When your customers come to you, trusting that you will deliver the stunning pieces their hearts desire, starting with the very finest raw materials is a must. But how do you know that what you are buying is the “very finest”? How do you avoid scruples-deficient suppliers trying to sell you subpar stones instead of the high-quality loose and melee diamonds you expect?
Here are a few expert diamond buying tips to help you protect your investments and your reputation:
Be aware (or beware) of buying treated
No. The problem comes when suppliers try to pass these off as natural, untreated stones. The truth is that these “enhanced” diamonds are altered from their natural form and artificially improved. This can be done through laser drilling, fracture filling, or HPHT (high-pressure high-temperature).
These treatments affect not only the appearance of the diamond but also its price. A natural, untreated diamond will always be the “gold standard” when it comes to these valuable stones. Inquire about any treatments the loose or melee diamonds have undergone -- ideally the answer should be, “None.” This also applies to colored stones like rubies and sapphires.
Examine the diamonds before they are set
As a jeweler, you love settings. They can help you maximize the beauty of diamonds and the price point of your pieces. For example, a smaller, shallower stone can appear larger and deeper with the right pronged setting. As long as the customer is aware of the carat weight and cut, and is satisfied with the color and clarity, this is a win-win.
And this is exactly why you want to see stones loose when possible. With a trusted supplier, you can feel confident purchasing high quality melee, but when you are buying “significant” stones, it is best if you can examine them without settings. Metal work can obscure size, shape, and even flaws like cracks and fractures.
Certify -- and Verify
When purchasing large loose stones, sources should always include a GIA report, certifying the stone’s “rating” in terms of the 4Cs. Further, suppliers that trade in conflict-free diamonds should also provide Kimberley Process papers. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for these documents to be forged or faked. To ensure that you really are receiving the quality you need for the price you paid and that the diamonds are sourced ethically, it is worth it to check with the agency issuing the certifications.
The single most important tip is this: treat your diamond supplier like it’s a teenage boy coming to the door to pick up your daughter for a date (or vice versa!). Why? Because you will protect your child to the utmost of your ability. You will check out that teenager, ask around, verify that he’s not trouble. Then you can start to build trust. Once you’ve worked to establish that relationship, you can feel better the next time he rings the doorbell.
It’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison, we know, but your business is your “child.” Don’t place your trust blindly in a supplier; check, re-check, verify, and then work exclusively with the most trustworthy sources. And keep checking and re-checking periodically to ensure they’re still delivering the quality, value, and reassurance you need. K Rosengart works each and every day to build those relationships and keep trust at the forefront of our business.