Buying Diamond Jewelry Online — Don’t be fooled by Photoshop

July 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm

When shopping for jewelry online, especially when dealing with diamonds, a buyer must be extremely savvy to not fall victim to many shady practices. One such practice that is implemented by even the largest of retailers would be using Photoshop to “enhance” their diamonds. In this writer’s humble opinion, this is tantamount to fraud, especially considering that one of the largest factors when pricing a diamond is clarity and brightness.

<– Click this image to see the before/after animation after a Photoshopper has his way with it. This is an actual example of what a graphic designer does for many jewelry firms. This was e-mailed to us from a designer seeking work from our jewelry firm.  (Not to worry — we don’t engage in such deception at TraxNYC.)

Most of the major retailers, such as Macy’s, insert a small disclaimer: “Photo may have been enlarged and/or enhanced.” Ah, the ubiquitous “and/or” phrase allows them to outright lie about their merchandise. It’s obvious that small items, such as rings, are almost always enlarged. But what do they mean by “enhanced”?

To see this in practice, I’ve dug up some visual examples. Here’s an article in picture format, courtesy of

So how can you tell whether an online jewelry store is using Photoshopped images?

  • It has sparkles. Just like in the above image, sparkles don’t naturally appear like that in photos.
  • None of their items have any visible signs of imperfections, scratches, or wear-and-tear. Diamonds are one of the oldest minerals on earth and many of them do come with slight imperfections if they are real diamonds.
  • The diamonds are “too” white and bright for the price. As seen on our diamond education page, diamonds with the highest clarity and color are exponentially more expensive than their duller counterparts.
  • Shadows of the diamonds should *not* be exactly the same across all the stones.
  • If possible, look for a video of the item. Videos are harder to edit in the same way, so chances are, the video is of the actual untouched product.
At TraxNYC, we never “enhance” our jewelry photos. The only thing we may edit is the size of the photo. In this industry we are proud to be one of the few retailers who do not deceive our customers with faked pictures. We’re also working on bringing video to all of our popular items, so our customers can see exactly what they’re getting.

This concludes Part 1 of our “How to Buy Jewelry Online” series. Look for more useful info on buying diamond jewelry online in the coming weeks!