Louis Pearl: Fake gold in Grass Valley
It was very sad to hear that one of our local jewelers is up on charges of selling fake gold.
I do not know the man, never did any business with him. I have no interest in judging his guilt or innocence on this criminal complaint.
However, as a gemologist with 40 years in the diamond business, I am unhappy with this man.
Let us assume for a moment that he is an intelligent man. If so, it would be unlikely he would try to defraud his clients and choose to remain in town. He would have to know that sooner or later his clients would resell the asset and would at that time be exposed.
No intelligent thief would stay to face the future music. No, a thief would most likely take his ill-gotten gains and get out of Dodge.
If he is a stupid man, then of course all bets are off, and one cannot doubt he may have believed his con would never be discovered. That being said, I find the idea of stupidity a scenario lacking in probability.
In my view, the jeweler is more likely lazy and/or greedy and incompetent. When testing for gold content, the average jeweler does not have the equipment to do an assay. Without an assay, you cannot know 100 percent what you have.
It is very possible that the jeweler bought the fake gold as real and resold it without having it assayed. If so, then indeed he is incompetent.
I say possibly greedy as well, because you cannot buy Hallmarked gold from a refiner that is not real. If he bought it off the street, he may have thought he was buying the gold well below market and his greed poisoned his mind to the reality that he was marked as a fool by the seller.
Harsh words, I know. I am not usually one to throw dispersion on anyone. This man, however, has done great harm to the other jewelers in our area.
It will be very difficult for anyone reading these reports to have confidence in any jeweler from here on out.
This man has been in business long enough for people to trust him with their major investments. A trust that was misplaced. Because of his alleged actions, it is likely that most people will be very wary of trusting any jeweler after this incident.
It takes a lifetime to build trust and a business. It only takes a few minutes to destroy it. And that is exactly what this man has done.
Time will either promote you, or expose you.
The other honest jewelers in our area are going to be under suspicion every time they offer a stone or metal to their customers. The trust will just not be there. Who can blame the consumer?
When you buy gold bars for an investment, insist upon an assay before payment.
When you buy a diamond or other precious stone, buy it with the understanding it can be returned to the store if the jeweler’s assertions of quality and value cannot be verified by a competent gemologist. Get it in writing.
For the local jewelers who think I am saying this to garner business, relax, I do not work with the public. I am a rough diamond gemologist whose business is in Africa grading rough for my clients. I have no pony in this race.
Louis Pearl lives in Grass Valley.
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