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Here are some of the "cons"
of the "pros & cons" of buying Diamonds.

Diamonds: let confusion reign.
(con #1)

Round brilliant cut diamond face up, showing hearts and arrows  Confusion in the public’s minds over synthetic versus natural diamonds has yet to really come to term, as synthetics haven’t hit the market in any significant quantity so far.
  But "branded diamonds" have, and I’ve already had questions from people about the differences between various brands, and the cutting styles, cutting qualities, and sources they represent.  Why branding?
  The marketplace is so awash in diamonds, the only way suppliers can differentiate themselves is to establish a brand identity and sell it, rather than the stone, per se.  Brand gives the consumer something else to focus on – something besides visible quality, appeal, and value.
  Sellers know this, and know how to use it to their advantage.  As we know from non-jewelry examples all around us in the world of commerce, brand does not necessarily imply quality.  Some brands connote low price, some suggest style.  Think of "Gucci" (high-quality, expensive), "Scotch Buy" (save money), or "The Gap" (style).
  With diamonds these days, there are brands associated with style of cut: "Tiana", "Elara", and "Quadrillion", to name a few.  Cut quality brings a host of other names, such as "EightStar", "Hearts on Fire", or "Leo".  And source brings even more -- Canadian diamonds, for example, with names like "Sirius", "Canadia", and "Tundra".
  There are so many nowadays that I cannot keep up with them all, and I even have a catalog of suppliers!  It’s no wonder that consumers are more confused than ever.
  Well, the thing to remember is that they are all little pieces of crystallized carbon, with facets on them to reflect light and make them sparkle.  In other words, don’t be sidetracked by the hype.  People can get easily sold on a name, and forget that what really matters is how good it looks.  And if the price is fair.
  In many cases, diamonds with fancy sounding brand names sell for much higher than unbranded ones, and yet the difference between the two is virtually indistinguishable or non-existent.  Don’t get caught up in the game of trying to guess which name on the stone is more valuable.
  All that matters is how it looks, and what it costs.  As one appraiser friend of mine has said about some of his customers, "[People] aren’t buying diamonds.  They are buying paper!"  Meaning that consumers are spending (read: wasting) money so that they can have a certificate, a laser inscription, and a brand name, rather than focusing on the diamond itself.
  Predictions within the jewelry trade are that within about 10 years, suppliers will start allying with and acquiring retail jewelry stores, leading eventually to a nearly completely vertical integration of the diamond business.
  Goodbye to choices when purchasing, and free market pricing.  If you like Exxon, you will like DeBeers.
  Be aware of quality and cutting accuracy, yes.  But remember that you can get both, without paying exorbitantly.

To Buy or Not To Buy....
(con #2)

Conflict diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are a problem for the jewelry trade and certification.  Every so often I get a question from one of my clients about the sources of the gemstones I use in my creations. These customers do not want to purchase something that might aid and abet some evil, corrupt government or band of terrorists somewhere.
  It is a worthy concern. (You also have to ask yourself a similarly perplexing question, then, about the taxes you pay, the gasoline you buy, the food products you eat, and so on. Right?)
  If you have any doubts as to what you should consider purchasing, and what you shouldn’t, here is some information for you.

  Within the last few years, the gemstones most questioned in this regard are diamonds.  This has come about due to the dismal state of affairs in some of the world’s major diamond producing countries, particularly Sierra Leone and Angola.  And for decades before that, the sorry treatment of black miners in the apartheid regime of South Africa had always cast an unwelcome shadow on the sparkle of an industry that only wants people to believe in "love", "desirability", and "forever".
  But diamonds are not the only guilty stones in this scenario.  For example, rubies, jade, emeralds, and lapis lazuli are in the menagerie, as well as others.  These rubies and jade come from Burma (called Myanmar by its military dictators), the emeralds from gang-ridden Colombia, and the beautiful blue lapis lazuli from Afghanistan.  It’s hard to say how much money was made in the latter country by those fun-loving boys of the Taliban.
  Of course, this is not to say that all gems come from problematic places in the world.  The difficulty comes when one tries to ascertain where a gemstone comes from.  How does one know its source?
  Well, for the most part, the simple truth is that unless you see it come out of the ground, there is no sure answer.  Why?  Because as far as I know, there is currently no sure-fire test that can be done to determine exact origin as well as chain-of-supply.  The technology barely exists, and if it does, it is so expensive to conduct that no one can afford it.  (I will talk about the means of such testing in some future issue, as it is a detailed topic in itself.)  And once a stone is mixed into a parcel of similar stones for sale (which is the case many times), keeping track of every one’s details is simply impossible.
  With diamonds, a determination of source is particularly difficult.  It is hard enough to tell if a diamond is synthetic or natural, let alone where it was mined, if it is indeed natural.  With colored gems, like emeralds and rubies, let’s say, the source mining area can be reasonably determined for some stones, but then how does one know if the gem was stolen from the mine, or sold into the trade by some dubious character, or used right on down the line as a means of laundering money?
  So the bottom line is this: if you are really worried about buying a "conflict" gemstone, stay away from those gems which have a chain-of-supply so nebulous as to make their true origin unclear.  Ask questions when you are shopping.
  There are many beautiful gemstones in the world that come from known, honest sources, which have no connections to a "dark side".
   ---  Richard Allen

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