JVC: Diamond Undercarating Widespread

A Jewelers Vigilance Committee undercover operation found widespread undercarating of diamond jewelry at retail—with the worst offenders exaggerating their pieces' total weights by as much as 50%. JVC bought 55 pieces from stores of all types—ranging from high-end to jewelry exchange—and found undercarating in 24 of them. The diamonds in the items were removed for weighing, and the results were checked with an appraiser. Twenty-four pieces were considered seriously undercarated, meaning the differential between represented total weight and actual total weight exceeded 5%. Ten had differentials of more than 20%. The Federal Trade Commission Guides for the Jewelry Industry require that total carat weights be correct to the second decimal point, notes JVC executive director Cecilia Gardner. The worst instances include: A $200 yellow gold cross said to have .65 cts.

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