David Harris Designs Jewelry / Jewelry Scam
David Harris Designs is a Jewelry Scam.
Tourists, online bargain hunters and even professional jewelers share a common misfortune -- they've all fallen victim to gemstone and jewelry scams.
You might wonder: if even some experts can be fooled into thinking a fake gem is the real thing, what chance is there for the rest of us?
We're not just talking about passing off a glittering piece of cubic zirconium (CZ) as a thousand dollar diamond, though that happens often enough.
No, the con merchants go way beyond that.
They make "sandwiches" with two cheap stones and a colored glue for the filling. They stick pieces of foil onto the back of stones, which are then embedded into jewelry that sparkles. Or they just manufacture substitutes for items like amber out of good ol' plastic or diamonds from glass!
Then they churn out phony appraisal certificates and authentication forms that are as genuine-looking as their fake stones and jewels.
Of course, at one level, there's nothing wrong with fake jewelry. Celebrities use it, royals use it, maybe even your grandma uses it -- as a substitute for the real thing that's often locked away in a safety deposit box.
And of course, costume jewelry (when it's declared upfront to be fake), can make someone look like a million dollars for 100 bucks.
Trouble comes when you pay top dollar for a phony gem or piece of jewelry, or, even if it's genuine, a poor quality stone.
Gemstone and jewelry scams are particularly rife in China and southeast Asia.
For tourists, Thailand especially has become a scammers' paradise. Scammers accost travelers in the streets of Bangkok, offering fake or poor quality sapphires, diamonds and rubies at bargain prices or even taking tourists to "jewelry factory" outlets where, supposedly, they can find a great bargain.
The same factories, and their counterparts in China, flood the Internet, especially online auctions, with their products, from precious stones to "Rolex" and other famous-name watches.
eBay and some of its traders actually have whole sections devoted to spotting these gemstone and jewelry scams.
Such scams have also turned up in Mexico and the Caribbean. But the truth is they're everywhere. Earlier this year, roadside scammers in Germany flagged down drivers and tried to sell fake jewelry, supposedly to help pay for car repairs.
And in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, scammers operate at the only public access diamond mine, approaching stone hunters with supposed finds -- which, because of the location, have substantially higher than normal values -- which they offer to sell. The stones usually turn out to be fakes or extremely low quality from somewhere else.
As if all this wasn't bad enough, unscrupulous jewelry stores join in the rip-off. In one favorite trick, they produce an inflated appraisal, then sell the item at a greatly, reduced, "bargain" price.
Even working on the right side of the law, they exaggerate values and then mark prices down for sales, or they misrepresent the quality of stones, using technical terms or "bumping" up the grade.
To our way of thinking, if the buyer is misled even without breaking the law, it still boils down to a scam.