If you are buying a loved one expensive jewellery as a special gift, insurers are warning you need to tell the real thing from fakes.
In a test with a jeweller one in four people failed to pick out a ring set with real diamonds.
The mistake was costly as the fake – cubic zirconia – was worth just £100, but the real diamond ring was valued at nearly £21,400.
Online shopping and auction sites are flooded with too-good-to-be true discount jewellery sales at this time of year, but the experts warn many consumers have no idea what they are buying.
In the test, shoppers were asked to inspect and value a set of engagement rings.
Most shoppers fall for scam jewellery
The cubic zirconia engagement ring was valued on average at £2,607, more than 30 times more than the correct retail price, which was less than £100.
When looking at a diamond ring worth £21,400, shoppers wildly underestimated the actual value with guesses averaging £2,160, which is 90% lower than the price in a shop despite the ring being visibly larger than the other rings.
Jewellery expert Stephen Kopaloff, who carried out the tests, said: “The value of jewellery can change substantially as the cost of precious metals and gemstones vary depending on so many factors.
“For example, the price of gold is impacted by supply and demand, currency exchange rates, macroeconomic factors and geopolitical events.
“This is why it’s so important to buy jewellery from a reputable jeweller who can provide an accurate and detailed valuation certificate which can be shown to your insurer.”
Undervalued for insurance
Claims for damaged, lost or stolen jewellery are regularly made to insurers, who have revealed 7.2 million people, representing one in four who have been engaged, no longer have their rings worth an estimated £8.8 billion.
Kopaloff also explained many people under insure their diamond rings.
“Not understanding the value of jewellery poses a huge under insurance risk, as the vast majority -86% of people – found that their ring had increased in value since they last had it evaluated. One in six claimed its value had increased by more than half,” he said.
“On average, those whose rings had increased in value had done so by over a third, a significant amount if the ring had to be replaced.”