Tips on How to Avoid Buying a Fake Engagement Ring
For many people the first experience they have with buying diamonds is when they are shopping for an engagement ring. And although this is an exciting time, it is important to buy an engagement ring based on certain factors as opposed to making a quick, emotional purchase. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t what happens.
Often times people will first shop based on price and once they have found a few choices in their price range, they will choose an engagement ring by how it looks. It is mostly personal taste that dictates the purchase decision. However, there are certain factors that should be considered when buying an engagement ring that will help to ensure that the diamond is real and not a fake.
The Four C’s
All diamonds are classified according to four criterions–The Four C’s as they have become known. They are clarity, cut, color, and carat. Understanding what each of these factors are and how they impact the value of a diamond is extremely important so let’s take a closer look at each one.
This refers to tiny flaws, also known as inclusions, which occur during the diamond making process. These flaws can range from air bubbles to cracks and even scratches. All diamonds are graded based on these flaws and it is important to learn where the diamond falls on the clarity grading scale. This scale is as follows:
- FL — Flawless
- IF — Internally Flawless
- VVSI — Very Very Slightly Included
- VSI — Very Slightly Included
- SI — Slightly Included
- I — Included
The higher the diamond is on the clarity grading scale the more expensive the ring will be. Therefore, many people will opt to buy an engagement ring with some flaws in exchange for a cheaper price. This is also the first indication that a diamond may be fake. If a jeweler is selling a “flawless” engagement ring for a cheap price, the chances are good that it is a fake.
Many people mistakenly assume that the cut of the diamond is the shape. The cut however, refers to how much light the diamond will reflect.
The more light reflected, the better the diamond is. The less light reflected the poorer quality it is.
Similar to clarity, cut also has a grading system. From highest cut quality to poorest cut quality, the grading scale is:
- Ideal Cut
- Excellent Cut
- Very Good Cut
- Good Cut
- Fair Cut
- Poor Cut
Similar to clarity, the better the cut, the more expensive the ring will be and if an engagement ring with an Ideal Cut is being sold for a very cheap price, then it is more than likely a fake.
A majority of diamonds are colorless so the concept of color being a factor is confusing to many people. However, it is this lack of color that makes diamonds more valuable and more expensive. The reason for this is because the lack of color allows the maximum amount of light to shine through the ring resulting in a dazzling visual effect that is called fire. The grades used to rate the level of fire in diamonds are:
- D, E, and F — These are completely colorless and near perfect.
- G, H, I, and J — These have a faint color to them but are still near perfection.
- K, L, and M — These grades have a bit more color than other grades thus far.
- O to Z — Diamonds in this grade has the most color to them.
Again, the less color a diamond has, the more expensive it will be. So, if a diamond is graded as a D but is being sold for cheap there is a likely probability that it is fake or the grade is being misrepresented.
This final factor is the weight of the diamond. A carat is equal to approximately .2 grams and the bigger the carat, the more expensive the diamond. The reason for this is that most naturally made diamonds are on the small side. Therefore, when nature does make a big diamond, it is highly valuable.
How to Spot a Fake Diamond
Unfortunately, because diamonds are so valuable and because people are willing to pay high prices to obtain them, it has led to some unsavory business practices such as selling fake diamonds or misrepresenting the quality of diamonds. Although the Four C’s are a great tool for evaluating diamonds, there are other ways to spot a fake diamond including the newspaper test, the microscope test, the fog test, the sandpaper test, and the sideways view test.
Knowledge is power and knowing the right information is important when purchasing a diamond engagement ring. However, even the most trained eye can be misled by some of the more superior imposters on the market. Therefore, here are a few other tips to keep in mind when buying diamonds.
Ask friends and family members for referrals. If someone you know had a good experience with a specific jeweler, then chances are good that you will have a good experience with the same person too.
Simply ask if the ring is authentic or something other than a diamond such as a cubic zirconia or some other synthetic substance. Any reputable jeweler will have no issues with telling the truth.
Closely examine the setting and the mount that holds the diamond. If it’s a fake the setting will also be made of a cheaper substance.
If you are still unsure of the authenticity of a diamond, take it to a third party, independent appraiser. Preferably by a jeweler who is affiliated with the American Society of Appraisers (ASA). They will be able to determine if it’s fake or real.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the largest, most respected and impartial diamond appraiser in the world. Always ask for and never buy a diamond that doesn’t have a GIA certificate of authenticity.
Overall, the best way to ensure that a diamond is real is to know exactly what you are looking for. Don’t blindly trust a jeweler–Verify what they say and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.