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Anyone buying a diamond today has cause for concern. While there are many wonderful, new developments that offer exciting new choices—new shapes, new colors, new setting styles—there are also more reasons to be leery. There are more laboratory-created diamonds in the marketplace than ever before, and high-tech treatments are altering the color and clarity of inferior quality diamonds to transform them into stones that appear more rare and desirable. New diamond imitations, such as moissanite, are being misrepresented and sold as diamond. Diamonds sold on the Internet are often accompanied by misleading “laboratory  reports” or “appraisals” from fraudulent laboratories, or use counterfeit reports issued by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

And all of this at a time when the Gemological Institute of America, which created the world’s premier gem-testing and diamond-grading laboratory, finds itself in the midst of a major scandal involving the over-grading of several important diamonds. If you can’t rely on the GIA, who can you trust? What can consumers do to ensure they know what they’re getting and that they are paying the right price?

According to Antoinette Matlins, P.G., diamond expert and author of the newly released book, DIAMONDS, 3rd Edition: THE ANTOINETTE MATLINS BUYING GUIDE (GemStone Press / June 2011 / Quality Paperback Original / $18.99), consumers need to understand that it is a mistake to rely on a diamond grading report alone, regardless of the laboratory issuing the report. The extensive use of reports, especially those issued by the GIA, has been both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it has benefited consumers by reducing fraud and misrepresentation, and has enabled consumers to have greater confidence in what they buy and the price they pay. But unfortunately, since GIA reports now accompany most fine diamonds over ¾ carat, today virtually anyone can sell diamonds without really knowing anything about them.

In short, diamond-grading reports have been substituted for knowledge. This is especially dangerous given the growth of non-traditional venues such as the Internet where an alarming number of fraudulent “laboratory” reports and counterfeit GIA reports are being used to lure buyers into thinking they are getting bargains when they are not.  

“It is especially important,” advises Matlins, “to buy only from someone who is a gemologist skilled at grading diamonds. Not only will he or she have the knowledge to double check any diamond accompanied by any laboratory report and confirm that the quality of the stone matches what is on the report, but a gemologist will also be able to accurately grade diamonds not accompanied by GIA reports, including smaller diamonds used as accent stones in rings and other jewelry settings. 

“It is equally important to buy from someone you can locate should you discover that anything is wrong. This may be a problem when buying from Internet vendors unless you can make arrangements to verify the facts ... before paying for the diamond. If not, don’t purchase from an Internet vendor.”

How to Select, Buy, Care for & Enjoy Diamonds with Confidence and Knowledge

By Antoinette Matlins, P.G.

Newly updated and expanded, Diamonds, 3rd Edition: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide is an invaluable source of essential information for anyone interested in diamonds, whether you are buying, selling or simply increasing your appreciation and understanding. Offering expert and practical guidance, this easy to understand book offers all the in depth information you need to buy sparkling diamonds with confidence, including:

  • What is a diamond?
  • The factors affecting quality differences in diamonds.
  • Diamond grading reports and how to interpret them.
  • How to compare prices.
  • How to spot differences in stones that may appear to be the same quality.
  • How to protect yourself from misrepresentation.
  • Questions to ask when buying any diamond.
  • What to get in writing.
  • How to get what you want within your budget.
  • Important information about buying on the Internet.
  • And much more …

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Antoinette Matlins 4-Step Guide to Buying a Diamond

If you’re about to purchase a diamond, you’ll want to pay attention to the following tips from diamond expert Antoinette Matlins, P.G., from her newly released  book, DIAMONDS, 3rd Edition: THE ANTOINETTE MATLINS BUYING GUIDE (GemStone Press / June 2011 / Quality Paperback Original / $18.99). For more information, visit  

  1. Buy only from a jeweler who is a gemologist or has a gemologist on staff.
  1. Make sure the seller is willing to give you the specific facts related to the quality of the stone, the 4Cs—color, clarity, carat weight, cutting grade.  

If the stone has a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) report (or report from another laboratory), ask if the jeweler has graded the diamond him or herself and agrees with the grades shown on the report. Go over all of the details on the report and be sure to get the original report. If the jeweler can’t make it available at the time of the transaction, be sure to get a copy of the report to take with you. This is also very important if you are buying an unmounted diamond that the jeweler is going to mount for you. Call the GIA to confirm they have issued the report and that the information on the report matches what is in their files. 

  1. Make sure the jeweler puts the 4Cs in writing, on the sales receipt, and any other representations that have been made. Don’t buy from anyone who is unwilling, for any reason, to do so. If the stone is accompanied by a GIA report, ask that the jeweler include the number of the GIA report, and the date issued, on the sales receipt as well. This should be done even if you have been given the original report.
  1. Verify the facts with an independent gemologist-appraiser who holds a respected credential such as the Master Gemologist Appraiser certification (awarded by the American Society of Appraisers— or the Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser certification (awarded by the American Gem Society—  

The last step is the most important. Only by finding someone with the right credentials and taking the time to have the facts verified, will you know whether or not the seller was reliable. There are many unscrupulous appraisers working in collusion with unscrupulous jewelers, especially in wholesale diamond districts around the world, so seeking someone with a respected certification is essential. If everything checks out, you’ll enjoy your purchase for years to come. If not, you’ll have what you need to get your money back, regardless of store policy. If the facts have been misrepresented, the law requires the seller to refund your money.

Praise for

“Plainly put, it’s the best ‘how to buy a diamond’ book currently on the market.”

The Diamond Registry Bulletin

“The book you can’t do without … all the information you need, in no-nonsense language.”

Rapaport Diamond Report

“To answer critical buying questions, it takes an author who has been immersed in the jewelry business, has seen the full range of material, and is able to share those experiences in a thorough yet easy-to-read manner. Antoinette Matlins has managed to do just that with her Colored Gemstones and Diamonds buying guides.”

                        Gems & Gemology

“All the information you need to buy, collect, sell or simply enjoy diamonds … written by ‘insider’ Antoinette Matlins. Practical, comprehensive and easy to understand, this book offers in depth all the information you need to buy sparkling diamonds with confidence.”

Antwerp Facets Diamond High Council

 “Restores the magic! [Will] entertain and enlighten all its readers and save some from heart-break. Recommended reading.”

                         Paul Harvey, Paul Harvey News

“Almost every newly-engaged couple is eager to know as much as possible about their once-in-a-lifetime purchase … the diamond engagement ring … take(s) the guesswork out of this important decision … be able to obtain the best value for your money.”                             

Modern Bride

“An appropriate book for the uninformed public, but more than that, it is a good reference book for jewelers and their staffs, gem collectors, students of gemology, travelers, teachers, and even those who know gemology but want a state-of-the art review.”

Lapidary Journal

“The information needed for investing and purchasing gems of all types. Highly recommended.”

                        Library Journal

Diamonds, 3rd Edition: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide (6" x 9", 240 pp, 12 pages in beautiful full color, with over 150 color and b/w photos & illus.; index, Quality Paperback Original, 978-0-943763-73-6, $18.99) is available from Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, Cokesbury, Doubleday, Indigo/Chapters, Waldenbooks, B. Dalton,,, and many other booksellers, or directly from GemStone Press, P.O. Box 237, Woodstock, VT  05091.  Tel. (802) 457-4000, Fax (802) 457-4004, For credit card orders, call (800) 962-4544. Add $3.95 shipping and handling for the first book, $2.00 for each additional book.