By Ashley Bailey
, Wednesday, August 02, 2006
When a jeweler writes the total weight figure of a multi-stone piece of a diamond jewelry on a sales tag or receipt using decimal points (for example, 0.95 ct.), he better be on the money. The Federal Trade Commission says it is a deceptive trade practice for the actual weight to be off by any fraction of a point (100 points equals 1 carat).
Say you buy a pave diamond ring with a stated total weight of 0.95 carats
(95 points). If those diamonds actually weigh 0.94 cts. or less, the jeweler is violating FTC rules. If the weight discrepancy is significant, say 5% or more, some appraisers and gemologists argue that consumers have a right to a refund. Such shortweighting is called "undercarating."
Unfortunately, very few consumers ever have reason to remove the diamonds from a piece and have them weighed. They trust their jeweler's representations.
Maybe they shouldn't.
A recent spot check of the market by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, a watchdog group founded in 1917, showed an alarming percentage of shortweighting in multiple-stone diamond jewelry.
The group bought 55 pieces of diamond jewelry and found 24 of them with a difference of more than 5% between stated and actual total diamond weights.
Seven of the pieces were undercarated by 20%. Three were off by 45% to 50%.
JVC recommends making sure all diamond weights are put in writing with a warranty as to accuracy.