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A story to be believed !

by michael ferguson

This is a story of a lovely lady who had the idea that in this time of poor economy, the opal might be a good investment. Being new to the business, she found a jeweler who agreed to 'broker' the stones for her to the gem market.

Browsing the internet, she found the AOM website and pored over the offers, but was unable to make a decision. So Murray called her, and over some time got a feel for what she wanted and offered a parcel of 13 cut stones for a total of $5,500 and a set pendant for $6,000.

Upon receiving them, she took them to the jeweler whom she had chosen to be her 'broker'.

The jeweler gave her an appraisal that shocked her.
He said that one of the stones was worth about $450,
and the others were worth no more than $3 each !!


She of course was completely distraught and believed that she had been duped by just another on-line crook.

Her words to Murray were what you would expect, and of course Murray offered to take them back and pay the shipping.

In order to get her money back soonest, we offered that she send them to me as I live in the US and the shipping time would be shorter.

I contacted her to tell her my shipping address, and in the conversation, I saw that this was someone who would ultimately be a very good customer, if only she could be convinced that Murray was not a crook.

So I suggested that she send the opals to an established gemological laboratory that regularly appraises opal, and see what they say. Being a reasonable person, she agreed and shipped them to the Pacific Gemological Laboratories.

Murray and I and the lady were all grinding our guts.
This is the worst kind of thing that can happen in this business.
Even a single unhappy customer is too many.


It was a long two weeks wait.


When the opal and appraisals arrived, the lady called and her voice was triumphant !

The set pendant stone that the 'jeweler' had appraised at $450,
the lab appraised at $25,715 !!

And the other 13 stones appraised at $43,895.
A total of $69,610.

Needless to say, we were all over the moon happy about this, and the lady had learned a very good lesson :

Do not expect everyone in the 'jewelry' business to understand the opal.

This is not to say that all jewelers do not know the opal, but do not expect to walk into just any jewelry shop and find a jeweler who knows the opal.

I truly do not know that this laboratory is the same one that was mentioned in the
'broken ring' story, but for sure, if you ever have any doubts about the value of cut stones, or the price that you should ask, do have them appraised by a reputable gem lab. Insurance companies rely on them, and the appraisal fees are very reasonable.

And another lesson: AOM has been in business for over 35 years. Our customers are artists and designers and investors who expect to make money on the trade. If they did not make money, we couldn't be in business.

And from the lady herself :

Just one thing to add to the story: this client has gone on to buy 7 more stones and is now in the process of trying to makeup her mind which Mintibu Super Gem will be added next to her growing collection. Each stone is unique and has it's own personality and beauty. A tribute to the beauty of natures creations.
Murray, is truly a wonder person and friend as well as the experts expert in the opal field.


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Mac Made

Last modified: August 28, 2009
Murray Willis