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Commentary: The Business

Florida Jeweler: Stop Diamonditis By Being the Expert You Were Trained to Be

Jewelers must reclaim their role as the trusted source of knowledge on diamonds.




Brad and Colbi Congress own Bradley’s Jewelers in Fort Myers, FL. Brad is a GG-GIA and third-generation jeweler. They can be reached at (239) 337-2723 or

Brad and Colbi Congress

EVERYBODY IN THE DIAMOND BUSINESS is aware of diamonditis. If you’ve ever experienced a diamond that doesn’t match the document provided, that misrepresentation is called diamonditis. We coined the term to encompass all types of diamond misrepresentation: overstating color, clarity; ignoring fluorescence; failing to report fracture filling or HPHT enhancement; and not disclosing synthetics.

The cost of this deception to our industry is incalculable. We at Bradley’s Jewelers have seen a kind, single mother devastated when we discovered her 2 carat was fracture filled, with a trade value of worthless, after paying more than $15,000.

Recently, we had a young veteran with an undisclosed fracture-filled diamond also with erroneous documentation and matching appraisal with no mention of reality.

Consider the human element. We claim to be in a business that brings great joy, but we’ll bring nothing but headaches to our customers and ourselves if we misrepresent diamonds.

Remember when selling a diamond rarely required accompanying documentation? Jewelers would teach a client under a gemscope. We were their advocate and qualified expert regarding price, quality, durability and desirability. And, there was always trust.


In our opinion, the advent of “paper mill certs” gives the unscrupulous jeweler a tool to shift liability from selling honestly, creating an uneven playing field.

If you’re a gemologist working in a store selling questionable diamonds, and you sign appraisals supporting them, maybe it’s time to ask yourself a question: Is this what I was trained to do?

In November 2014, Martin Rapaport took a stand in the right direction. Delisting EGL International was a good first step.

Be a part of the solution. Take a “No diamonditis” stance, and be the expert you were trained to be. Don’t hide behind a document to sell a diamond!

This is a short list of ways to protect yourself and clients from unfair business tactics:

  • Represent what you know to be true. If you don’t know something, don’t speak as if you do.
  • Trust but verify. Don’t rely blindly on any laboratory with your reputation.

  • Analyze and reanalyze every diamond. Remember, chances are that diamond will be re-graded by another jeweler.
  • Remember, loupes are not adequate tools to give clients a full understanding; they simply aren’t trained. Gemscopes should be used to show clarity, cut and polish.
  • So as individuals and as a collective unit, let’s get motivated! Question more, grade with a skeptical eye, be an impetus for ethics, and earn your client’s trust.



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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