Gem fraud and how to recognize it

Friday, 23 March 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 12

Gem fraud and how to recognize it was the topic at the March 11 Sunday meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club. Peter Marsh with Black Star Jewelry has spoken to the Club several times but this time, instead of having some lovely young ladies modeling jewelry, he began by introducing some “little gems” from the KC Dance Studio.

Black Star Jewelry is one of the sponsors of KC Dance Studio and brought several children to entertain everyone with a few dance numbers before starting his talk. And entertaining they were; dressed in traditional Thai style garb, this group of 10 were enthusiastic in their performance. Peter pointed out that they recently won an award in Bangkok for Thailand’s Got Talent and recommended everyone read the current article in the March 9th Pattaya Mail on their performance (http://www.pattayamail.com/ourchildren/13-pattaya-youngsters-dance-to-prove-thailand-s-got-talent- 10909).

Peter Marsh of Black Star Jewelry explains to the Club the ins and outs of buying Sapphires and Rubies.Peter Marsh of Black Star Jewelry explains to the Club the ins and outs of buying Sapphires and Rubies.

After the dancing was over, Peter then got into a more serious subject, gem fraud. With the aid of pictures he described several aspects of the mineral Corundum (rubies and sapphires). He described both types of gems; although made of the same mineral, they have distinct characteristics.

He noted that fraud in the sale of gem stones is common and that the buyer should have some knowledge about gems and the fraudulent practices of unscrupulous dealers. He first defined fraud from the Oxford English Dictionary as a “criminal deception, dishonest artifice or trick.” Peter emphasized that there was no “fraud” if there is proper “disclosure.” That is, if the gem stone is properly identified and all details are disclosed about its makeup and quality, then there is no fraud on the buyer.

Peter brought along a troupe of little gems from the award winning KC Dance Studio to dazzle us.Peter brought along a troupe of little gems from the award winning KC Dance Studio to dazzle us.

Peter then described each type of ruby and gemstone and the common “tricks” used to sell fake, imitation, or poor quality stones to the unknowing buyer. He noted that many scams involved gems that were already in settings with closed backing, thus making it much harder to detect the true nature of the stone. He mentioned that fake stones were often glass or a different kind of gem then that being represented, for example a garnet stone is often represented to be a true ruby or will be called by a misnomer, such as calling it a Montana Ruby.

Imitation stones are those that are made in a laboratory - often called man made. Although they are a real gem stone, they are not natural and therefore not as valuable. He pointed out that there are many companies that make gemstones. Imitation gems can be distinguished from the real thing sometimes if the price is too low, or if the suspect gem is of perfect clarity with no inclusions, as flawless gems are extremely expensive and are not bargain buys found in night markets.

Pat Koester aids Hawaii Bob as he reads off the names of 15 Lucky Draw winners.Pat Koester aids Hawaii Bob as he reads off the names of 15 Lucky Draw winners.

He also described methods used to make a poor quality stone look more valuable then it really was. Hints to avoid the ever present gems scam were given. Deceptive practices will include situations when a stone, even though it is genuine, could be claimed to be of higher quality and sold as such.

He provided illustrations of the various rubies and sapphires describing the characteristics that separate the genuine from the fake. He also described several tricks used to make the quality look higher than it actually is. He suggested that if you were in the market for a very expensive stone, you should get both your own laboratory report and appraisal - do not use the sellers. At the conclusion of his talk, he answered many questions from the audience. He said that if anyone wanted additional information, to visit Black Star Jewelry in View Talay V or to contact him on 087-062-9672. The website address of Black Star Jewelry is www.blackstarjewellery.com.

Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg called on Pat Koester to conduct the always informative Open Forum where questions are answered about expat living in Thailand, recommendations made about movies and restaurants, and occasionally the telling of a joke or two. The Pattaya City Expats Club meets every Sunday at the Amari Orchid’s Tavern by the Sea Restaurant. Read more about the Club’s activities on their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.

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