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How To Avoid Bait & Switch Lab-Diamond Scams...

As the old saying goes, if something's too good to be true then it usually is...

Given the increasing glut of effectively worthless lab-diamonds in the marketplace (see our blog on this here) then it comes as no surprise to the expert team at We Love Diamonds that certain nefarious individuals and providers are now trying every trick in the book to pass them off as authentic diamonds to unsuspecting victims. This is a key reason why, to protect both us and our customers, we have invested heavily in the right equipment to be able to identify them. We'd like to relay below a quite insidious scam that we've recently experienced to demonstrate the risk you could potentially face by not dealing direct with a major, credible and market-leading diamond jewellery provider like We Love Diamonds. You may be surprised to learn that most "jewellers" on the high-street or online are merely shopkeepers who know little about diamonds and diamond jewellery (but who often seem to know a lot about high-pressure sales techniques!). This is because many retailers don't actually design, repair or do anything substantial with diamonds - they just buy them in from wholesalers and then add between 300% and 1,000% mark-up to it. This is why so few of them have the equipment, skills or experience to identify fake, synthetic lab diamonds or even detect other fake diamonds like cubic zirconia or moissanite. Thankfully, we are able to do so with 100% accuracy each time every time. It's actually a sorry state of affairs that we've had to even invest in this equipment but we've done so because we're aware that the potential does exist for someone to buy a piece of authentic diamond jewellery from us and then later attempt to return it having replaced the real, GIA graded diamonds with lab-made fakes. Although it's very rare, we do have to be able to detect this type of fraud.

A couple of weeks ago, a lovely gentleman visited us at our jewellery workshop, design and distribution centre having been recommended to us by a longstanding customer of ours. He had been fed an elaborate story by a vendor who was offering him the chance to buy a 3.3 carat diamond ring with excellent colour and clarity set on 18 carat gold for £18,000. The vendor had kindly given him the ring on approval and had even supplied him with a professional valuation from a so-called leading valuation firm in Manchester stating the items value as a mouth-watering £85,000. Naturally this was a very tempting offer but, in scam terms, this was the "bait". Without going into personal details, the scams "hook" was that the gentleman had a very genuine and indeed noble reason for wanting to buy the diamond ring that didn't actually involve profit. The vendor seems to have preyed on his motivations. Thankfully however, the gentleman was smart enough to have doubts about the proposition and had been trying - without success - to find a high-street jeweller who could test whether the diamond was authentic or whether it was a fake lab-diamond. He was actually shocked that no-one had the equipment to do so but once he spoke to us he was then relieved that we could fully do so (and without any charge or obligation as we're always happy to help customers). Anyway, he took the time to drive over an hour to visit us which we appreciated. Alarm bells immediately rang for us with this ring before we even tested it on our equipment... Firstly, the fact that he'd just been given a diamond ring with an alleged £85k value by the vendor (all on approval with no collateral, deposit or anything of that nature) was something we felt was very suspicious in itself. Secondly, even at first glance, while the ring that the diamond was set on was indeed gold, it was a very poor and basic setting for what was supposed to be such a high-quality diamond. One simply wouldn't put that diamond on that ring. At least we wouldn't anyway as we are all about luxury diamond jewellery albeit at fair, wholesale prices. Thirdly, the professional valuation that had been provided to him was massively inflated. We're talking a ridiculous valuation and one which, we suspect, was provided as part of the "convincer" element of this scam i.e. to not just it make it such an enticing offer. Even if the diamond was what it was supposed to be (and factoring in a higher retail-based price for insurance purposes), we'd have likely valued it at around £35,000. In terms of the valuer, we think there are three potential scenarios. They may have examined and valued an entirely different diamond. Alternatively they may just be inept and clearly not have the equipment to test the diamonds authenticity (which is very poor practice for a so-called expert). Alternatively, they may have been involved in the scam (although we believe that to be unlikely). We hope it was simply the first scenario and that they were as much a victim of this scam as our client could have been. Given the above, we were definitely dubious about this diamonds authenticity and we almost knew the answer before we tested it on our specialist equipment. Unsurprisingly to us, it was indeed a fake, lab-diamond. The results weren't even open to interpretation either, it was instantly flagged by our machine as a lab diamond in the strongest possible sense. As our customer kindly explained in his Trustpilot review above (see it in full here), as disappointed as he was, we had actually saved him from a world of pain and he was relieved to have effectively dodged a bullet. Clearly, he had no intention of then purchasing the item. Our concern then turned to him in terms of him returning the diamond to the vendor because we felt there were two possible scams in play here. Firstly, he could have purchased the diamond for £18,000 and probably been none the wiser until he ever came to sell it. The vendor would have been laughing all the way to the bank. The second potential scam though was equally if not more insidious and would have been called "the switch" in terms of the con. We were concerned that he could have returned the ring, told the vendor it had been identified as a lab-diamond and then the vendor could have attempted to claim that when it was handed to him it was indeed an authentic diamond with a professional valuation of £85k. This means he could have displayed faux-outrage and tried to accuse our client of having switched the diamond (and, in turn, attempted to extort money from him). We gave him advice in terms of the need for him to now back away slowly from this vendor and insulate himself from being further scammed. Thankfully, everything seems to have turned out safely and we were delighted to have been able to help the gentleman and we will be more than happy to supply him with an authentic, high-end diamond ring in the future at an incredible price. We're very thankful he took the time to leave us such a nice review.

Our advice to our readers is this. If in doubt then, usually, there is no doubt. Walk away (or at least reach out to an expert like us - we'll be happy to help). Don't buy lab-diamonds in the first place because you are essentially feeding what we feel is a very murky industry and one which is fundamentally predicated on passing-off products as something else. The whole lab-diamond market is, in our opinion, a complete scam and one which operates in plain sight. Always deal direct and choose a trusted provider like We Love Diamonds who are also members of the NAJ (see here). If you've got any concerns or are worried about any diamond jewellery purchase that you may be about to make then do feel free to get in touch with us on 0800 987 7100 for a friendly chat. We'll be delighted to help you in any way we can. Do feel free to browse our latest diamond jewellery collection here.

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