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The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a nonprofit gem research institute and one of the most respected bodies in the industry
Hands on Dollars
Credit: Eti Swinford |

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a nonprofit gem research institute and one of the most respected bodies in the industry, has just come up with a fascinating document for many of been blessed with a trusting (at times too trusting) nature.


In the article, the GIA specifies four common get rich quick schemes used by diamond and gem hustlers – from the infamous “boiler room” tactic to the “tourist trap” scammers waiting outside reputable retailers, whom you’ll find all over the world.



The “boiler room” scheme

The “boiler room” scheme, for example, works thus: you get a phone call, email, or you click on a link in a legitimate website. The seller shows or describes his gems, “selling” the gullible buyer with how they can get rich quick by obtaining stones worth as much as ten times their purchase prices by “buying direct from the source.”


The buyer, convinced by the seller that this one-time opportunity may vanish in a flash, purchases these fake stones. When it’s too late and the scammer is long gone, the buyer finds out that the stones are worth a fraction for what they paid for them. According to the GIA, the scammers often delay consumer complaints by sending the stones in sealed containers with a warning on them – break the seal, and lose any buy-back guarantee.



The “financial security” scam

Another common tactic used by scammers is to target people who fear hyper-inflation or financial collapse. They tell them that cash and stocks will become near worthless, and that they should put their trust in “physical” commodities – namely, gemstones and diamonds. They then sell the poor buyers a worthless stone, and sell his information to other scammers, who then offer to buy the stones at a fraction of their cost, or make a trade-in against the purchase of a much more valuable stone. This second stone, of course, is as worthless as the first one.


How to watch out for such schemes? Be suspicious of unsolicited telephone calls, emails or Internet sellers offering gems for investment. Remember that the bigger the pay-day, the less likely it is to pan out. There are rarely any “finds” in life – and none when it comes to diamonds.

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