In part 2 of this tutorial, I’m going to be continuing on with the even trickier sales tactics that I’ve come across in my diamond searches. But first let me start off by sharing some amusing comments I came across whilst preparing for this article.
Me: “Do you carry any loose diamonds?”
Sales: “No, but you should always buy a diamond that is already set.”
Me: “Why’s that?”
Sales: “Well if a diamond is unset, how can you tell if it’s going to look nice in your setting?”
Me: “Do you carry radiant cut diamonds?”
[Handing me a round brilliant diamond…]
Sales: “These are the most radiant diamonds we have.”
Me: “I’m looking for a 6-prong solitaire setting.”
Sales: “Sir, you should never put a diamond in a 6-prong setting, as it will block out most of the light.”
[Pointing at their diamonds that are bezel set…]
Me: “I see…so shouldn’t the bezel on the these settings block all of the light then?”
Sales: “No sir, all of our bezel settings are specially designed to let more light in.”
It just goes to show that some sales will say anything to get you to keep looking.
Tactic #8: Discounts and Cheap Pricing
Haven’t you ever seen advertisements for diamonds that say up to 25% off? What about 1ct diamonds starting from $1000. Diamonds have a market price and so there is never a case where diamonds can be truly discounted. A 1ct diamond for $1000 is possible… but you’re looking at an M-color, I3-clarity… you get the point.
What can be discounted are the settings and jewellery designer pieces with lots of melee where the design costs outweigh the cost of the diamonds. If a vendor does put a discount on a loose diamond, then without doubt that diamond was marked up and then marked down and the asking price is probably still much higher than what you would pay from an honest vendor.
Tactic #9: Promising a high appraisal amount and telling you the diamond is worth more than it is
This is the one that’s “too good to be true”. I’m not going to discuss in detail because I’ve covered it before when talking about it in my tutorial on diamond insurance. Just remember that in most cases, the only thing an inflated appraisal will do is increase your insurance premiums. If a vendor is trying to pitch you this, don’t just walk away. Run!
Tactic #10: Asking you to leave a deposit
There are some legitimate reasons that vendors may ask for you to leave a deposit. This is where you have a certain request that goes outside of what that retailer normally provides as part of their free service. For example, calling in a diamond that you have found elsewhere yourself.
Of course, you could also pay a deposit if you’re actually asking the vendor to place a diamond on hold for you. However, never pay a deposit for having a vendor conduct a diamond search for you. All diamond vendors have the same access to international diamond databases if they pay for that access and it’s easy to use. Don’t let any vendor convince you that a diamond is hard to find, especially if it’s only based on the basic 4C’s!
Tactic #11: H&A is a special cut
Some sales will try to convince you that their branded hearts & arrows diamonds are a special cut. My readers will know that H&A is simply a result of better craftsmanship and vendors have lots of ways to convince you that their diamonds have superior craftsmanship.
I’ve also heard many vendors that will tell you that their company owns their own diamond mines and therefore have control over the entire supply chain. This may or may not be true depending on whom you’re dealing with but the truth is that regardless of where that diamond is from, these diamonds will go through several large cutting houses that supply the majority of the world’s diamonds.
Vendors that have higher volumes will be their larger and more important clients and the rules of business dictate that they will receive better access to the better quality cut diamonds.
In diamonds, if you know what you’re doing, you will always get what you pay for. If you’re promised the best craftsmanship and also believing that you’re not paying a price premium for it, then there’s probably something else that’s going on that you’re not aware of.
Tactic #12: Soft Labs and the “Very Good” cut grade
I was once presented with a diamond that was graded ‘good’. I made a comment to the sales that the diamond appeared very dull and asked if I could see their best diamonds. I was presented with their best selection of diamonds that were graded ‘very good’. Under their jewellery store’s lighting, the ‘very good’ diamond significantly outperformed the ‘good’ diamond.
One more thing. These were diamonds that came with EGL paper.
When I asked what EGL was and what is the difference to GIA, they told me that GIA and EGL were exactly the same, but EGL is not as well known so are cheaper. Never did they mention that EGL is considered a soft-lab that can grade a diamond up to two grades higher than GIA or AGS. When I asked for GIA excellent diamonds, they told me that these were very rare and it would take them some time to find one.
Tactic #13: All GIA excellent diamonds are hearts and arrows
“It’s simple. Trust GIA, not us. GIA excellent is the best.”
I’ve heard this dozens of times before.
I’ve asked many middle-of-the-road jewellers who carry mostly diamonds graded by GIA whether their diamonds are H&A. Surprisingly, many sales people will blatantly lie by telling me that essentially all GIA excellent diamonds will display the H&A pattern. I’ve been told before that the perfect hearts and perfect arrows depicted in their own marketing material does not really exist.
Now you and I both know very well by now that not all GIA graded excellent cut diamonds are made the same and certainly only a small percentage of these can be considered ‘true’ hearts and arrows diamonds.
It is true that most GIA excellent diamonds will display some sort of arrows pattern. However, when I ask how I can tell that a set diamond has hearts, I’ve been lied to many times by sales that will say any diamond that displays an arrows pattern will mean that there are good hearts.
Tactic #14: Lying about color
I went into a high-end retailer and noticed that a better-cut H color diamond appeared whiter than a G color diamond. It was an HIF and a GVS1 and the sales lady promptly told me that it was because the H had a higher clarity!
Please don’t fall for this one. The point is that once you’re in the near-colorless range (G-I) whether a diamond appears to face up more white is more to do with it’s cut rather than color or clarity.
Another time I told by a sales that DEF is best, GHIJ is second best, and KLMN is third best. She referred me to how the color grades were presented in a GIA lab report and began to tell me that within each tier there is basically no difference. Indeed, if you look at a lab report, it does seem to say that DEF is ‘colourless’, GHIJ is ‘near-colorless’, and KLMN is ‘faint’. If you’ve read the last tutorial, this is the sales who tried to get me to buy a LSI1 with strong blue fluorescence.
There are also vendors out there that carry diamonds that are graded in the XYZ color range that they will market as Fancy Light Yellow. In the GIA lab report, the XYZ range is ‘light’. Now I have lots of problems with the FLY color grade, but that is a topic for another discussion.
The point I want to make is that sometimes the differences between XYZ and FLY isn’t that obvious to consumers but the price difference between these are drastic! Just make sure that if you’re looking for a fancy colored diamond that this does not fool you. Always ensure that a fancy colored diamond comes with a reputable lab report certifying it’s fancy color grade.
Tactic #15: Get a better deal by buying clarity enhanced diamonds
Selling clarity enhanced diamonds without proper disclosure is one of the biggest scams in the diamond industry. But what constitutes proper disclosure is a very grey area. If you’re being sold that clarity enhanced diamonds are a better deal because you’re getting better value for money then it all depends on what kind of value you believe you’re getting. Whatever diamond you’re buying, if a sales person is trying to convince you that you’re paying less and getting more, then there’s probably more to the story than what you’re being told.
These poor sales tactics are so important that the GIA actually dedicates a significant part of their course to training their graduates on how to present and sell a diamond.
GIA’s approach is about building trust by having excellent presentation and being knowledgeable; making the customer comfortable by having excellent service; and building value by creating desire. The GIA believes that buying a diamond is an emotional process.
Buying a diamond certainly was an emotional experience for me. I don’t think that I would have learned so much about diamonds during my diamond search if I wasn’t driven by my emotions to find the perfect diamond for my wife.
I know it’s not always easy to get what you want from a sales person at a jewellery store and that ultimately was why I chose to purchase a diamond online. So if you’re tired of the tricky sales tactics you’re getting from a jewellery store and made the decision to purchase online, then contact me and I’ll do my best to help you.
Zero sales tactics guaranteed.