Fred Ward, emeralds, and State Farm

Was: Incorporating opal 

I was unfamiliar with this case - the absolutely amazing injustice
floors me! I have to say, though, that I am not at all surprised
about the role of State Farm in all of this.

We used to be - please note the past tense! - insured by State Farm.
I live in the country,on a hill, over a fairly large vein of iron
ore. I had a well. Weather happens. The combination of hill and iron
vein attracted (and still attracts) lots of lightening strikes. Our
pump got hit several times by lightening, with resulting insurance

After one such hit and claim, my State Farm agent asked me to come
to town and sign some paperwork. I showed up at his office, and he
had a statement he wanted us to sign that said that “we would not
permit lightening to strike our pump again.” For real!

My husband assured him that he wished he had the sort of direct line
to the man above that would allow him to issue this sort of

Needless to say, we immediately switched insurance companies, and
are now with Auto-Owners, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

My in-laws did not switch, got hit by lightening, and when through
over a year of agony with State Farm giving them grief over the
settlement at every turn.

Live and learn.
Beth in SC


It's a shame that there are such people as his customer in this
world who are so dishonest that they can abuse a beautiful piece of
jewellery and then turn round and blame it all on the jeweller who
made it for her. 

It actually was the insurance company, that didn’t want to pay out a
claim they had only collected one payment on that blamed it on the

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambrige, MA 02140

I had many conversations with Fred Ward, way back then, and tried to
generate some interest among online friends.

I later met Fred Ward at a Gem and Mineral Show in Lynchburg, Va.
Where coincidentally, I was assigned as a volunteer to his booth.

I will again see Fred Ward next weekend where he will present at the
Culver City Rock and Mineral Club’s Annual Show, in the Los Angeles

This was the greatest miscarriage of justice ever. The evidence,
overwhelmingly in Fred Ward’s favor, was totally ignored, by an
unfair judgement.

The client, admitted her part in damaging the stone. The ring was
cut apart by order of the insurance company, and the jewelers
involved, were never revealed.

Fred suffered greatly over this incredibly unbelievable decision.


Hi Daniel,

It actually was the insurance company, that didn't want to pay out
a claim they had only collected one payment on that blamed it on
the jeweler. 

I know it was the insurance company but the customer played her
part. I read quite a lot of articles on the case, not just the one I
gave a link to. The customer was apparently a friend of Fred’s for
some twenty years, and yes she did admit that it was she who damaged
the emerald. But when the insurance company went gunning for Fred
Ward, she jumped on the band wagon too. She was obviously a lady of
means to be able to afford such a lovely emerald ring in the first
place so it wasn’t as though she would have been financially
destitute without the lawsuit.

It takes a certain type of person to sue a personal friend of twenty
years to the point where he has no business left. The evidence was
overwhelmingly in favour of Fred - it’s just such a shame the press
had such an impact and influence on the jury who were obviously not
able to understand the simple facts of the case. Take just one
aspect, the mass of the emerald before and after an unknown party
had filled the fracture. 3.65 carats before and 3.66 carats
afterwards if I remember it rightly. The stone was appraised by a
number of parties, using several different sets of weighing scales
and it weighed consistently 3.65 carats prior to being set in the
mount. Then afterwards, when State Farm Insurance had sent it to
another jeweller (and wrongly ordered that the mount be sawn apart),
the emerald miraculously weighed 3.66 carats. How can anyone with an
ounce of common sense go along with a verdict that says the fracture
was present and filled at the source - a fracture easily
identifiable by GG’s with appropriate equipment. The jury were swayed
into believing that the fracture simply became visible when it had
apparently previously been invisible. They didn’t look at the facts

  • which aren’t complicated. It’s a shame the arbitration was not
    binding or that the DC court judge didn’t overrule the jury’s
    decision as ridiculous.

Sorry, this case had me steaming at the sheer injustice of it all.


Sorry, this case had me steaming at the sheer injustice of it all. I
agree with Helen. I think that was a benchmark (and blot) of
unfairness in the jewellery industry. I have always admired Mr. Ward
for not seeking revenge, in some form or other.