One story everyone has heard is the tale of a jeweler “switching” a diamond, but let me set the record straight on this. Although there areseveral instances of this having happened, for every one jeweler that is both dumb and dishonest enough to even think of doing something like that, there are 5,000 others who wouldn’t ever dream of such a thing. Not only is it dishonest, it’s unethical, and a good way to wreck a business. Trust is the single most important thing that a retail jeweler can establish. Without that, he’s a dead duck. It takes literally years to build trust in a community, but trust can be completely ruined in a moment, and the best way to do that almost instantly is to have word get out that you’ve done something as unbelievably idiotic as switching a diamond on a customer. When you consider the kind of monetary investment (never mind time and effort) that goes into building a business, why would anyone put that in jeopardy for a few hundred, or even a few thousand dollars?

But what about a dishonest employee, or perhaps a nefarious goldsmith or diamond setter? It’s true that your ring will most likely be handled by more than one person, but jewelers don’t put people in the position of having responsibility for their (or their customer’s) merchandise before carefully checking credentials. Most of the time, “bench” jewelers (goldsmiths, diamond setters, etc.) are people with whom a store has worked with for many years, and have earned the store owner’s trust a thousand times over. Besides, routine procedure in most jewelry stores is to recheck items (especially diamond rings) if they have been out of the jeweler’s possession at all, and always before they are returned to a customer. In the jewelry industry, if you get caught switching a stone, you’re finished, and it will be time for a new career, because chances are you’ll never work in the trade again.

Now having said that, it makes sense for anyone who owns a diamond engagement ring to become familiar with their diamond. Diamonds are like fingerprints— there are no two exactly alike, and any jeweler will be happy to instruct you as to how to easily identify your diamond. All you need is to learn how to use a jeweler’s loupe (magnifier), and be shown at least oneidentifying characteristic of your diamond. It’s good peace of mind, and your cost is exactly zero.

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Joe Brandt is a local resident, and President of J.L. Brandt Company, offering diversified fine jewelry advisory services to the general public. Questions or comments may be directed to JLBCO@hotmail.com. All inquiries are confidential, and responses are provided as a public service.