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Jewelry TV and other scams

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 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
TV shoppers.

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.


Does anyone actually ever pay this suggested retail price? 

Have you not window shopped in the areas that they (DSN) quotes? Of
course the excess income of the LA interior goes toward retail
prices. It’s a status requirement. I’m I right Lisa?

I Tivo DSN from time to time, not because I’m a lowly fruit but
because it’s an easy way to see Blue, a personal friend of mine.
Unfortunately he’s far too busy to put down his dynamite and come up
out of his mine to respond. I’m not sure if it was implied, but I’m
trying to figure out how DSN can be compared to the others, being
that most of their staff are graduate gemmologists/jewelers and or
miners, AND Orchid members. I’d like to hear other views…Chris
Johnston, please rinse off and chime in.

well as the argument goes i from time to time watch jewelry
television, not because i want to buy there stuff but because it
gives you a great idea of what people are willing to pay for junk. i
dont usually watch the jewelry shows, i only watch the gemstone part.
all the hosts have either graduated from gia or some other place,
this dont make them above making easy cash on people that dont know.
much like drug reps, they market a product for a profit. the benefit
of having a gem degree is that you can talk over peoples heads and
wow them with words. thats it. and for the other thing is they always
claim that he product is out, like tanzanite, to hear them talk you
would think that you must buy all you can to secure your financial
future. it really is unreal. oh well the wall mart of jewelry i

my ramblings
ken mitchell


Have you ever heard of color change diaspore? Jewelry TV was hawking
that one last night.

Sally Pataky
Sungem Design

Have you ever heard of color change diaspore? Jewelry TV was
hawking that one last night. 

Yes, they’re being mined in Turkey by a company here in Ft.
Lauderdale named Zultanite Gems, LLC. Guess what they want to call
it…? Yep, Zultanite. Diaspore is a poor gemstone choice because of
it’s low toughness due to one perfect cleavage and another good
cleavage. It is also very brittle. I haven’t held any of this fairly
new find in my hand, but I’ve read that the color change is typically

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL

Color-change diaspore was discussed in one of the recent Gems and
Gemology (not sure but I think the Winter 2005-06 edition). As I
recall, it was a fairly new deposit from Turkey (?). Also was some
buzz about it last Tucson. Not a real hard or especially beautiful
stone, but this particular material does have a distinct color
change. Colors are not real vivid. I’ll try to research a little
further, post more accurate info.

Mardon Jewelers
3640 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92501

i have heard of it, i belive the color change is from a lighter
green to a light brown color. i think it is from turkish origin.
anyone else have any info on it?

ken mitchell

Have you ever heard of color change diaspore? Jewelry TV was
hawking that one last night. 

Last week on HSN…

Some pricey tanzy…Invest Now!..and…Drum Roll…!

Paraiba Apatite…looked green and maybe blue green to me… Set
in 10K…

“You won’t find apatite in your gem book…go check…”

Guess she had never heard of Schumann’s…

I do know of a dealer was sold a parcel of nicely cut, clear blue
and bluish green apatite… That turned out to be
flourite…(single refraction, lit up nicely with UV)…

Maybe that’s the “neon” they’re seeing under the studio lights…?

Going to have to baby those rings…

Apatite’s Moh’s 5, flourite softer…

Gary W. Bourbonais
A.J.P. (GIA)

Heh-heh… I used to hate it when my wife would turn on the home
shopping shows, but now I enjoy watching them when they’re selling
jewelry. It’s like a test of how much I’ve learned about gems
recently. I see how many mistakes they make and how many lies they
tell, or just how naive they are. It would be funny if it weren’t
for the fact that I know some people are being ripped off.

Holy mackerel, Andy ! I got some junk e-mail from Jewelry Television
auctions and decided to go look at their wares just out of
curiosity. Such junk I’ve never seen. They had some totally anemic
aquamarine on auction with huge scrapes and scratches across the
table and facets. No bids - maybe people are catching on. Selling
that kind of flotsam and jetsam should be illegal.

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

enough as it may seem, i sometimes watch jtv on early mornings on
discovery channel, it blows my mind the amount of loose gemstones
they sell. they are junk they show a nice tanzanite and claim it to
be gem grade but that sure as hell is not what you recieve in the

ken mitchell