“Misdirection” is the Art of getting the consumer to make a buying decision on the basis of something other than the product itself. In the jewelry industry, misdirection often takes the form of using third party “authentication” to “prove” one diamond is superior to another diamond.

Typically, they are sold using jazzy sounding names. At Iowa Diamond, we call these “Gimmick Diamonds”. The “gimmick” is that these diamonds are represented in glossy advertising and smooth sales pitches as being optically superior. The truth may be the contrary. Often, the only thing superior about “Gimmick Diamonds” is the profit they generate for the jewelry stores that push them.

“Gimmick Diamonds” capitalize on the power of “branding”. The “brand” gives the jewelry store a product that is promoted as available “only” at that store in an effort to eliminate the normal competitive nature of the market. When the consumer perceives that there is only one source for a product, it is easier for that source to charge a premium. In most cases, “Gimmick Diamonds” are a hoax at inflated prices. In almost every case you can purchase diamonds cut to the proportions of the “Gimmick Diamonds” but without the jazzy names and premium prices, elsewhere.

Similarly, some jewelers present “certificates” containing third party descriptions of the diamond to “prove” that their diamond is better than the diamond at the other stores. The objective is to get the consumer to choose a diamond on the basis of what a piece of paper says about it, and not on the basis of visually examining the diamond. After all, if these “certificates” are prepared by independent third parties they must be unbiased and correct, right? Not quite. What you are not told is that all these certificates contain accuracy disclaimers and, further, that some third party providers grade using lenient subjective grading standards so that their “certificates” read better and the diamond “sounds” better than if they used strict subjective grading standards. No “certificate”, regardless of its detail, tells you whether a diamond is beautiful. In fact, the certificate may actually be proving that the diamond in question is inferior.

A while ago, we were working on an insurance replacement for a major insurance company. The diamond in question was of extremely poor quality but had been sold with a GIA grading report. Remember the concept that if it has a report, it has to be good, right? As we called diamond cutters for the replacement, we were told by one (with great amusement) that looking for such a stone with a certificate was like going to a junk yard to buy a car and then asking for documented proof that it had been in wreck. “Certificates” are misdirection tools and using them is roughly the same as picking out your fiancé using a stack of drivers licenses.