(KMOV.com) - 'Tis the season for sparkle and we're not just talking about lights on a Christmas tree.
It’s the busiest time of the year for jewelry stores.
But one local couple tells News 4 they feel misled on a diamond deal that just might be too good to be true.
Sauget couple Scott Long and Molly Carlson have been dating a while.
“Two kids, seven years later, still together, it all just happened,” said Scott.
In October, on a dream vacation, Scott finally popped the question on the beach in the Bahamas with a $5 coconut ring.
Though they still have that ring, once home, the pair started a search for a ring with more bling.
“I had been looking at every jeweler in town, I did all of my research and I knew what questions I needed to ask and I asked them,” said Molly.
Inside Samuels’ Jewelers at South County Mall, they found the one.
“She lit up when she saw it,” Scott said.
The original price tag was more than $7,000, which was marked way down, according to the salesperson, because they're going out of business.
“You think that's great, it’s a deal,” Scott said.
They thought it was a genuine diamond.
“We thought we were buying a family heirloom we could pass down to our children,” Molly said.
Only after they got it home did they learn that the diamond was made in a lab.
“When I found out, I was in tears, devastated,” Molly said.
Experts say lab-created diamonds, while still technically diamonds, won't hold their value like ones made by Mother Nature.
“What I feel like is a ring we spent all this money on that will be worthless at some point,” Molly said.
They say they were misled.
“When I am spending this kind of money, don't tell me I am getting one thing and give me another, it’s just wrong,” Molly said.
While News 4 tried reaching Samuels several times in various ways before this story aired, a person who finally answered the phone told News 4 they would not be commenting and then hung up, twice.
A week later, the CEO of the store contacted us and sent a copy of a receipt signed by Molly’s fiancée saying that he “AFFIRM THAT IT HAS BEEN EXPLAINED TO ME THAT THE DIAMONDS IN THE JEWELRY I AM PURCHASING ARE LAB GROWN DIAMONDS.”
News 4 reached out to Molly, who upon examination, confirmed the authenticity of the receipt, but claimed that they were never orally told that they were lab grown and thought it was only a payment confirmation.
But the sale is final, according to the store.
“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Molly said.
Michael Clavenna, a diamond expert at Diamonds Direct in Creve Coeur, says while there are some tools to test for fakes, it's harder to know if a diamond was made in a lab.
“It’s a ton of information to take in when they aren't familiar with it,” Clavenna said. More
The biggest key is to arm yourself with information and ask lots of questions. If you are unsure about something don't be afraid to ask. And, if it's really important to you, get the paperwork.
The Gemological Institute of America, for example, only certifies genuine diamonds.
“A GIA report is peace of mind and security,” Clevenna said.
Molly and Scott say they just want to save another couple the heartbreak.
“Shop around before you make that purchase, because a lot of times, when it’s done, it’s done,” Molly said.
The ring, just a ring, not wavering their love for each other.
“I would marry you with any ring, including the coconut ring,” Molly said to Scott.
Again, News 4 tried numerous times to get in touch with Samuels, before the story aired. The business is currently in bankruptcy proceedings.
When News 4 finally reached people by phone, they hung up on News 4's Lauren Trager twice saying only "they are not giving out any statements at this time.”
After this story aired and was published, Samuels provided a copy of the receipt described above. They also stated “that our stores are trained to advise customers that they are purchasing Lab Grown Diamonds – the EON Range, which are technically identical to natural diamonds but are available at a much cheaper price point and are ecologically sound and are conflict free in their origination.”
Experts say there are some ways to protect yourself, if you want to make an informed buying decision:
• Walk away to take some time to think about the purchase.
• Do your homework and comparison shop before you buy.
• Know what you're getting. Some people prefer lab created diamonds because they cost less or for ethical reasons.