Don’t Confuse the Word "Laboratory" with "Legitimate"

Independent gemological laboratory. Sounds authoritative, even clinical (why do you think we use it?). We see a lot of “laboratory certified” jewelry and loose stones but not often enough accurate descriptions. And, while we have reported on bogus labs for years it still is aggravates us to see the blatant misrepresentations made all the more prevalent by the internet.

In 2006, the most outrageous cases have involved represented retails at levels several times reality and grading of diamonds that can only be viewed as fraudulent. Still, many buyers blissfully accept any representation they are given and find out the truth far too late to do anything about it.

So the trusting often get ripped off and the skeptical come to see us. Each year, a bigger portion of our business is in verifying or refuting prior documentation. All too often, that representation is wrong, even if by a reputable sounding laboratory.

Most gemological laboratories have a three letter call sign, like GIA, AGS or NGL and it can be confusing to the consumer who are the good guys and who are not. If they all sound the same, and their documents often do look the same, it’s thought they must be equal. Unfortunately, we even see labs with good looking websites touting their expertise while presenting bad paper on diamonds and jewelry.

It pays to investigate the reputation of the lab doing the gemological documents for your gem or jewelry purchase. Are they well-regarded within the industry, referred by others or only seen only in internet transactions. As mentioned in this year’s op-ed article, always have the right to return merchandise and have your own (well-researched) appraiser look at the article in question before keeping it.

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