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A missing diamond certification


#1

Hi all,

My client is in this interesting situation and I am wondering if
anyone has any input about it.

About eight years ago she purchased a diamond from a local retailer
that was said to be 1.56 cts, D color, Ideal cut, VS1 clarity and
GIA certified. Now she is thinking of resetting the stone (how I got
involved) and at this time she realized that she never did get the
cert that was meant to come with the diamond.

Contacting the retailer she was told they did not have it but
offered to send the stone in and get it for her and that this would
take 3-4 weeks. Six weeks later she contacted them and was told that
the diamond was at GIA and they’d get back to her. A few days later
they told her the diamond never was sent to GIA because it was an AGS
stone–that it had an AGS inscription on it and they were sending
the diamond to AGS to get the cert for her. (If there was
inscription, wouldn’t they be able to order the cert?)

Weeks later, when the diamond came back it was certified as VS2, not
VS1 and not Ideal cut–altho the color and weight were the same. The
retailer then offered her $2000 to make up for the difference
between what they had claimed at the sale and the newly acquired
cert.

Obviously the retailer has not behaved in a very professional manner
and this has caused the client to be very distrustful of them from
every point of view. What she would most like is to trade her stone
for a larger one using her credit as an upgrade. I guess her real
question is, how much can she really get from them? And I really do
not know how to advise her.

Okay wise ones, what do you think?

Yours most sincerely,
Janet Alix


#2
Weeks later, when the diamond came back it was certified as VS2,
not VS1 and not Ideal cut--altho the color and weight were the
same. The retailer then offered her $2000 to make up for the
difference between what they had claimed at the sale and the newly
acquired cert. 

Did AGS regrade the stone and issue a new certificate, or did they
simply supply a copy of the original one? That’s important. If this
was a new, regraded cert, then it’s quite possible the retailer did
no wrong, since grading is somewhat subjective, and even with AGS,
it’s possigle for consecutive gradings to disagree by one grade,
especially when years apart. If this is the case, it may be debatable
whether the jeweler is liable for a difference in value, if they,
and their original supplier, acted in good faith on the original

On the other hand, if they supplied a copy of the old cert, and it
disagreed with what the stone was sold as, then you have a choice of
clerical / inadvertant error by the supplier, the jeweler or his/her
sales person, or you have deliberate misrepresentation, or something
in between. Either way, they should then bear responsibility for
their error. Since it’s been quite a number of years, it’s
encouraging to see that they are not quibbling about offering to pay
the difference in value. Whether it’s enough, or fair, is another
whole question, and what your customer should do with this situation
is yet another.

Good luck.
Peter


#3

Wow. That was nice of the retailer to offer her $2000 eight years
after the sale!

If the diamond had an inscription on it, the original cert could
have been obtained without sending anything in except for maybe a
check for about $50. If it got re-certed, a clarity grade off is
possible, it doesn’t feel good, but I’ve heard of it. Esp w/ GIA
certs going back about 8 years.

As far as the miss communication goes, it sounds like it was just
that. Somebody who didn’t know could have answered the phone…
Retailers have a lot of plates to spin and sometimes one falls. A
check for $2000 seems like a really, really, really, good deal for
her considering she’s been happy with her diamond for eight years.
She should have jumped on it. I wouldn’t (couldn’t) have done that
esp. with the slower diamond sales now-a-days…

Stanley Bright


#4

I think eight years is a long time. I think without a sales receipt
documenting the statement of grade it could be that the customer’s
memory is in error (a receipt wasn’t mentioned, so maybe discount
this part if it does exist). The retailer apparently dropped the ball
on the regrade but hey stuff happens. I think the retailer’s $2000
offer shows good intentions that she might not get from some others.

how much can she really get from them? 

This phrasing reeeeeeeally troubles me. It changes the whole
complexion of the situation. First its reset then when there’s money
to be made its upsize. 2K wouldn’t buy a meaningful increase in size
anyway.

If this was plopped in my lap I would most likely walk away. If I
gave specific advice I could become liable if the customer acted on
it and didn’t like the outcome, I could become the next target, no
thanks.

Discretion is the better part of valor.


#5

The offending store should Exchange it for the diamond that she was
supposed to be purchasing at their expense. If the price has come
down, she gets a refund. If higher they eat it. She should also
report them to the BBB in the location of the business so this
happens to no other clients, the JVC and other professional
organizations they claim to be members of should also get a memo
making them aware of the company’s unethical practises…after all it
is quite unethical from any perspective to represent a diamond as
being of x quality and certified by x authority then to not have the
certificate enclosed with the purchase…that would have made me think
twice at the beginning of the incident.

Being a good consumer is part of dealing with jewelry stores…
independent jewelers are far more ethical on the whole than any
chain out there- considering chains rarely make their wares, and just
order them from a Stuller or Hoover and Strong catalogues, or some
rep for a line that offers them some incentive and then have some
subcontractor set the stones for them… I find chain jewerly stores
really distatsteful, and out to rip-off the public (recently I went
into a Jared Gallery just to see what they had, never been in one
before, I asked the salesperson about some sapphires, and some
tourmaliones and was told that the sapphires were “high quality blue
tanzanite"s and the tourmalines were " natural Chezchoslovakian
alexandrites”…crazy! They had no clue what stone clssifications
were, or what they had to sell, and they couldn’t define for me “
gold d’ore” that they were selling. The place makes lots of cash
though…I guess consumers are just uneducated, or gullible!. ), same
goes for unethical jewelers- they should all be excommunicated from
the industry!

rer


#6
Six weeks later she contacted them and was told that the diamond
was at GIA and they'd get back to her. A few days later they told
her the diamond never was sent to GIA 

Well, Janet, that’s about all you need to know, right there. And,
yes, a recognized diamond dealer can send in the number to either
GIA or AGS and get the cert without physically sending the stone.
Plus I got an AGS certified stone that had a GIA number lasered on it
once - ended up with both certs.

February Rap on the VS1 stone is $15,300, VS2 is $12,300. Do the
arithmetic (x 1.56) and you get a $4680 difference. Add another
thousand or more for being not ideal and not GIA.

She wuz robbed, but not really because presumably nobody twisted her
arm… And of course the above is 100% Rap.

not behaved in a very professional manner 

Yea, they’re liars, as your first quote shows. What to do? What’s
going to happen is entirely up to your client. What I would probably
do in your shoes is try to make her my client. Forget the retailer -
get an offer on her original stone and try to cut a deal for a
larger one. $2000 is around 10% of Rap, not a big deal, really. It’s
the tax on the original sale…

My personal feeling is that the retailers are sharks at best and
retarded people at worst - dealing with them or suing them is going
to be unsatisfactory and likely not profitable for your client -
legal fees, caveat emptor and all that. Just my own feeling.

As usual, what is larger? She has a 1.56 - a two carat is just
discernably larger. That’s $23,800 Rap for D/VS1 (x 2…), which
makes the $2,000 or suing for double that pale in comparison… A
three carater will REALLY be larger and that’s a 100k stone in the
same quality… She needs to get her priorities straight…


#7

Hi Gang,

I feel sorry for the person who didn’t get the cert with the
stone/item.

But it seems to me that the customer has to take some of the
responsibility. If a normal person buys a high priced item & is told
that it comes with some paper work, other than the receipt,
specifying the size & quality etc. of the item & doesn’t ask for the
paper work the fault can’t all be with the seller.

If I purchased a high ticket item & it came with a cert, title,
deed, etc, I’d be sure to take it with me or at the very least get a
date when it will be delivered. Then if it isn’t in my hands by the
specified date I’d be all over the seller until I had it or my money
back.

It’s about time people learn to take some responsibility for their
own actions. The other guy isn’t always at fault.

Dave


#8

OK, here is MY take on what MAY have happened:

10 years ago, a diamond dealer buys a 1.56 carat diamond complete
with an AGS certificate stating its clarity grade as VS-2. Being an
experienced dealer, he realizes that this particular stone has not
only an incredible cut, but is an excellent candidate for a VS-1
grade.

(Everyone here does know that diamond clarity grades are 100%
subjective, with no set or easily discernible cut off’s, don’t they?)

This dealer sends the diamond off to GIA, where, Viola!, it is given
the grade of VS-1 that the dealer felt it deserved, along with the
’ideal cut’ designation.

(in addition, there REALLY is no concrete rule for what range of
measurements EXACTLY qualifies as ideal cut, especially between two
different certifying companies.)

The diamond dealer discards the AGS certificate, which in his mind
has been shown to be inaccurate by the GIA graders, and sells the
diamond (with GIA cert) to the retailer. The retailer then sells the
stone to the customer as the grade found on the GIA report. Their
only mistake is not providing the certificate to the customer at the
time of purchase.

(of course, since none of us were there at the time, and 8 years is
a LONG time, we have no idea whether or not the certificate was given
to the customer at the point of sale & stuck in an envelope that
ended up in the trash or with the warrantee for the toaster oven that
was thrown away 5 years ago.)

My point is that I am appalled that, with the meager (read -
NONEXISTENT) evidence provided, that there are members of this forum
that feel that the original customer has been grievously wronged by a
retailer painted as a villain or a cretin.

Did I mention that diamond clarity grading is an art, not an
absolute science?

Also, I can’t believe that there are people here who feel that a
comment made by a random person answering the telephone at any
retail establishment carries the same authority as speaking to a
manager and can make the store into a liar. I don’t care where you
work, there is usually some percentage of the staff who feel
compelled to give a quick answer over the phone that they BELIEVE to
be the truth, but may only be what they (erroneously) remember
hearing. Is this good? Of course not! Can we pretend that it DOESN’T
happen? Only at our own risk. An uninformed or hurried employee
giving out wrong or ‘near-wrong’ in a non-sales situation
should not be an indictment of the honesty of the operation. If you
are asking an question that has an important answer (like, “where is
my 1.56 carat diamond?”) you need to make sure that you are speaking
to someone with the authority and knowledge to accurately provide you
with that We can pretend that everyone working in retail
should be a well-trained, highly-intelligent, completely
knowledgeable individual, but the truth is, those people are less
likely than ever to consider a career as a low-paid clerk in a retail
store.

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers


#9

Lee,

I don’t disagree with all you say BUT:

This dealer sends the diamond off to GIA, where, Viola!, it is
given the grade of VS-1 that the dealer felt it deserved, along
with the 'ideal cut' designation. 

The GIA did NOT offer cut grades on diamonds until just recently.
Eight years ago they absolutely, positively did not. Additionally, in
the new GIA cut grading they don’t call anything ideal cut. They
simply rate how good the cut is according to a scale they’ve
developed.

And also:

addition, there REALLY is no concrete rule for what range of
measurements EXACTLY qualifies as ideal cut, especially between
two different certifying companies.) 

Well, in my book, yes there is. Tolkowsky developed the cut that is
now, and has been for years, known as the ideal cut. When the term
American Ideal Cut is used it very specifically refers to his
measurements and they are quite specific. The fact that a lot of
dealers want to try to sell you stuff that they call ideal but has
nowhere near the right measurements is a problem, however the AGS
could never be accused of that, and any decent gemologist who spends
the time to get the right measurements knows when they really are
ideal.

Your other comments however are quite to the point. No one here
really knows what happened eight years ago.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com


#10
that a comment made by a random person answering the telephone at
any retail establishment carries the same authority as speaking to
a manager and can make the store into a liar. 

You bet, Lee. I’m a least one who said it, and I’ll say it again.
Telling a customer their $15k if not $25k diamond is in the lab when
it’s not is just not acceptable, especially over 6 weeks. The
employee who said it is. I know a store right now who doesn’t know
which end is up,and they’re on the verge of bankrupcy, and laying
off employees. They also were embezzled some 5 years ago because
their security system is a joke… And it still is, after being
embezzled - didn’t even close the door after the cows left.

It’s not retail, it’s jewelry. It’s not a convenience store - we’re
talking about the responsibilty for very valuable customer property,
and no, we don’t get to pretend it’s OK to give them false
about their own property. All good stores have
accounting systems for knowing just where everything is at any given
time - some on paper, some computerized, and an employee who doesn’t
consult that system before dispensing about customer
goods just doesn’t belong there. Period.

Sorry to be hardnosed, but it’s not, as usual, rocket science. We
are entrusted with your property, we CAN be trusted with your
property, we DOhave that system, we DO know just exactly where your
property is. That is common (and best) practice. Pretending that
someone gets a passfor any reason just doesn’t cut it. It’s their
job to know. Take your business to someone who has a business.

Lee is correct in his comments about the art of grading, but I know
no diamond dealer who would ethically do what he suggests - could be
honest confusion 8 years ago. My issue isn’t with that at all, it’s
the treatment of the customer and the mis-handling of her stone that
raises a huge redflag in my mind. Ethical jewelry stores just don’t
act like that.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#11

Thank you to all of you who chimed in on the issue of my client and
her missing cert. There is an interesting variety of opinions and if
it was a cut and dried kind of thing I wouldn’t be wasting
everybody’s time asking about it. I’ll let you know what ends up
happening.

Janet Alix


#12

So I went back and looked at the original posting on this because I
hadn’t paid close attention to it to begin with. There are a whole
series of issues that are being thrown around here however let’s
start with this one:

The retailer then offered her $2000 to make up for the difference
between what they had claimed at the sale and the newly acquired
cert. 

This is actually an acceptable settlement in terms of the value
difference on the diamond. I just went on Blue Nile and D VS1 stones
ran from about $15,000-21,000. D VS2 stones ran from about
$13,000-$19,000. This doesn’t fully take into account the issue of
the cut grade but it is fairly reasonable.

About eight years ago she purchased a diamond from a local
retailer that was said to be 1.56 cts, D color, Ideal cut, VS1
clarity and GIA certified. 

GIA did not do cut grades eight years ago. If someone said it was
ideal cut, it was either the jeweler (rightly or wrongly), the
original supplier to the jeweler (rightly or wrongly) or AGS
(although if they now say it isn’t then it probably wasn’t them).
However let’s remember something here. This transaction took place
EIGHT years ago. When she was looking at diamonds, were some of them
ideal cut and some of them not? People tend to remember the things
they want to. I have customers who come in to pick up their repairs
(left just weeks ago) who swear to me that they paid for the repair
up front (or left a deposit) even though I have a standard policy of
NEVER taking payment up front on a repair job. We’ll go back and
forth on this repeatedly. “I’m sure I gave you my credit card.” “No,
I never take money up front on repairs.” “But I’m positive I did.”
“Fine pay me now and bring me the other receipt and I’ll refund your
money.” Never had a single one come back in with a receipt. But from
listening to them, you would think that it had absolutely, positively
happened. And this is not because they’re trying to rip me off. Many
of these are regular customers. They just simply remember things
differently than they happened.

I also have customers walk in who hand me old pieces and they swear
to me that the jeweler told them X, Y and Z about them. Well
sometimes I can believe that because I know (especially in the past)
how some retailers are, but some of it you just know is the customer
imagining it. My point is people don’t remember things the way they
happened all the time. Heck, I don’t remember things that happened 8
weeks ago, much less 8 years!

Weeks later, when the diamond came back it was certified as VS2,
not VS1 

Having a stone graded one clarity grade by one grader and one off by
another is fairly common. It is a subjective decision and it is the
reason that GIA (at least they used to) has more than one grader look
at each stone. As for the ideal/not ideal issue that is a little
harder to fathom given the AGS as a grading source. However, go back
to my statement above that perhaps, just perhaps, she was looking at
multiple stones and some were ideal cut and some weren’t and maybe
she didn’t pick the ideal one, she just remembers that they discussed
ideal cuts.

There is also the possibility, as related on this group awhile ago
by me, of similar stones getting their certs mixed up simply by
accident.

Obviously the retailer has not behaved in a very professional
manner and this has caused the client to be very distrustful of
them from every point of view. 

Yes whatever transpired here could be looked at as unprofessional
and it certainly irritated the customer and she has the right to be
mad (not because of what she may have remembered rightly or wrongly
but because they gave her a run around on where her diamond was at
the time) however (sorry John D) stuff does happen even in the best
run shops. It just does. Stones pop out and get lost. Things get
misplaced. Jewelers don’t always get their jobs done on time. Labs
don’t always get it right. Orders don’t always get written up right.
Employees say different things than their employers would. Heck, I
had a business partner for over 20 years and I couldn’t even get her
to say the right things to the customers. I would spend half my time
apologizing or correcting things to the customers. (She made some
awful pretty jewelry though.) I don’t know anyone who has never, ever
made a mistake in this business or made every single customer happy.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com