Here’s How B&E Jewelers Mitigates the Reputational Risk of Selling Synthetic Diamonds

By Jennifer Heebner, Editor in Chief

Marc Altman of B&E Jewelers in Southampton, Pa., goes above and beyond in sales of synthetic Diamonds; naturally, he discloses what a lab-grown Diamond (LGD) is according to FTC law, but he’s also crystal clear about their unstable values.

Altman created a Laboratory Grown Diamonds Letter of Understanding to give to consumers when he started selling them in the Philadelphia suburbs a year ago. The document is dated and includes the buyer’s name at the top. The body of the form reads:

“Laboratory Grown diamonds are beautiful and have the same chemical and physical properties as Natural Mined diamonds, however they do not have the same stored value as a Natural Diamond as the market is ever changing.

As per our discussion, in the opinion of B&E Jewelers, LD’s have a future projection of diminishing value.

Due to the fact that the market value continues to decrease, B&E Jewelers will not be able to honor the Buy Back or Trade-in program that is offered to Natural Diamonds.”

Then the client and the jeweler both sign the bottom of the form.

Here’s How B&E Jewelers Mitigates the Reputational Risk of Selling Synthetic Diamonds

“Retailers do not need to disclose the diminishing value aspect—that is an ethical question,” he notes. “However, if a synthetic is sold as a good value purchase like a mined Diamond, that is the ethical part.”

Not discussing the value proposition with clients can come back to burn stores. A good example from the Jewelers Helping Jewelers forum last week revealed that a shopper to an upscale chain jeweler in the Lone Star state bought a 2.5 ct. LGD in 14K gold for more than $13,000. A few months later, the client visited Holmes Gold & Diamond Exchange in Weatherford, Texas, looking for help. He told a staffer that he almost purchased a mined Diamond for $1,000 more but the chain “talked him into the bigger lab grown and told him if he decided to resell it then he would be able to get the same sum back for it,” recounts John Holmes, owner. He told Holmes’s employee that he “had to be escorted out of Jared’s when he went back a few months later to try to return it when the engagement was called off.”

Here’s How B&E Jewelers Mitigates the Reputational Risk of Selling Synthetic Diamonds

To be extra sure Altman is being ethical, he also provides a super-informative brochure for clients interested in learning more about LGDs. The brochure covers the history of synthetic production, definitions, types of LGD production, pricing, and the store’s opinion. For example, Altman states that his store sells LGDs at the same price per carat for which De Beers’ Lightbox sells most of its synthetics.

Under the “Opinion” section it reads:

“We choose to act as an advocate to protect our clients from the marketing hype and misinformation of Lab-Grown Diamonds that exist in the market today.

Today we are selling Lab-Grown Diamonds (up to 3 carat) at $800.00 per carat.

All B&E Lab-Grown Diamonds have a GIA Laboratory Report with a minimum clarity/color grade of VS2, G.

Our Re-purchase and Trade-in programs do not include Lab-Grown Diamonds as they are a manufactured product with little or no intrinsic value.”

Through these methods, his clients understand the LGD product category and value. A case in point: a young man entered Altman’s store in 2022 to buy an engagement ring. At the time, Altman was not yet selling LGDs, which is what the customer wanted (a 3 ct. center). Altman told him that he would set an LGD purchased elsewhere so the customer bought one online for $12,500. Upon learning what he paid, or overpaid in the jeweler’s eyes, Altman checked his own sources and learned he could obtain the same stone with the same GIA report for $6,900 less. The client returned his original purchase and bought the entire ring from Altman, who then developed his Laboratory Grown Diamonds Letter of Understanding.

Here’s How B&E Jewelers Mitigates the Reputational Risk of Selling Synthetic Diamonds

“I wanted to be an advocate for the customer, but I also wanted to protect my reputation,” says Altman. “That’s why I developed the letter and explained the situation about how I knew the LGD value would diminish greatly. I didn’t want to lose a customer moving forward, so if he ever brought back the Diamond, I could pull out the letter he signed. Now I have no problem selling LGDs but I’m not perpetuating a false narrative about their value.”

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