The Wild West
They are some dangerous corners in the world for potential fancy color diamond buyers. Canada and London are just two of them.
Let me tell you a story about what had happened to a client of mine from Toronto, Canada. Obviously, I won’t mention his name or the company name I will be talking about. He purchased a pair of fancy vivid green diamonds, 0.60 carats each, for a total of USD60,000, over the Web. Naturally, he was proud to tell me what a bargain he had found.
“Did you get a GIA cert for both of the stones, which states they are fancy vivid green?” I asked. He answered “of course! I got two certificates from EGL, which read fancy vivid green.” Red warning lights began flashing in my eyes. I told him to “request a GIA cert for both the stones, or ask them for your money back!” That was exactly where the problems began.
Pure green diamond color scale
Don’t get me wrong. I stand behind online diamond purchases with every bone in my body. The deals one can find online are often far better than those offered in your local jewelry store. In fact, that is how my business runs and how I make a living. Only, the customer has to ALWAYS be 100% positive that he made a good buy without any reason to doubt his purchase.
“Stay firm,” I told my client. “For a purchase of such unbelievable stones with a vivid green color, you have to be sure the diamonds are everything this company told you they are.” Two weeks had passed and he finally received the two GIA certificates he was waiting for. They stated the color was a brownish greenish yellow stone with an SI2 clarity grade. I valued his stones at roughly USD5-6,000 each, total. Naturally, he was really upset. He got on the phone with the company and tried to get his money back. The seller understood his frustration and offered him an Argyle pink diamond for an additional USD40,000 after trading in his two stones. I was speechless. He wanted to hire a local lawyer from Toronto, whom he was familiar with, priced at $500 per hour, with an initial charge of 15,000 dollars upfront. That meant before he was even starting the fight, he would be in the minus.
I came up with an alternative idea. There are a number of third party websites online where people can go for a completely unbiased opinion on diamond purchases, and one I wanted to talk about is Pricescope.
Pricescope is one of these forums that has managed to attract an enormous amount of respect for their professionalism and reliability. Both the staff and the forum participants who write on a regular basis contribute exceptional knowledge on diamonds and gemstones for free to anyone who simply asks. My company is also discussed there all the time, usually for the better. Regardless, the third party contributions there are always someone’s honest opinion.
I told this man to advise this vendor that he was not interested in entering into any legal dispute. Instead, he had decided to publish the whole story with the name of seller and their website, the copy of both sets of certificates, and their response, to Pricescope.
That scared the hell out of the seller right away. He was told there was no need to include Pricescope and that if he agreed not to publish a thing they would provide him with a full refund. You see an Internet company works like a large house with glass windows. You can see in from all sides at any point in time. Anyone can come and visit whether they are a potential customer or a competitor snooping around. Also, one doesn’t need to look far in order to see what other people have to say about the company. Everything is in clear view and negative review simply cannot be ignored.
The end of the story was good. This man’s USD60,000 was returned and the rubbish they had sold him as investment pieces was returned. The moral of the story is to utilize the tools you all have at your fingertips. Look around Google, Pricescope, or anywhere else before making your purchase. If the vendor is reputed and offers a no satisfaction money back guarantee, only then should you consider stepping in to the store.
Leibish Polnauer, President and Founder of Leibish & Co. Fancy Color Diamonds