When buying a diamond or coloured stone be it off the web or from a brick and morter, you want to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting. Many stones are accompanied by a gemological laboratory report be it from GIA, EGL, AGS or one of several other establishments. Are these reports ironclad guarantees? No, they are independent but subjective opinions and represent a snap shot of the opinion of the graders on that day. Do we always agree with the opinion? No. Some labs are stricter than others. Some are woefully lenient.
The first purpose of a verification report is to make sure the stone and the report match. No reputable seller is going to risk his or her, hard-earned reputation by purposely selling a stone under false pretenses. However, mistakes can happen. If the seller is a little careless or rushed when showing two stones of similar weights and qualities, the stones may not get put back into the correct briefke. The briefke is the little white or coloured envelope in which a loose stone is stored.
The second purpose is to verify condition of the stone. If a report is older and the stone has been in the marketplace for a period of time or if you are purchasing a previously enjoyed stone, some surface damage may have occurred that would negate the original opinion particularly in the rarer clarity catergories.
The third purpose is to verify the stone’s identification and condition prior to and after mounting. Again, no reputable jeweler or setter is going to risk his or her hard-earned reputation by intentionally switching stones. However, stones can be accidentally switched. In all my years of experience, we have come upon only one, proven case of a jeweler switching stones for his own profit. That jeweler was convicted and sent to prison. On occasion, damage can be accidentally inflicted during the setting process. While this is not common, it can happen and you should not be responsible. The only way to prove your side is to have a set of photomicrographs prior to mounting. That way, if damage occurs and the setter is reluctant to take responsibility, you have photos on your side. However, with or without photos, some jewelers will not take responsibility for the condition of fragile stones such as opals, emeralds, tanzanite and several others.