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Gerry–you are raising alot of critical issues for our industry which
I suspect have parallels in the automobile, electronics, and
commodities industries.

One thing I think we need to keep in mind is that a company like
Thaigem is cocky and truly does not deliver on its promises. They are
a flash in the pan. For instance, I was very intrigued when i first
heard about them and ordered some stones which were just junk and
absolutely NOT as they had described them. When somethng seems too
good to be true, it usually is. We all know how dumb their
descriptions are, that they ignore industry standards,color ratings,
inclusion reports, and cutting standards,They use the same photos for
all their gems. When I wrote to them about it, I got a very cocky
answer about their “gemologists” grading each stone. Yeah right.
It’s downright insulting and simply a chance for us to educate the
public at large about

A company like Thaigem jumps right over the middleman, the gem
dealer, it’s true. But remember, relationships with gem dealers are
cultivated over a long time, just as in any business. Our business is
primarily done one a one to one basis with alot of integrity and
trust built in. Who else sends things on memo? When customers, be
they private individuals or stores or other dealers, start receiving
the junk that Thaigem sends out, a chain reaction will occur: these
gems will not appraise out so there goes the repeat customer; the
dealer will realize he cannot sell this junk to his loyal customer;
the store who uses these bad stones will get unhappy customers; the
lapidary will have to recut things to make them usable (if the stone
is not too shallow which will cost he or she in time and thus
eliminate the value aspect)… This is going to take awhile but I
think that Thaigem will fade out because its customers will begin to
hold it to the high standards that operate everywhere else in the
world and it will either conform (thus erasing some of its discount
aspect ) or it will sell topeople who do not care about quality. The
latter group is not the majority of consumers.

I do not think that Asia worries at all about bankrupting the US ,
just as I do not think that any country worries about too much
economic success. Many US industries have been severely dented by
cheap labor and cheap parts and cheap steel and cheap food and cheap
textiles and and cheap cars, cameras, computers etc etc. we cannot
stop globalization. All we can do is continue to represent (and
compete with the Asians on) quality, integrity, service, and hope
that our customers recognize it. We can also join as an industry and
fight back.

By the way, Gerry, I own several of your stones , which are
beautifully cut. No amount of cheap, badly cut sapphire will take the
place of the brilliant sapphire (and several other Galarneau
stones)I bought from Barb Smigel at Artistic Colored Stones, a very
fine example of a high quality, honest, informative, reasonable
gemstone website. It is people like you, Barb, and many of our other
Orchidians that can keep me proud to belong to this industry, in this
country, in this time.

Diana Widman Birch Tree Studio