ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Don't be fooled by fake gemstones, warns leading gemologist

How sure are you that the diamond you were sold is actually a diamond?

Sentimental jewellery pieces can be some of our most treasured possessions.

Many consumers are deliberately sold fake gemstones or unwittingly sold an incorrect gem by an unqualified jeweller.

Accredited gemologist Jeremy Rothan says that about 80% of the stones which he evaluates in his lab in Cape Town are fakes, sold as genuine natural stones.

Some jewellers lack the skill and training to identify grade and value of gemstones, explains consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.

Mitchells Plain resident Shafiek Abrahams fell victim when he was sold a piece of fake tanzanite for 1 500 US dollars (about R17 000) from overseas.

An upmarket jeweller in Cape Town identified the fake stone as tanzanite and even charged him a R250 consult fee.

Shafiek Abrahams came to show me this blue stone which looked like a tanzanite, it was a loose stone. Running the test, it turned out it was actually glass.

Jeremy Rothan, leading gemologist and founder of The Gem Lab

There was a certificate supplied with it and it turned out to be a piece of glass.

Shafiek Abrahams, victim of gemstone fraud

Some people told me there were a lot scams going on and fakes going around in the market. That made me take all my items to The Gem Lab.

Shafiek Abrahams, victim of gemstone fraud

He urges consumers to insist that the gemstone is certified by a reputable laboratory.

Verify that it's natural, not synthetic or artificially treated.

Jeremy Rothan, leading gemologist and founder of The Gem Lab

More often than not, jewellery valuations aren't worth the paper they're written on.

Jeremy Rothan, leading gemologist and founder of The Gem Lab

Rothan says there are too many cases of gemstone fraud. He offered his advice and callers shared their stories of being rip-offed.

Take a listen to the insightful discussion during the Consumer Talk feature:


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