WALDORF, Md. (WUSA9) -- "The rings and the band, and the earrings, I mean, pretty much everything. I'm just a jewelry person," says Laura Randolph.
So that made it easy for her husband, Kevin, to know just what to get his bride for Christmas.
"I've never seen anything like it. It was just so pretty," she says.
"She loved it. There was nothing wrong with the ring," says Kevin Randolph.
Until they got the authenticity certificate for her chocolate diamond ring in the mail.
Kevin says, "The ring that I purchased was not what I purchased, apparently."
Allow us to explain: last year, on Black Friday, Kevin says he went into the Jared Jewelers store in Waldorf looking for the perfect gift for Laura.
He settled on a $3,300 1.5-carat chocolate diamond ring made by Levian. It's noted on his receipt.
But in early January, Levian mailed the Randolphs the certificate that says the ring's total weight was actually much less.
"It was only a one carat, according to Levian," says Kevin.
The Randolphs say they called and went to Jared Jewelers to get what they thought they paid for.
"I do believe it was an honest mistake that they weren't willing to make right," he says.
"Until your team contacted them, I don't think they were going to do anything about it," says Laura.
It took several months, but finally, Jared gave them their $1,000 down payment back.
Jared's parent company, Sterling Jewelers, declined our request for an on camera interview.
But in a statement said because of privacy issues, they were "unable to share customer information with third parties."
It goes on to say, "We take all customer feedback very seriously and work diligently with each customer to address any matter that may arise in the most appropriate manner."
"You feel like you can trust somebody and now it's kind of a disappointment that you can't," Laura Randolph says.
As for her husband Kevin, he says, " Call For Action, they stepped in, did a great job."
The next time you purchase a high value piece of jewelry,expert Sherlene Bradburysuggest you ask the jeweler if they will grant a window of time to have the piece independently appraised.
While many jewelry stores have excellent in-house, gemologist-appraisers, experts say there can be a risk of bias.
It's always best to have a second pair of eyes, preferably a graduate gemologist who is an independent appraiser not employed bythe retail store.
Or a retailerthathas an independent contractor as an appraiser, to examine the piece.
Consumers should know all of the details and understand exactly what they are getting. The buyer should ask questions such as the breakdown of the various components, i.e., center or major stones versus accent stones.
Ask about the metal purity, 14K, 18K, platinum or combinations.
Ask about any warranties and return policies.
Bradbury says, "Jewelry is something that is so specialized that it takes years of study and knowledge to properly evaluate. Anyone can make an honest mistake. Not everyone working on a sales floor is experienced with stone weights and sizes. And, they simply recite what is on the ticket. Sometimes, tickets are mislabeled or the information is not clearly recorded."
And it's very important to ask what can be done if there should be a major discrepancy between what was claimed by the seller and what is discovered by an outside, qualified examiner.
"No seller should have a problem giving their client that option," saysSherlene Bradbury.