply remove your diamond and replace it with a less valuable man-made diamond of similar size, or a high-quality diamond simulant.

Dishonest Jeweler Ripping Off their Customer by Switching Out the Diamond for a Cheaper Stone.

CBS News reported on an allegation made by MANY customers of one large jewelry chain that claim to have had their diamond switched out for a different stone (like Moissanite) when they take it in for cleaning or repair work.

The other way that swap-outs can occur, is that jewelers show you loose diamonds. Once you select the one that you want, the jeweler quickly swaps it with a similar looking diamond of lesser quality before mounting the diamond to increase their profit margin on the ring. They know that making slight adjustments to color quality, inclusions, or size, are unlikely to be noticed or challenged.

So what’s the solution to switch outs (stealing your diamond)? It’s to have the jeweler map out your diamond on a piece of paper, showing the location, and type, of each one. Inclusions are fairly unique. If a swap out happens, the map they drew is your proof that you dropped off a different ring than they returned to you. An honest jeweler will understand, and won’t mind giving you this additional confidence that you’ll get your original diamond back. A dishonest jeweler will be put on notice that you’re not an easy target, and won’t be worth the risk.

We’ve discussed ways that unethical jewelers can deceive customers and take advantage, but please understand that most of the tactics addressed above can be used by businesses or individuals. Buying a used diamond ring from a local seller can potentially save you a lot of money if you’re very careful with what you buy. Just realize that there are two very real dangers with placing too much trust in what the seller tells you.

  1. They could be dishonest and trying to take advantage—so be careful. We’ll talk about specific ways that you can protect yourself below.
  2. They may be honest but misinformed—which could still be bad news for you if you place too much trust in what you’re told about the ‘diamond.’ If someone was given a Moissanite engagement ring, but they were lead to believe that it’s a diamond engagement ring, they may honestly believe that’s true. They aren’t trying to take advantage, and wouldn’t want to lie about the stone if they knew differently. This is an example of where honest people can unintentionally mislead us on the value of a ‘diamond’ they’re selling. The good news, is that there are ways that you can protect yourself from these situations, and any of the others outlined above.

How to protect yourself

Hopefully, the common scams outlined above only have you worried enough to exercise caution and take steps to protect yourself. You can navigate these waters safely if you’re cautious. What specific steps can you take though, to protect yourself from falling victim to these common scams and countless variations? Here are some initial options:

Become a Skeptic

Above all else, you need to make sure that you’re not too trusting. When you accept what others say without questioning it, you become an easy target. When you have a healthy level of skepticism, you ask tough questions in order to verify the information that’s been shared with you. Questioning helps you avoid time wasters, so you can find the right ring faster and avoid many pitfalls along the way.

Check the Grading Report

Whether you’re buying from a jeweler or through a private party, you should probably insist on grading report from a well established, known, and trustworthy laboratory. Here’s a list of the labs that could fit into that category:

Of all the labs listed above, GIA is the one that’s the most known and trusted, they’re the gold standard in the industry.

As I mentioned above, SEEING a report is only the first step. Validation of the report is a critical second step. The certificates that most labs issue have security features in the paper like holograms and micro-print lines that can help you determine authenticity. You also have the ability to look up certificates through the websites of these labs to verify the information contained on the report that was shown to you. If you can’t find the report through their search feature, you could call the lab for further assistance. If they still aren’t able to find evidence of the report on their end, you should walk away from the transaction—the provided report is probably counterfeit.

Look for signs of reliability

You’re always going to be safest buying from well-established companies that have forged a solid reputation for honesty and quality over many years. Especially when you’re dealing with a company that’s new to you (one that you don’t know much about), it’s a good idea to check their reputation online.

This is a fairly easy process that shouldn’t take a great deal of time, but can provide you with a lot of comfort and reassurance both before and after your transaction. The BBB (Better Business Bureau) and the FTC are two great places to start your research. Searching company reviews through Google, Yelp, and Facebook can also be incredibly insightful. Not all complaints should cause major concern, but complaints that illustrate a pattern of dishonesty should be taken incredibly seriously.

Other simple, but useful, signs of reliability could include the age of the business and the general appearance of the site. The presence, or absence, of important legal information on the site, could be another valuable indication of how trustworthy they are. Look for things like terms of service, a privacy policy, and their refund policy. Simply having that kind of information can be a good sign. Reading their privacy policy and refund policy, for example, can be helpful on multiple levels too.

Look for a Money-back Guarantee

Nothing instills more confidence that a retailer is selling a quality product, than when they stand behind it with a money-back guarantee. Not all companies offer one, but I’d certainly favor those that do. In other words, not offering a money-back guarantee isn’t an indication that a company is crooked, but offering one can be an additional positive signal that a retailer is operating honestly—as long as the retailer is established and has a reputation that you can rely on.

Pay with a Credit Card

Pay with a major credit card, even if you have all the money you need to buy the ring with cash. It’s not about reserving your cash, and certainly isn’t about getting a bigger ring than you could afford to purchase outright—it’s fraud insurance. If you purchase the ‘diamond’ with a major credit card, and then soon after discover that it isn’t really a diamond, for example, you might be able to dispute the charge with your credit card provider to get your money back. The same is true if you order online and your package never arrives.

If you paid cash for the same ring, you’re probably going get stuck with an expensive lesson. It’s probably going to be tough to get your cash back. You only real course of action would be a lawsuit, but that takes time, money, and a solid case. You may, or may not, have a solid case in the eyes of the judge, but it’s a huge hassle and it’s going to take a long time to see through. Even if you win the lawsuit, you aren’t home free, you just move into another painful phase of the process—collecting on a judgment. The kind of deadbeat that would lie to you in order to sell some cheap simulant as a diamond, is probably going to be shifty and difficult to collect from. Even if you win a judgment, you may never see money from the award. I’ve been down that road before myself. Won a judgment, but even professional collectors, I was unable to collect on it. For all those reasons, I strongly advise that you pay with plastic!

Related Questions:

Why Do Diamonds Cost So Much?

Diamonds remain expensive because of market manipulation, not natural scarcity. High prices mean healthier profit margins for suppliers, but they also help diamonds maintain links to social status that drives additional demand. That status based demand would dissipate if everyone could easily afford them.

Do Diamonds Appreciate in Value?

The diamonds used in engagement rings, and wedding rings, typically don’t appreciate enough to provide a return, especially after inflation. They’re too small. Diamonds bought for these applications shouldn’t be thought of as ‘investments’. When this type of diamond is resold, it’s typically done at a loss.

Are Diamonds Unethical?

Diamonds aren’t inherently unethical. If you’re concerned about unknowingly buying a Blood Diamond, the environmental impact of mining, or involvement of child labor, a lab-grown diamond could be a solution. They provide all the beauty and durability with a lower financial, environmental, and social cost.

Related Posts:

Buying Diamonds on Craigslist | How to Stay Safe & Be Savvy

6 Ways You Can Tell a Lab Grown Diamond From a Natural One

The BEST Grading Lab For Lab Grown Diamonds | Quality & Cost

 

Why Lab Diamonds Are So Much Cheaper Than Mined Diamonds

Why Lab Diamonds Are So Much Cheaper Than Mined Diamonds

Lab created diamonds are rapidly growing in terms of awareness and popularity. They last just as long, look just as beautiful but cost A LOT less.

Why are lab diamonds so much cheaper than mined diamonds? Market manipulation controls supply and keeps the cost of earth-grown diamonds artificially high. Without that continual manipulation, prices would come down. Lab diamonds don’t have the same level of market gaming, which accounts much of the cost difference for these two types of diamond.

What other factors are at play? There are several, actually. We’ll dive in deeper, and discuss them, throughout the remainder of this post.

3 Reasons for a Price Gap That You Might Guess—But You’d be Wrong!

First, “They’re cheaper to make in the lab than mine from the earth”. While this is an explanation that could make sense on the surface, you’d be surprised how little diamonds often cost to harvest from mines. In fact, De Beers has released financial statements in recent years, showing that their diamonds cost about $104 per carat, on average, to produce.

Excavating diamonds from the earth takes dynamite, trucks, backhoes, pickaxes, etc. Producing diamonds in a lab requires incredibly expensive, and highly specialized equipment. Since technology continues to evolve, that equipment needs to be replaced fairly regularly in order to keep up with the techniques and processes that are producing the best results. Between the equipment needed, and the lab quality ingredients needed to form the diamond, the process isn’t inexpensive.

Second, “Lab diamonds are lower quality products, and are less durable.” In reality, lab-grown diamonds are identical to earth grown diamonds. They look exactly the same, in fact, even a professional jeweler or gemologist can’t tell man-made diamond apart from an earth-grown diamond based on visual appearance.

The commonalities between lab diamonds and mined diamonds go well beyond the surface. Lab cultured diamonds are just as hard, which means they’re also just as durable. Diamonds are the hardest natural material known to mankind. They rate at ‘10’ (the highest possible score) on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. That level of hardness doesn’t only apply to earth mined version, lab-cultured diamonds are just as hard—and sometimes even harder than earth-grown versions. This extreme hardness helps protect diamonds from scratches, gouges, and scrapes.

Third, “Lab diamonds don’t have to be transported as far.” Mined Diamonds are produced in countries that span the globe, but so are lab created diamonds. In both cases, shipping over long distances is often required. Individually, diamonds are extremely light, so shipping isn’t a major expense. It can’t be a significant contributor to the cost difference between laboratory diamonds and natural diamonds.

Lab Created Diamonds Are So Much Less Expensive Than Earth Mined Diamonds

The Actual Causes for a Cost Gap Between Lab Grown & Earth Grown Diamonds

Market manipulation is the biggest cause of the pricing gap between mined diamonds and lab diamonds. Diamonds can command big dollars, only because they’re viewed as rare and exclusive. What would happen if the cost of diamonds fell all the way down to 25 cents per carat tomorrow and prices stayed there from now on? Would Kim Kardashian continue to flaunt big diamonds? Would red carpet runways in Hollywood be peppered with them? No. The wealthy want to wear them as a symbol of wealth and success. The non-wealthy want to wear them to give the appearance of wealth and success. That cycle of demand can only continue as long as prices remain high.

The mined diamond industry understands this concept better than anyone. They control prices, and keep them high, by carefully regulating supply, so it doesn’t outpace demand. If supply is always kept low enough, there’s a simulated rarity, and that’s all that’s required to keep profit margins high and keep the cycle of diamond demand churning.

Competition is a key ingredient if you want lower prices. Without competition, people often have to pay whatever is asked. Generally speaking, the more competition there is in a particular space, the lower ultimate product costs will be. The mined diamond industry isn’t very competitive really. De Beers has operated as a monopoly in the past. It’s reported, that De Beers pressured, coerced, intimidated, and threatened mining operations to ‘play ball’…or get targeted. By shutting them out of important business circles and other tactics, they were able to gain ownership of nearly every significant mine and provided nearly all of the diamond supply for many years. Today, De Beers and the mined diamond industry seem to operate more like a cartel that works together to fix prices.

Labs, on the other hand, are typically real competitors—rather than a united front. The more competition that joins the industry to create diamonds in the lab, the more downward pressure there will on man-made diamond prices. This is one of the biggest reasons that De Beers started competing in the man-made diamond space last year. They hope to become significant competition to bring down prices, and hopefully, drive some players out of business. They also hope to make the product look ‘cheap’ and undesirable to push prices way down over time and ruin the market. They hope that potential buyers will equate inexpensive lab-grown diamonds with Cubic Zirconia.

Technological advances naturally make labs more efficient, bringing down production costs, and also driving down retail costs for lab-grown diamonds. Mined diamonds, on the other hand, have much less impact from regular technological advances. Even if a breakthrough reduced production costs significantly for mined diamonds, they wouldn’t want retail prices to come down in proportion, for the psychology of diamond sales and demand that was mentioned earlier. Decreased production costs, would simply mean that their profit margin goes up.

Different types of customers are served by each type of diamond. People are wanting to use a material object (like a diamond) as a status symbol (class differentiation) are going to be most interested in mined diamonds. They can (and want to) pay a lot for the gem, because the high price tag is what makes them feel a cut above others that can’t afford similar gems.

Buyers of lab created diamonds are people that are value conscious. They love the look, and feeling, of a diamond wedding ring but aren’t planning to get one for some combination of the following reasons.

  • They can’t afford to spend what a diamond ring would cost
  • They aren’t willing to spend what a diamond ring would cost
  • They’re looking for a more environmentally friendly ring
  • They’re looking for a more socially responsible ring

Will Prices Continue to Fall Until Lab Diamonds are as Cheap as CZ?

I’ve heard this type of speculations before, but I doubt that will ever happen. Why? There are several reasons:

  1. Because these lab diamonds are REAL diamonds. Won’t fall to $25 per carat if mined diamonds are $5,000 per carat.
  2. Because they’re expensive to cut. Since diamonds are so incredibly hard, it takes special equipment, and well-trained cutters, to cut them properly. That adds a fixed cost. CZ is much softer and easier to cut. The process is often done by machine.
  3. The manufacturing process is highly technical, specialized staff members are costly, and the machinery used to make the gems is incredibly expensive.

The earth-grown diamond industry would love, and encourage, the general concern that man-made diamonds are going to continue to fall in value until they’re as inexpensive as CZ. That narrative helps the earth grown industry defend the high price tag on their goods, and also helps them attack the lab-made market as ‘worthless fakes’. Because man-made diamonds are visually identical, equally durable, but much less expensive, they seem to try every angle and take every opportunity to spin information and attack the lab-grown side of the market.

The Savings from Lab Grown Diamonds Go Well Beyond Dollars & Cents

So far, we’ve talked about the reasons that financial costs are so much lower for lab-grown diamonds than they are for earth grown, but there are other areas of savings that are even more significant—and important.

The Environmental Costs and Savings

Mining can take a heavy toll on the landscape and waterways where excavation is focused. Soil erosion and water pollution are common side effects in many areas. Those ripple effects of mining impact both plant and animal life. They can be devastating at times, leaving some heavily mined areas nearly impossible to inhabit.

Laboratories that grow diamonds certainly aren’t carbon footprint free, but their environmental impact is much lighter than mining companies can offer—especially in unregulated, or under-regulated, areas.

The Social Costs and Savings

You’ve probably heard the terms ‘Blood Diamond’ and ‘Conflict Diamond.’ Both of those terms refer to the violence that takes place when militant groups take control of diamond mines and then use the profit from their diamonds to arm themselves. These groups use their weapons to commit acts of genocide or to challenge governments.

They also will typically compel people to mine the diamonds as forced slave labor. If the can’t, or won’t, produce the diamonds that are demanded of them, they could be beaten, raped, mutilated in some way, or murdered. They become an example for the others that keep the rest of the group working hard out of fear.

In reality, Blood Diamonds turn the stomach of most people around the globe. While steps have been taken to help keep Blood Diamonds out of our market, international groups, including the United Nations have found that they’re continually entering the market anyway. Motivated criminals break rules and smuggle their diamonds across borders to side-step international efforts to ban them. That means that essentially any jewelry shop across the country, or around the world, could have blood diamonds on display, without the shopkeeper’s knowledge. In fact, they might swear up and down that NONE of their diamonds are blood diamonds. The simple truth is that they don’t know that—they can’t know it.

One way to ENSURE that you aren’t purchasing a blood diamond, is to buy a lab created version. You avoid unintentionally funding wars and bloodshed when you buy lab-grown, but you also eliminate the risk that slave labor was used to bring your diamond to market. It just doesn’t seem right to have the symbol of your love, brought to you through an act of hate.

Only a small portion of all mined diamonds are blood diamonds, but even a small portion is a great deal too much. Lab diamonds are SO MUCH cheaper than earth-grown diamonds financially, socially, and environmentally!

Related Questions:

Are Lab Created Diamonds Worth Anything?

Lab created diamonds do have financial value. They aren’t cleaver look-alikes, they’re actual diamonds. The lab version is an alternative for people on a tight budget, who don’t want to sacrifice beauty or durability. When sold used, they’re discounted to roughly the same extent as natural diamonds.

Are GIA Certified Lab Created Diamonds More Expensive?

A GIA certified diamond might cost slightly more than a non-certified version, but not always. Jewelers often absorb the cost. Certification provides added confidence to potential buyers. IGI and other international organizations also provide reputable certification services and could be less expensive.

Can You Tell the Difference Between a Lab Diamond and a Natural Diamond?

Lab created diamonds and mined diamonds are so identical, that no one can tell them apart based on look or feel. They look identical and have the same relative hardness. Distinguishing the two would require specialized testing equipment that certification laboratories like GIA and IGI have access to.

Related Posts:

The ‘Cons’ of Lab Grown Diamonds: The 7 BIG Lies We’re Told

6 Ways You Can Tell a Lab Grown Diamond From a Natural One

Are Lab Created Diamonds Ethical?

Diamond Created From Pet or Human Ashes: The Cost & Process

Diamond Created From Pet or Human Ashes: The Cost & Process

When people or pets are cremated, ashes (Cabon) are left behind. Since modern technology allows people to make diamonds from carbon, so the next obvious question is…

Can diamonds be created from the ashes of loved ones or pets? Lab created diamonds can be made from the ashes (Carbon) of cremated family members or pets. They can even be made from hair clippings alone! The end result, is a real diamond, of almost any shape or color, that has all the hardness and beauty of a mined diamond. It’s symbolic, beautiful, and practical.

Creating these diamonds is a process that ultimately leads to a completely custom made gem. We’ll explain the price and process in the remainder of this article.

Man Made Diamonds which are created from the cremated remains of loved ones are referred to as ‘Cremation Diamonds’ or ‘Memorial Diamonds.’ This field isn’t very large yet, because the technology that allows us to make diamonds that look and function exactly like earth mined diamonds hasn’t been around for very long. Today lab created diamond and earth-grown diamond are identical twins, both on the surface, and at a molecular level.

The process of creating a memorial diamond begins with cremation. Ideally, the cremation is done over a very controlled fire that is kept at a lower temperature. A fire that’s too hot produces less usable carbon. Not much is needed in order to grow a diamond, but it’s helpful to maximize the ashes that you have available anyway. You typically need at least ½ cup of ash in order to produce a diamond. More ash allows for a larger diamond. Diamond growing attempts aren’t always successful on the first attempt. Since that first effort doesn’t always pan out, having extra ash available ensures that the lab will have enough to start the process over again if needed.

Next, you’ll select your provider and pay a deposit ranging from 25% to 50%. They’ll send you a container that you can put your ashes, or hair, in. You’ll then seal the container up and mail back. Excellent logistics are critical for companies in this industry. They have to make sure to carefully track every submission throughout the process. They often use RFID or barcodes to provide tight tracking and positive identification of the remains that have been entrusted to their care.

The laboratory will use the HPHT (High Pressure, High Temperature) manufacturing process to grow your diamond. The technology simulates the conditions that earth-grown diamonds experience when forming far beneath the earth’s surface. It can take 3 to 10 months to complete each diamond depending on the size and other details of the gem you’ve ordered, and whether the first attempt forms properly, or they have to make a second attempt.

Diamonds can be made in any almost any of the common, or fancy, shapes or colors that you’d see in any jewelry store. The shape and color that you choose may depend on how you plan to use the diamond (a ring, necklace, earrings, or pendant for example), the personality of the person you’re memorializing, and your personal preference.

In deciding color, you might consider the favorite color of your loved one. Is there a color that they wore frequently? Did they always buy cars of a certain color? Does a particular color represent their personality well? Maybe their feminine nature is represented best by pink, or their strength and rugged disposition draws you toward blue. Colorless is also a popular choice if you don’t feel a strong pull toward a particular color.

How Are Memorial Diamonds Used

To remember a loved one. Lab created diamonds, made from the ashes of a person or pet that you loved, allows you to keep them with you through a beautiful sparkling reminder of just how special they were to you. Through this process, you create an heirloom with enormous sentimental value that can be enjoyed, treasured, and passed down through generations.

For permanency. Bodies break down and waste away, but diamonds are the hardest natural material on the planet. They can endure indefinitely.

To celebrate a life well lived. Graveyards can be depressing for some, especially when they aren’t maintained well. A diamond is anything but dingy and depressing—it ‘comes alive’ with beautiful shimmers that can lift spirits.

To save time and money. Though you have good intentions, you probably don’t get by cemeteries much to visit loved ones that have been laid to rest there. A diamond ring or necklace could be a constant reminder that’s always with you. No need to drive across town to ‘pay your respects’ when you carry that person with you all the time in diamond form. Funerals can get expensive! The average funeral runs $10,0000 to $20,000. Memorial diamonds can be a much more affordable alternative.

For portability. If you bury a loved one, or pet, and then have to move away from the area, because of work or other obligations, you won’t be able to visit the gravesite very frequently. A diamond goes wherever you go, so you won’t have the same potential for forced separation.

As a tribute to the living. Use hair clippings from your child, your spouse, or a dear friend, to create a real diamond that has extra significance. You could even use your hair, to create a diamond for a promise ring, engagement ring, or wedding ring that couldn’t be more unique, personal, or meaningful. It doesn’t take much. A diamond can be created with the clippings from one or two haircuts for most people.

Memorial Diamond Made From the Hair of Your Child, Friend, or Another Loved One

Tiny Laser inscriptions can be made along the edge of the girdle if you’d like to add a meaningful message. The girdle is the part of the diamond that’s widest. The inscription is made along the thin edge that wraps around that widest part of the ring. The message can be deeply personal because it isn’t visible to everyone that sees your diamond during everyday wear. Lasers can inscribe with such incredibly small lettering, that you have to view the message through a 15x to 20x magnification before you can read it.

How Much Do Memorial Diamonds Cost?

These lab-created diamonds can be manufactured in a variety of sizes that typically range from .25 carat to 1 carat (sometimes slightly more). Diamonds smaller than .25 carats are rarely offered, because they aren’t cost effective to manufacture.

The exact cost will vary based on the size, cut, and color that you’re seeking, but generally speaking, prices will range from approximately $1,200 to $18,000. A 1 carat colorless (or near colorless) diamond will run roughly $6,500 to $18,000 depending on who you buy it through and specifications of the diamond you order.

Again, the average funeral ranges from $10,000 to $20,000. A casket alone is typically well over $2,000. In light of such high costs associated with burial, a cremation diamond can actually be a much more cost-effective method of handling a deceased loved one. Cremation, arranged through a funeral home, in the US typically runs $1,500 to $3,000. With the added cost of a .5 carat diamond, for example, your total cost could conceivably be $5,000—just HALF of what even a basic funeral would cost. What’s even better, is that you’re able to carry a piece of that loved one with you all the time, rather than only visiting on rare occasion.

Cremation Diamond Ring Made From the Ashes of a Deceased Relative or Pet

The costs to cremate pets is even more affordable. Cremation for dogs, for example, typically runs just $50 to $150. Your total costs for a .5 carat diamond made from the ashes would likely be around $2,500. Dogs obviously aren’t the only animals that can be used to create diamonds. Cremation for most common household pets would fall in that same ($50 to $150) cost range. The larger the animal, the more expensive cremation services will likely be. A horse, for instance, would cost a lot more than a Parrot. In fact, cremating a 1,000-pound horse would probably cost between $600 and $1,000.

Some people have used taxidermy to keep the memory of their pet companions alive, but that process can be expensive, it doesn’t work as well with all types of animals, and can feel creepy at times for family members and friends.

Both financially and emotionally, cremation diamonds, made from the ashes of those we love, make a great deal of sense. They allow a beautiful life, to continue bringing beauty to your world.

Related Questions:

Are Cremation Diamonds Real?

Cremation Diamonds are exactly like diamonds that are mined from the earth. They have the same composition and can come in all the same shapes and colors. They’re also visually indistinguishable, just as hard, and equally durable. Since these diamonds are lab-made, they’re always conflict-free gems.

How Much Ash is Created When a Person is Cremated?

The average adult produces about 5 pounds of total ash after cremation. The total volume depends on the size of the individual. Adults can range between 3 pounds of ash, to a little more than 9 pounds. Even the smallest yield of 3 pounds is plenty of material to manufacture a diamond, in most cases.

Just How Colorless are Cremation Diamonds?

Colorless, and near-colorless, Cremation diamonds typically fall in the D through J range of color. Toward the J side of that range, diamonds take on a yellowish hue. The more colorless a diamond is, the more it generally costs. Memorial diamonds are also available in a wide range of fancy colors.

Related Posts:

How to Insure a Lab Grown Diamond Ring | The Cost & Process

Man Made Diamond Hardness: Will it Scratch, Chip, or Break?

Man Made Diamond Eternity Bands: Meaning, Price, & Options

The Resale Value of Lab Created Diamonds | How to Get More $

The Resale Value of Lab Created Diamonds | How to Get More $

What if you need to resell your lab created diamond engagement ring at some point? Will you be able to recover all the money that was originally spent on the ring?

What is the resale value of lab-created diamonds? Used diamond rings almost always sell at a discount. That’s true of lab-created diamonds, but it’s also true of earth-grown diamonds. Where and how you sell, are the biggest factors in how much you’ll be able to recover. It’s typical to see 30% to 70% discounts, on average, when diamond rings are resold.

In the remainder of this post, we’ll talk about why you shouldn’t worry much about resale value, how you can get the most for your ring if you need to sell, and how lab created diamonds differ from mined diamonds for resale price.

Why You Almost Always Take a Loss on Used Diamonds.

I’m sure you’ve heard that the value of a new car plummets the moment you drive it off the lot. Decided to resell your brand new car as soon as you got home, you would typically have to sell it for at least 10% less than your purchase price. Why? Because anyone would rather buy brand new from a car lot than used from a stranger if the price is the same or similar. Risk is another major factor. When you buy a used car, you often fear that someone could be trying to dump a problematic car on someone new. Your 10% discount makes it worthwhile for a buyer to choose your car instead of heading to the dealer

The same factors are at play when you’re trying to sell a used diamond. Fear and skepticism are, understandably, a much bigger deal when you’re re-selling a diamond, than they are when you’re re-selling a car. Most people feel much more competent and comfortable evaluating the quality of a vehicle, than they do with evaluating a diamond to ensure it’s genuineness and quality. There are dishonest people that would sell glass or simulants as diamonds if they could.

Because of all this, even if you just purchased your diamond moments ago, you would have to resell at a discount. If the discount isn’t significant enough, most buyers would rather purchase directly from a retail location, where they have greater trust.

Diamonds typically lose between 30% and 70% of their value when resold. That’s quite a drop! It’s also a really big potential range of value. Your actual discount percentage is going to depend on the channel that you use to resell. You’ll find different types of buyers and a variety of fee structures in each potential area. We’ll get into specifics on the various sales channels that are available, and we’ll highlight the channels that tend to provide the highest resale value below.

Resale Value for Lab Cultured Diamonds vs Mined Diamonds

For decades now, the diamond industry has propagated the false belief that diamonds, the kind you might see on a typical engagement ring, are some sort of investment. The insinuation is that they will hold their value and even grow over time. Reality is a rude awakening, for anyone that had that expectation. Your natural diamond ring will fall up to 70% in value—just like lab created diamonds do. It has nothing to do with where the diamond was found or created, it’s just a reality of the product. Diamonds are commodities.

Some might argue that earth-grown diamonds are better ‘investments’ than man-made diamonds because they resell at higher prices. While it’s true that earth-grown diamonds will typically resell for more, they also cost a lot more to buy new. Take a look at the following table and tell me which ring performed best:

Diamond TypeOriginal PriceResale Price
Earth Grown Diamond$6,000$3,000
Lab Grown Diamond$3,000$1,500

Was the earth grown diamond a better investment in the above example? Of course not, both diamonds lost 50% of their value, so the resale amount really can be a misleading focus.

Some diamond peddlers claim that lab-grown diamonds can’t be resold, and have no value once they’ve been purchased. It’s a ridiculous statement, but it’s a piece of fiction that really is being promoted. Think of how absurd the statement is. Lab grown diamonds are DIAMOND. They don’t just look like diamond (and they do), they aren’t just hard like diamond (and they are), they are literally the same thing as a diamond that was mined from the earth.

There is no visible difference between lab-grown diamond and earth-grown diamond. Both are made of Carbon. Both are equally hard, durable, and beautiful. In fact, they’re visibly indistinguishable, even for trained professionals. It takes extremely expensive equipment, which few people and businesses have, to positively identify a diamond as man-made. There are less expensive machines that can determine the Diamond ‘Type’ (or grouping) that a particular stone belongs to, but the process isn’t conclusive, because both earth-grown diamonds and man-made diamonds are spread across multiple ‘types.’

So they’re identical, but also 30% to 50% less expensive on average. Why wouldn’t every bride want that? Believe it or not, there are some reasons.

  • Fear of judgment
  • Diamonds help them feel a sense of personal worth (elitism)

Some may love the sense of wonder that comes with the notion of a diamond being formed deep in the earth over millions of years. What’s perhaps even MORE amazing, is that man can now create that same substance with equal aesthetics and durability (an identical stone with all the same key properties) in 6 to 10 weeks!

We’re told that earth-grown diamonds are valuable because they’re rare. Are they? It’s estimated that 147 million carats of diamonds were excavated from the earth in 2018 alone. It’s believed that worldwide diamond reserves are at currently at 1.2 billion carats! With so many diamonds available, where’s the ‘scarcity’ coming from? The diamond supply is carefully controlled to keep prices artificially high—supply can’t be allowed to outpace demand. Why?

  • Diamonds couldn’t help insecure people chase a feeling of self-worth if they weren’t expensive
  • There has to be a price tag that is aligned with a sense of elitism
  • Obscene profit margins on each stone sold

According to publicly released records from DeBeers from 2015, their average cost per carat for mined diamonds was just $104. Imagine the margins based on the retail price of your average diamond!

So if diamonds aren’t actually very rare, why not just buy the version of the gem that’s created in labs, where buyers can be sure there are no blood diamond issues related to slave labor, child labor, or the arming of brutal guerilla forces? Well, actually, that shift is happening. People are becoming aware of lab created diamonds, and are embracing them in mass. In fact, in 2010, only 9% of people had awareness of what lab diamonds were. Today, that awareness has climbed all the way to 51%

The trend is especially pronounced among the younger generation (today’s college students and young working professionals). A research group recently noticed a real jump in interest and acceptance of lab-cultured diamonds for engagement rings. It’s a trend that seems to be here to stay.

Since lab-grown diamonds are just like earth-grown diamonds, but much less expensive—and since awareness, and interest, is rapidly expanding—how could there be no buyers and no resale value? Of course, they have value, and of course, there are buyers for used lab-grown diamonds. Someone that’s in the market anyway, might jump at the chance to save an extra 30% by going the previously owned route.

Why Resale Value Shouldn’t be a Very Big Concern

Jewelry professionals often talk about the resale value of diamond rings. We’ve already discussed the reality of resale, but at an even higher level, when you’re getting married, why would you be concerned with future resale? Yes, it’s possible to get a ‘No’ response when you propose, but most couples have talked about marriage well before the proposal happens. The proposal is more of a formality than a gamble.

Resale value should be even less of a concern for your wedding ring. If you’re happily married, why would you ever want to resell your ring? If things aren’t going well and you end up divorcing, the resale value of your ring is going to be least of your concerns. Who the proceeds of the ring sale go to, could be a point of contention anyway.

My point is, that when you get married, you expect things to go well. You anticipate being together for the rest of your lives. If that’s what you expect, then resale is irrelevant, because you would never want to sell a ring with so much sentimental value.

3 Things That Determine How Much You’ll Be Able to Recover

  • Where to Sell:

One of the largest determining factors of how much you’re able to recover from the resale of a diamond ring, is where you sell it. Here are a handful of possibilities. We’ll talk about the merits of each below.

  • Jeweler
  • Pawn shop
  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Local classified sites & offline bulletin boards

Jewelers

Jewelers could be a good place to resell a lab-cultured diamond ring, except for a couple of common issues.

  • Many are still resistant to lab cultured diamonds (they don’t want them to cannibalize mined diamond sales).
  • They have the ability to buy from their suppliers at great prices, with favorable payment terms. That makes them less likely to want to part with cash upfront to buy your diamond.

In order to sell to a jeweler, you would likely have to provide an especially deep discount, to provide motivation for them to part with cash upfront. For that reason, jewelers probably won’t lead to your highest possible sale price.

Pawn Shops

Pawn shops get their inventory when collateralized loans aren’t repaid, or when they buy valuable items at low prices from desperate people. They can’t pay top dollar for used items and still make a profit. Their customers shop them because they hope to find items at big discounts. In order to supply those, they need to acquire items at REALLY big discounts—allowing for both an attractive retail price tag and a healthy profit margin.

Pawn Shops should be avoided if you’re trying to maximize your selling price (minimize your loss) when reselling.

eBay

The really great thing about eBay, is that you can get your lab diamond in front of a lot of prospective buyers very quickly. In general, bigger audiences can lead to a faster sale and more money. The downside to eBay, is that the fees to sell and collect funds from the transaction come to about 13% in total. In addition, buyers are still going to be looking for a bargain in most cases, meaning that you’ll need to give them a compelling discount from the retail value of the ring. You also have to arrange for shipping. Since rings are small and light, your main cost will be the cost of adequate package insurance.

Another potential challenge with eBay is gaining buyer trust. There’s a lot of fraud, misleading, and misrepresentation that happens on the site. Ebay does their best to control it, but it’s still prevalent. People may sell a ‘Man Made Diamond’ that’s actually a Cubic Zirconia or a piece of glass for example. Buyers rely heavily on seller feedback ratings from past transactions to quickly determine if they can trust the seller and the accuracy of their product descriptions.

If you’ve done very little buying and selling on eBay in the past, the total quantity of your reviews will be very low. If you have 0-25 reviews, potential buyers will look at your listing with extra skepticism. Dishonest sellers can game the system to get a small pool of reviews as a buyer. That feedback builds trust that they use to rip off a buyer. Buyers stand a much better chance of getting the item they think they’re buying when they buy from sellers that have hundreds or thousands of transactions with positive feedback.

If you don’t have a strong base of positive reviews already built up, you could sell through a friend or family member who does, or use an eBay consignment company that sells on eBay. Just be aware, that the consignment company has significant fees too. Their fees combined with eBay’s fees would be a deal killer. You wouldn’t walk away with much compared to alternative avenues for selling.

Craigslist

Craigslist connects you with local buyers that are looking to save money by buying used. It’s an easy way to let your community, and surrounding areas, know that you have a diamond ring for sale. While you’re still going to have to sell at a discount, the good news is that Craigslist doesn’t charge any fees for connecting parties for the transaction.

You need to exercise some caution when using sites like Craigslist. Scammers prey upon unaware sellers constantly. There are a few common tricks that they play to entice you to part with your item and/or your money. These scams almost always start with some story about how they’re temporarily out of town and need you to ship the item to them, or hand it off to someone that stops by on their behalf. Only sell in person, and only take cash. If you follow those two rules, without exception, it will be hard for scammers to take advantage of you. If you feel unsafe meeting people at your home for the exchange, ask them to meet inside a Barnes and Noble, or some other public place where you feel safer and more comfortable.

Local classified sites & offline bulletin boards

This last category is very similar to Craigslist, because you’re promoting to a very local audience. Offline bulletin boards is a low tech approach. You’ve probably seen bulletin board at the front of libraries, grocery stores, and a number of other facilities. All you need to do is design a flyer and post it. That’s typically free. It may amount to nothing, but it could also catch the attention of someone that might be very interested in your ring. Here again, you have no real costs for seeking a buyer this way, so it’s certainly worth trying as one approach among several.

Finally, there are local classified sites in almost every community. In my community, there’s a classifieds site that’s run by a local news station. It’s heavily used in my area. In fact, Craigslist is rarely used (by comparison) where I live because this other site is easier to navigate and more trusted. Don’t overlook sites like that where you are. You may need to ask around to find out what’s available if you aren’t already familiar.

Of all the selling methods outlined above, the approach that’s going to yield the highest net cash, is likely to be a person-to-person, local, sale through Craigslist, word of mouth, a bulletin board, or a local classifieds site.

The place that you choose to sell isn’t the only element that matters. It’s also the quality of your listing.

  • What’s the tone of your ad?
  • How clear and complete is your information?
  • How many images did you include?
  • How is the lighting?

Spending time to get great images and perfect your description, can really pay off. Your lab grown diamond ring can sell much faster, and for more money when you present it well.

  1. Color/Quality Factors

The 4 main drivers of value for diamonds are often referred to as the 4 C’s (color, cut, clarity, & carat-weight). The better your ring does in each area, the more value it has when you go to resell. Here’s a high-level overview of what you should be aware of in each of those key areas:

Color

Diamonds at the extremes of color are most valuable; completely colorless or vivid coloring. Of the two, diamonds with vivid coloring are often most valuable, though not all colors are equally valuable. Some colors are much more rare in nature, and even much harder to create in a lab.

Pink diamonds are an example of a color that’s in great demand and much more expensive than colorless diamonds that are similar in all other ways.

Color is an area where you can sometimes make a strategic tradeoff to get more of what’s more important to you. By accepting a diamond that’s slightly yellowed, for example, you can afford to get a larger diamond.

Cut

Cut is a critically important factor, because it influences the positioning of inclusions and the overall way that a diamond gathers, and uses, light to create sparkle. A high-quality cut has exceptional symmetry. It has facets that are perfectly sized and positioned to maximize the collection, refraction, and reflection of light.

Clarity

Clarity primarily has to do with the presence and positioning of inclusions in the diamond. Some inclusions are visible and obvious without magnification. Others are considered ‘Eye Clean’ because inclusions can’t be seen without searching for them under magnification. Clarity is also important to the brilliance of a diamond, because a diamond with major inclusions, or inclusions in the wrong places, can block a great deal of light from entering the ring. Without proper light flow, the ring won’t sparkle much—it ends up looking dull and lifeless.

  1. Whether you have a lab certification/grading for the diamond

Certification reports from respected grading laboratories like GIA and IGI provide a great deal of information and confidence regarding the condition and characteristics(the color and quality factors mentioned above) of a particular diamond. It essentially substantiates that the diamond is the value that you claim it to be. Grading reports often come with new rings, so you may already have one. If not, and you decide to order a new report, it’s typically going to run $75 to $100. Just be aware, that you’ll probably need to have the diamond removed from your ring before sending it in.

How You Can Minimize Your Risk of Loss BEFORE You Buy

  1. Buy used. If you buy a used diamond ring, someone else has had to absorb the initial loss of value. If you purchase a $3,000 ring for $1,500, for example, and you need to resell in the future, chances are that you can sell for $1,500 (or close to that price). Even if you had to drop the price to $1,200, you would only realize a $300 loss, while the original owner last $1,500.
  2. Buy a new ring at bargain prices. The closer you can get to wholesale prices, the less you stand to lose if you have to resell in the future. Some liquidators buy inventory from companies that have too much on hand or go bankrupt. They can sometimes provide attractive rings at real discounts.
  3. Buy a very low-cost lab-grown diamond ring. The lower the cost, the lower the less you have to lose. Here’s a beautiful three-stone lab-grown diamond ring, for example. It’s IGI certified, and comes in at less than $300— perfect for those on a tight budget!
  4. Buy a simulant ring first. Instead of proposing with a more costly diamond ring, go buy a beautiful diamond simulant to propose with. You’ll be able to get a gorgeous ring for less than $100 pretty easily. Once you get the ‘Yes’ you’re hoping for, go shopping together to buy that forever ring. This approach has two HUGE benefits. It eliminates most of the risk of having to resell. It also allows your Finance to pick the ring that she likes best. If she’s going to wear it for the rest of her life, you want her to love it!

Cubic Zirconia (CZ) is the most widely used diamond simulant. Moissanite is a more durable simulant that’s also a bit more expensive. A fancy colored version of either of those options, or Morganite, could be considered if you want a center stone with some color.

If you use the suggestions that we’ve covered in this post, you’ll be able to eliminate the need to resell your lab created diamond engagement ring. If you ultimately do find yourself in an unforeseen position where you do need to resell, however, you’ll be able to recoup as much of your original purchase price as possible.

Related Questions:

1. Will Lab Made Diamonds Pass a Diamond Tester?

Results from lower-end diamond testing devices aren’t always conclusive. In order to know for sure, you’ll typically need a very expensive machine that GIA created specifically for this purpose. The chances of a man-made diamond getting past those specialized machines undetected are incredibly low.

2. What do Lab Diamonds cost in comparison to Real Diamonds?

Lab diamonds are just as ‘real’ as earth-grown diamonds, however, their prices do differ substantially. A quality one-carat earth grown diamond that’s colorless (or nearly colorless), with good cut and clarity, would cost roughly $5,000. A very matching lab created diamond would like cost about $2,800.

3. How Long will Lab Created Diamond Rings Last?

Lab created diamonds are actual diamonds. In reality, they’re just a hard as the earth mined version. As the saying goes, ‘Diamonds are Forever.’ Because of their incredible scratch resistance, lab created diamonds can last through generations and still look as beautiful as the day you first put it on.

Related Posts:

The Cost of Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds

The ‘Cons’ of Lab Grown Diamonds: The 7 BIG Lies We’re Told

Buying Diamonds on Craigslist | How to Stay Safe & Be Savvy

How to Insure a Lab Grown Diamond Ring | The Cost & Process

How to Insure a Lab Grown Diamond Ring | The Cost & Process

Losing your diamond ring to damage or theft can be heartbreaking because of the sentimental value, but replacing it can also be a serious financial burden if it’s not properly insured.

Can lab grown diamonds be insured? Lab grown diamond rings can be insured. Some advocates for mined diamonds claim that lab versions are hard to get coverage for, but in reality, the application process, likelihood of acceptance , policy terms, and proportional costs are identical to what you would experience for an earth grown diamond.

Where can you get a policy? Which coverage is best? How much do they cost? Keep reading! We’ll cover all those questions and many others below.

The Purpose of Insurance

Imagine picking your ring up off a tile floor after it just slipped out of your hands. You examine it and quickly realize that the diamond is cracked. You would likely feel two kinds of loss. First, you feel deep sadness because of the sentimental value that the diamond held. Second, you have a sickening realization of what it’s going to cost to replace the now broken diamond.

If this just happened to you, would you be able to come up with the money needed to replace your diamond? Would it require major sacrifice for your family, or just be a minor inconvenience?

Often, when a sad situation like this occurs, the funds aren’t available to immediately replace the damaged diamond, so they have to borrow money, go without a ring for a while, or wear an inexpensive replacement until they can afford to get the ring fixed.

Insurance can help with the financial side of a loss like this. If you have coverage for your ring, you could file a claim, and collect enough money from the policy for the loss to help you replace it right away, without putting a big burden on your family’s finances.

You’ve probably heard about how famously hard diamonds are. That hardness helps them to resist scratching, but it doesn’t make them indestructible.

My sister’s diamond hit her tile floor several years ago and cracked. She couldn’t afford to replace the diamond on her own at the time, but fortunately, she had an insurance policy on the ring. The insurance company removed the financial burden from my sister, by ultimately giving her the value of her ring, in cash.

In addition to the risk of breaking or chipping, diamonds can get lost or stolen.

This past Sunday, a neighbor told me about a time, years ago, when he was walking through the LAX (Los Angeles) airport, on his way to a connecting flight. His eyes looked down toward the floor for a moment as he walked, and something on the floor ahead caught his attention. He bent down and found a diamond on the floor. He said is was more than 1 carat, and had apparently just slipped out of its setting. Imagine how sick the poor woman that lost it must have felt when she looked at her ring and realized that her diamond was missing (probably somewhere in LAX).

My wife’s diamond ring was stolen from our home, while a window replacement company was switching out windows in our home years ago. She had been working around the house that day, so she wasn’t wearing it while the workers were there. When later went to put it on, she found it was missing. We didn’t have insurance on the ring, and it would have hurt us financially at the time to have to replace it with something similar. Fortunately, we were able to get the diamond ring back. We confronted the owner of the company, and the owner confronted his installers. Fortunately one of those employees came clean and coughed up the ring. We didn’t have insurance on the ring, so heartbreak would have been compounded by a sense of real financial loss at the time.

Insurance is there to help protect us against losses that we can’t afford to absorb, or those that we don’t want to have to absorb in a worst case scenario. By paying a reasonable premium each month, we can avoid a bit lump sum financial hit. We need insurance against catastrophic health problems, but don’t need insurance on a compact disk purchase. If a new CD gets scratched, I’ll just buy a new copy. Similarly, I might need insurance on a $2,200 diamond ring, but wouldn’t bother if I purchased an $80 Cubic Zirconia ring (unless the band was made of precious metals that made it quite expensive.

If you want to protect yourself from the financial impact of a damaged or stolen diamond ring that needs to be replaced, you essentially have two options.

  1. Jewelry Insurance (of some sort)
  2. Self-insure

Jewelry Insurance

You can get a limited amount of coverage through your existing homeowners, or renters, policy. Typically, those will max out at $1,000 to $1,500. That’s better than nothing, but it would still leave you with a loss on many diamond rings.

If you need a higher coverage amount, you’ll want to get a specific jewelry rider (or endorsement). Again, quality coverage is easy to obtain for both earth grown diamonds and lab grown diamonds.

The coverage process typically starts with a jewelry appraisal to determine value. You don’t always have to have one done, but it’s a good idea for both parties. If you estimate the value of the ring too high, you’ll pay higher premiums than you need to (no sense in that). If it’s too low, you may not end up with enough coverage to cover the cost of a replacement ring.

A second approach could be comparison shopping. Once you find several rings that seem to be extremely similar to yours, you can average their costs to get a reasonable replacement value that you can base your coverage level on. This method is inexpensive and fast, but can be a lot less accurate. A formal appraisal provides confidence to potential future buyers, it’s also the value estimate that will most effectively factor in the value of the unique characteristics of your particular gem.

Self-Insure

Self insurance means that you’re prepared for cover the financial impact of a worst case scenario. I doubt that Melinda Gates (wife of Bill Gates) would bother with insurance for most small jewelry items. If she even owns a $3,000 ring, insuring it would be a waste of time and money, because they can easily spend another $3,000 if the ring is lost or damaged, without giving it a second thought.

You don’t have to be Bill or Melinda Gates in order to self insure your ring. You really just have to be able to cover the financial impact of loss or damage, without having it feel like a serious financial crisis. What if you put $3,000 into a Certificate of Deposit. That money is specifically set aside as ring insurance. If you lose or damage your ring, you can pull the money out to repair or replace the ring without causing any real financial impact, because the money is already set aside. If you never lose or damage your ring (a likely scenario), you can eventually pull that money out and use it for something else. If you have the money available, you’ll save money with an approach like this.

If you don’t have $3,000 laying around, you can still pursue the same path, by setting aside some money each month, call it $200/year ($16.44/mo for example). That money (and the interest it draws), builds over time, until you have several thousand dollars available eventually. If you like the sound of contributing to savings over time, you may want to give some thought to what you’ll do in the short term if a problem should arise with your ring before you’ve built up significant savings. You really should have a back up plan before beginning to self insure this way.

Think about it, there are three common scenarios that could take place. Thinking through each one, can help you determine the best way to protect your lab diamond. For each of the examples that follow, imagine that we’re talking about protecting a $3,000 ring that could insure for $60/year.

Imagine that you damage your lab grown diamond engagement ring in 12 years. If you had insurance coverage, you would have paid $720 in premiums, but, the good news, is that you get a new diamond (you saved more than $2,200).

On the other hand, imagine that you damage the ring in 12 years, and don’t have insurance. You’ve saved $720 worth of premiums through the years, but replacing the ring could potentially run more than $3,000 (depending on where prices for lab grown diamonds are at that point). You could be out more than $2,200 (above and beyond what you would have otherwise paid for insurance).

One final scenario—imagine that you never lose or damage your ring, and you end up wearing it for 40 years. Damage-free diamond ownership over multiple decades is a pretty common experience. You would end up saving $2,400 in total, over that period of time (assuming rates stay constant). Assuming that you invest that extra money through the years, the total savings, with interest, over four decades could be much more significant!

Recognizing both the opportunity and risk, you need to decide whether it’s better for you to insure your ring for peace of mind, or save some money for a rainy day and self-insure.

Don’t Believe the Misinformation

I’ve unfortunately seen misleading information online, that claims lab cultured diamonds are difficult, or impossible, to insure. Maybe you’ve seen similar comments. That’s simply not true—but don’t take my word for it, call your insurance agent and tell him that you’d like to insure your lab grown diamond ring. You’ll find that they view it the exact same way they view a mined diamond ring. They aren’t harder or more expensive to insure.

Why are insurance companies happy to ensure man made diamond rings? Accepting a fair premium in order to insure an asset with real value, is what insurance companies love to do! Lab created diamonds are diamonds in every sense of the word—they just have different origins. They’re just as hard, durable, and beautiful as an earth mined version. In fact, they’re visually indistinguishable. Even more importantly, they’re being insured for an amount that’s in line with their actual value.

The Cost of Good Coverage

Jewelry insurance is priced based on the total insured value of the item. It will generally run 1% to 2% of the total insured amount ($1 – $2 per $100 of insured value) as an annual premium. For example, a $3,000 ring would cost roughly $30 to $60 per year (or $2.50 to $5.00 per month) to insure.

You may be able to decrease your insurance premiums by using a safe to store your ring when it’s not being worn. You can also keep important documentation, like receipts and grading reports in the safe if you’d like. Ask your insurer if they offer this type of discount, or any others.

If you ultimately decide to get coverage, do it as soon as possible. It would be sad to damage your ring before you policy goes into effect. You can’t legally,or ethically, get coverage on a ring that’s already damaged. If you have active hobbies where your ring could potentially get damaged, and you don’t like the thought of taking it off and leaving it behind, you should seriously consider getting coverage. It’s really inexpensive, and could provide a lot of peace of mind.

The Cost & Process of Insuring a Lab Grown Diamond Ring

Policy cost isn’t the only important factor to consider. Here are some additional items that need consideration:

  • The type of solution offered by the policy
    • REPLACEMENT VALUE: Insurance pays the actual amount required to replace the item with a ‘similar’ new item.
    • AGREED VALUE: Insurance pays a flat contracted amount (which may be higher or lower than the present actual value).
    • ACTUAL CASH VALUE (ACV): Insurance pays what the ring is currently worth, minus depreciation.
  • Whether there’s a deductible (and how much?).
  • What the exclusions are (loss, theft, loss of stone only, etc).
  • What forms of damage are covered? Which kinds aren’t covered?
  • How does the policy address the issue of inflation?
  • What kind of proof, or evidence, they’ll need if the ring is stolen, or lost, at some point.
  • Ease of working with the insurance company (responsiveness, speed of processing, etc).
  • If there are restrictions on where you can take your ring for repair
  • Whether you’re excluded from doing specific types of alterations.
  • Are there geographic limitations to coverage (i.e. no coverage when traveling abroad)?

Simply calling and asking insurers about these issues will help you to find someone that has the right combination of price and features. Online reviews can also help you to get more comfortable with the quality of a particular insurer than you may be considering.

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Choosing the Right Policy Type

Insurance is almost never a one size fits all proposition. Individuals like different types of policies for different reasons. Here’s a little more information on the policy types that are most common.

  1. Replacement Value:

Pros: The goal of jewelry insurance, is to make you whole again following a loss—not to MAKE lose profitable. Replacement Value insurance, helps ensure that you’ll be able to replace your lost or damaged ring.

Cons: You may not fully agree regarding how alike the insurance company’s ‘similar’ ring actually is.

2. Agreed Value:

Pros: There’s certainty regarding the amount that the insurance company will pay for a covered loss.

Cons: If the value of lab made diamonds rises rapidly, the contracted value on the policy may not be enough to cover replacement.

3. Actual Cash Value:

Pros: This policy is the one insurance companies often prefer to sell. It may be cheapest and easiest to obtain.

Cons: Every year that you own your ring, the payout value of your insurance policy will get lower, because the depreciation percentage will continually grow higher.

In general, Replacement Value policies tend to provide the best benefit. Having said that, please be sure to read all contract language regarding exclusions before committing to a given policy long-term.

Review and Update Your Policy Regularly

Insurance isn’t something you set up once, create automatic payments for, and then never have to think about again. You’ll want to confirm the value of your ring at least every 3 to 5 years. If prices have gone up, you may need to increase the amount of coverage you have for the ring. Your overall annual costs will go up as you raise the amount that the ring is insured for, but not by much.

On the other hand, if the average retail value of man made diamond rings like yours goes down in value, you won’t need as much coverage in order to replace the ring, so you can decrease the amount of your coverage to more accurately reflect the true replacement value. Adjusting downward will save you a little money going forward.

If you’d like, you can certainly have your ring appraised every few years to confirm its value, but that’s probably not necessary. The cost of regular appraisals would add up over the years, so getting online to find ‘comps’ (comparable lab grown diamond rings) that are very similar to your ring, should be sufficient for getting a good ballpark feel for present value.

Finally, you’ll want to learn about any warranty offered from the retailer that you purchased your ring through. Be cautious, store warranties sound nice on the surface, but they’re typically worth very little in reality. They generally have exclusions and serious limitations that make them difficult to use. Most commonly, long term store warranties only really cover manufacturer defects, which isn’t very valuable coverage. If you have a warranty like that on your ring, I’d suggest that you get actual insurance coverage for the ring anyway, if you can afford to.

How to Protect your Ring

It’s a good idea to have your diamond graded by one of the major labs like GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or IGI (International Gemological Institute), if that hasn’t already been done. Those labs provide you with a report that describes your diamond in great detail. That detail helps ensure that you don’t get short changed, if you ever have to file a claim with your insurance provider.

A grading report from GIA for lab grown diamonds, won’t be exactly like their reports for mined diamonds. They address fewer details related to color in those reports. For that simple reason, an IGI report might be more valuable. It prepares grading reports for lab grown diamonds that are identical to the reports they prepare for mined diamonds.

As additional precautions, keep a record of any work done on the ring (repairs, adjustments, and enhancements). Take pictures of the ring that clearly show every detail of the ring, and keep them in a safe place in case of future loss or damage. That will help the insurance company to verify that your policy limits are reasonable. It will also provide pictures you can provide to the police if your ring is ever stolen.

You can also consider having a micro inscription lasered onto the girdle (the outer perimeter) of your diamond. That inscription could consist of a word, a combination of words, or an image. The inscriptions are so small, that they’re invisible to the naked eye. It typically takes a 15X to 30X magnification in order for the inscription to be noticed and readable.

If your diamond ring is ever stolen, the girdle inscription can become an easy means of positive identification for your diamond. Some jewelers and many grading laboratories have the ability to inscribe the girdle for you, using a micro-laser beam.

It’s also a good idea to keep the receipts for your ring in a safe place. Those receipts help to prove where you purchased your diamond and what you originally paid for it. That documentation might be handy if you ever want to resell the ring in the future. It might also prove useful to have the receipt if you file an insurance claim at some point down the road.

What to do if You Experience Loss or Damage

If you ever experience a covered loss and need to file a claim, you’ll typically start by either reaching out to your insurance agent directly, for help with filing a claim, or you’ll contact a claim center by phone to begin the process.

Remember how I mentioned my little sister’s cracked diamond early in the article? She decided not to replace it with another diamond. Instead, she purchased a simulant (a Cubic Zirconia) for less than $100. She then put the rest of the insurance money toward paying down debt. It’s great that she had that option.

You’ll likely have this same opportunity if your insurance company pays you for a damaged, or stolen, lab grown diamond at some point in the future. You can replace the diamond with a comparable lab created version, or you can try a much less expensive stone, like Moissanite, and then apply the rest of the money toward other things.

Related Questions:

Can lab created diamonds get scratched?

Lab created diamonds are just as hard as earth grown diamonds—and sometimes even harder. That extreme hardness, provides them with scratch resistance. Diamond is very unlikely to scratch, but it technically is still possible. A diamond, for example, is capable of scratching another diamond.

Do Lab created diamonds get cloudy?

Lab created diamonds won’t take on a cloudy or hazy appearance over time. Like any ring, they can, however, collect dirt and oils that dull their appearance. Washing your diamond with mild dish-soap, warm water, and a soft toothbrush should clean away build up and restore it to its original brilliance.

Do lab grown diamonds hold their value?

Any ring bought at retail, will resell, as a used item, for less than its original purchase price. Lab grown diamonds should resell at a discount percentage that’s similar to earth grown diamonds. They ultimately resell for less than earth grown, simply because they cost so much less to purchase new.

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