One of the scourges of our industry is the mishyperbole
and downright humbuggery that some vendors use to sell their goods.
I thought this article by Richard Drucker, publisher of The Guide
and Gem Market News, was a really great reply to the Jewelry TV
industry, which I personally rate right up there with phony gem labs,
pyramids and other types of “Scamology”. Excerpted from Gem Market
News, May/June 2006, Richard B. Drucker.
"Another frequently encountered investment scam often shows up on
home shopping type TV programs. Many cable TV shopping channels exist
and the purpose of this article is not to stereotype these as all
bad. Many legitimate shopping channels that do offer "good value"
insist on representing the purchase as an “investment.” It is not. If
the value is good, let it go at that.
The biggest problem in our industry is with shopping shows and even
retail stores that insist on using the fictitiously high retail
pricing. The consumer is then led to believe that they are buying
these items for a fraction ot the retail price. Examples of this can
be found at www.dsntv.com where consumers can buy a variety of gems
with high suggested retail prices. (They are only one of many
websites and retail stores practicing in this manner.) Has the
consumer really purchased for 70% off retail? Does anyone actually
ever pay this suggested retail price?"
"Unfortunately, our favorite gem show, the Tucson Gem show in
February, is now greatly exploited by TV shopping shows. Even at the
AGTA venue, home shopping television crews can be seen filming
footage to take back to the stations for promotional purposes. For
weeks after the show, the stations will promote the show and how
their experienced buyers found the best deals to pass along to loyal
We encountered this typical true story from a TV customer after
Tucson. A woman in her 70’s purchased some andesine/labradorite
gemstones from a shopping network. The network built up these gems by
promoting that this was all the material that existed and there will
be no more. Their buyers just returned from Tucson and bought all
that they could find. Its rarity was compared to Paraiba tourmaline.
The trade was about to rename this material and it was worth much
more than they were charging. She bought the whole story.
Then she called the TV station to enquire further on the gems she
just bought. How should she go about selling them for her quick
profit? They told her that jewelers would want to buy this and she
should contact them and she will make money. I asked her the same
question I have asked consumers for the last 25 years. “If it is
worth so much more, why would they sell it to you for less if they
could make a bigger profit from jewelers directly?” Yes consumers are
naive, but that does not make it ok to be duped on national
television shopping networks. (Editors note: Guide sources suggest
that little of what has been claimed about andesine is true. It is
not from the Congo and it is not rare.)"
It wouldn’t be so bad if they would just sell their goods for what
they really are instead of “Gem gem gem”, etc. I think many of these
people who watch the TV shopping shows are really poor lonely souls
"looking for love in all the wrong places," just low hanging fruit
for the shysters to pick.
As a person who loves this business and is proud of the great and
glorious company of reputable hard working and honest craftspersons
and jewelers, I take it personally when I see these phony and
illegitimate sales gimmicks. Lets all do everything we can to keep
our own businesses straight and clean by educating ourselves and
keeping current, and then to do the best we can to inform and advise
people about the “Scamologists”
Step down from soap box, exit stage right.