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The Case Of The Disparaged Dancing Dolphins

By Charles M. Ellias GG ISA CAPP

The facts of this case are true; the names have been changed to protect the innocent and to avoid confrontation with the guilty.

The Actors:

  • Emeralds Galore (The Store)
  • Mr. Muzo (the Designer)
  • Mr. Coscuez (the salesman)
  • Mr. & Mrs. Wanting the Green (the client)
  • We Are Clueless Jewelers (the offending store)
  • Mr. Boris B. Quack (the quack "appraiser")
  • Mr. Jakov The Yutz (the son of the "appraiser")
  • Jewelers Legal Aid (the jewelry legal aid center)
  • Mrs. JD (general counsel for JLA)

Scene One (23 September 1999, Key West Florida)

Mr. & Mrs. Wanting the Green are on vacation, and stop into Emeralds Galore to admire their wares. While in the store they admire the "Dancing Dolphins™" ring. After leaving the store they spend most of the afternoon shopping the other jewelry stores in the area, and then return to Emeralds Galore. Upon their return they purchase the "Dancing Dolphins" ring from Mr. Coscuez for $4,995.00 + $15.00 shipping. They leave the store satisfied customers.

Scene Two (23 October 1999, Farmington Hills, Michigan)

Mr. & Mrs. Wanting the Green go to We Are Clueless Jewelers to get an appraisal on the ring. Mr. Boris B. Quack holds himself out as qualified to appraise the ring and accepts the assignment. The appraisal is written (unedited) as follows:

Ladies 18k yellow gold emerald ring containing one light Columbian emerald cut emerald with imperfections weighing 2.0ct. with gold dolphin shapes going in opposite directions on either side of emerald with 0.02ct. diamond on one eye of each dolphin. Ring weighs 22.7 grams.

Appraised Value $3,500.00

The "appraisal" has a gold foil embossed seal that states "We Are Clueless Jewelers Farmington Hills Michigan" going around the outer border, and "GEMOLOGIST" in the center. The "appraisal" has Boris B. Quack's signature over his typewritten name, and is dated November 11, 1999.

Scene Three (23 October 1999, West Bloomfield, Michigan)

Mr. Wanting The Green returns home and issues the following email to Mr. Coscuez at Emeralds Galore:

"Dear Sir,

On Sept 23, 1999, I bought a 2ct. emerald ring, set between two dolphins jumping in opposite directions. Today I went to get the ring appraised, the jeweler told me the ring was only worth $2000, I paid $5000, he told me to return the ring. I have not yet received the charge statement yet for this purchase, can you imagine how I felt. I would like a full credit upon you receiving the ring back or a credit adjustment. You can call me and we can discuss this......."

Scene Four (15 November 1999, West Bloomfield, Michigan)

Mrs. Wanting The Green faxes over a note to Mr. Coscuez at Emeralds Galore:

"the jeweler told me that he meant that the stone was only worth $2000 the rest of the ring was valued at $1700. The jeweler told me that I still over paid for the ring...."

Scene Five (2:20PM, 17 December 1999, Key West, Florida)

Mr. Coscuez of Emeralds Galore calls We Are Clueless Jewelers anonymously and speaks with Jakov The Yutz and asks "what credentials their appraiser has" The response is "GIA"

After Mr. Coscuez authors an extensive letter to Wanting The Green that states some of the errors in Boris's "appraisal" and his stores qualifications in the emerald field and that their sales are not subject to appraisal.

Scene Six (18 January 2000)

Mrs. JD from Jewelers Legal Aide sends out a letter to Boris The Quack to let him know that they are now involved and will be mediating the case and requests that he provides them with his Gemological and Appraisal education and qualifications.

Scene Seven (3 February 2000, West Bloomfield, Michigan)

Mrs. Wanting The Green sends another letter to Mr. Coscuez from Emeralds Galore that states:

"By refusing to accept the ring and give me a charge credit, only proves that you are not a very honest business.

This 2ct. emerald is of very poor quality, even the color is not the best, of which you made a point of telling us how it's such a good color. If this ring is as good as you claim, and you had nothing to hide, you would take it back. You knew this emerald was a very poor quality stone, and you passed it off as being a good quality stone. I was led to believe (By you Mr. Coscuez) that I bought a very good emerald, I believe this is called fraud.

If I am stuck paying $5010 for a very poor quality emerald, then everyone in Florida is going to know what a crooked business you run. If you think writing to the Jewelers Legal Aid to cry wolf, think again. I'm going to write to them and tell them real truth.

I wrote a letter to the Key West police dept. and to the district attorney. If you want to talk about this, I'll put off mailing these letters, I'm also going to send a copy to the Florida State attorney general's office."

Scene Eight (10 February 2000, Key West Florida)

Emeralds Galore decides to give Mrs. Wanting The Green a full refund due to the fact that she would never be satisfied based on the fraudulent information provided to her by Boris. Not faulting her they ate the sale and refunded her the cost of the ring and the interest accrued on her credit card. While I understand that they did a noble thing it was not necessary since they had done nothing wrong, and had no liability, and were not legally obligated to do so.

Scene Nine (11 February 2000)

Mrs. JD from Jewelers Legal Aide sends out a 2nd letter to Boris to respond to the previous letter.

Scene Ten (24 February 2000, Farmington Hills Michigan)

Jakov The Yutz of We Are Clueless Jewelers issues a response to Mrs. JD. of Jewelers Legal Aide

Which reads as follows:

"Boris The Quack received his diamond and gemstone education in Latvia and Russia where he grew up and lived as a young man. He was taught by diamond masters and gemstone experts that would be the equivalent of the GIA. He has been in the jewelry business for fifty years and is very knowledgeable. Our retail store is in a very competitive area. High quality jewelry is sold at 20-30% below what it is sold at in other areas. The emerald ring in question was appraised by us for $3500 because we believe that is what we would sell it for in our store. We firmly believe the price of $6000 was unfair to the customer"

Scene Eleven (28 March 2000, Key West Florida)

Mr. Coscuez of Emeralds Galore writes a detailed letter to Mrs. JD of Jewelers Legal Aide explaining all of the offenses both legally and ethically that have been committed by Boris and what the appropriate remedy would be to avoid litigation.

Scene Twelve (7 April 2000, Key West Florida)

The Jewelers Legal Aide is unable to even come close in mediating an acceptable settlement. At this time Emeralds Galore breaks ties with the Jewelers Legal Aide and retains Joel E. Grand of Grand & Grand to handle this case. I was also retained not only as an expert witness appraiser but also as advisory to counsel to try to reduce the damage caused by Boris.

The first step in the attorney's strategy was to have me appraise the ring. The Body of the appraisal is as follows:

One lady's 18kt. (Hallmarked and tested) green gold, emerald and diamond ring. The ring is a high polished, custom designed, by pass style, and is made by the casting, and hand assembly processes. The ring is 16.89-5.40mm. wide tapering, with a 11.00-8.35mm. wide, tapering, flat round shank leading to two, 22.70x11.00-2.45x 8.15-1.55mm, three-dimensional dolphins in a "Jumping" motif. The center of the ring contains one, 18kt. (tested) yellow gold, high polished, cast, square, four prong head, measuring approximately 8.50x8.35x4.85mm. The ring contains one, four prong set, square emerald step cut emerald (A15 - Moderate) with an estimated weight of 2.00ct.
Measuring Approximately: 8.01 x 7.49 x 5.29mm
Clarity: SI1
Color: B2G zone 45 over G zone 30 with a 5% gray mask
Cut: 9
*NOTE: This emerald demonstrates characteristics typically associated with a Colombian origin.
Two, gypsy set full cut round brilliant diamonds (1 diamond per dolphin set in the "Air hole") with an estimated total weight of .04ct, measuring approximately an average of 1.70 x 1.20mm., clarity I1, color H, proportions/ finish good.
14.5 DWT. Gross Weight
Circa: Modern
Condition: Excellent
Size: 9
Trademarked with (3) seagulls for "Jewelry Designs By Marcial DeGomar"
Ring Style "Dancing Dolphins"
Style Number 020024
North American Lapidary Laboratory Report ? 01-0217
Photographs [86/01/23/01/5-11]
Estimated Acquisition Cost New
$5,100.00

After the appraisal was conducted I was assigned the task of doing a full scope analytical appraisal review on all aspects of Boris's "appraisal" to check for accuracy in not only the stated facts but also the methodology. The reason for this is simple if two different individuals appraise the same item and both use proper methodology they can still come up with different results and both are correct. Unfortunately this was not the case. Boris botched the technical end of the appraisal but also lied, violated numerous accepted ethical principles, blatantly violated the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), and totally disregarded every accepted methodology theory.

Let us now analyze Boris's "appraisal"

"To whom it may concern:

This is to certify that we are engaged in the jewelry business, appraising diamonds, watches, jewelry and precious gemstones of all descriptions."

Who is the intended user of this report? Actually it is anyone who may come in contact with this report may use it and take action against the appraiser on it. While they may be engaged in appraising, this appraisal clearly shows that they are not qualified to do it.

We herewith certify that we have this day carefully examined the following listed and described articles, the property of:

He certifies, which is an absolute guarantee that he has carefully examined and described. It is this statement which, when you see all of the errors, proves either incompetence or dishonesty.

"this Day" yet another blatant misrepresentation of fact. He dates the appraisal November 11th 1999, but remember from earlier in this article the client had this done on October 23rd 1999.

"We estimate the value as listed for insurance or other purposes at the current retail value"

All proper appraisals written by qualified competent appraisers are written for a specific purpose and function. The value for insurance is different than for estate, donation, etc. It is obvious that Boris has no clue about the different values. And stating that it is at the current retail value without any knowledge of this jewelry artists market is yet one of the many blatant lies involved in and around this so called "appraisal".

"Ladies 18k yellow gold emerald ring containing one light Columbian emerald cut emerald with imperfections weighing 2.0ct. with gold dolphin shapes going in opposite directions on either side of emerald with 0.02ct. diamond on one eye of each dolphin. Ring weighs 22.7 grams.

Appraised Value $3,500.00"

"Ladies"

The plural did this ring belong to more than one woman? It is a Lady's ring?

"18k yellow gold"

18k is not the abbreviation for 18 karat fineness it is 18kt The ring is green gold, not yellow. The center head for the emerald is yellow gold.

"light Columbian emerald cut emerald with imperfections weighing 2.0ct."

Light? Did this emerald have a lower specific gravity than other emeralds? Or was Boris just trying to disparage the color of this emerald? Maybe emeralds are heavier in Russia and lighter in Colombia? If it was an attempt to disparage the color than maybe Boris squeezed one too many potatoes before appraising this one.

The color B2G zone 45 over G zone 30 with a 5% gray mask verbally means: Very Slightly Dark, Moderately Saturated, Slight Bluish Green, but hey, if you profess to be an expert on jewelry and do not even know the difference between green and yellow gold.. Columbian? The emerald expert who does not even know the proper spelling of Colombia! Hey Comrade, spell checker would have picked that one up for you!

Imperfections. Intentional disparagement. The GIA even teaches that the appropriate terminology is inclusions. Emeralds are one of the few type III gemstones due to the fact that the norm is heavily included! You show me a retailer with all flawless emeralds and I'll show you a Quack trying to pass off hydrothermal synthetic emeralds as natural!

2.0ct? Do we now only report carat weight to the tenth of a carat? Did some change the rules of gemology while I was sleeping? How did he know the weight was exactly 2.00ct? It was a mounted emerald. Did he remove it and weigh it? By formula with this particular emerald you could not get an exact carat weight. By formula it comes out to 1.98ct. if you use the formula calculated in Carmona's book. If he does not have Carmona's book then the standard weight formula calculates the weight of this emerald at 2.16ct. Which means Boris had to see the receipt once again proving he had more information, which would allow him to contact the designer giving him the ability to properly conduct the appraisal.

"with 0.02ct. diamond on one eye of each dolphin"

The diamonds were set in the air hole of each dolphin, unless in Russia dolphins have their "eye" on the top of their head. Once again, weight estimation this time on the diamonds, flush set, how did Boris come up with the weight?

"The foregoing appraisal is made with the understanding that the appraiser assumes no liability with respect to any action that may be taken on the basis of this appraisal".

The big WRONG, I guess if I was a quack I would try to take out my magic wand, sprinkle it with pixie dust and make my quackery disappear as well. All appraisers are liable for negligence and fraud.

Now let us look at all of the proper, necessary, and important information that was not included in this so-called "appraisal" NOTE: EVERYTHING that is missing or INCORRECT is listed, and is this a long list! So, pull up a comfy chair, and brew a pot of Colombian coffee.

Come to think of it if Boris was to quack appraisals on emeralds down in Colombia I bet they would have a special tie fitted just for him.

Cover Document for the Summary Appraisal Required for all Appraisal Reports {Missing or Incorrect Items}

Date(s) of inspection

  • Location(s) of property at time of inspection
  • Names of parties present at time of inspection
  • Statement of the appraisal purpose
  • Statement of the function (assigned use) of the appraisal
  • Effective date of the appraisal
  • Statement limiting the use of the appraisal to the assigned use
  • Statement identifying the client and, if known, intended users
  • Statement that the report is either a restricted-use, summary, or self-contained appraisal report,
  • Specific definition of the value being sought (including the appropriate definition of fair market value, if used)
  • Statement of the valuation approach used, i.e. cost, sales comparison or income approach
  • Identification, description and condition of the market used as a basis for the value conclusion
  • Statement as to the general condition of the property
  • Statement regarding readily apparent identity and/or authentication's performed
  • Statement regarding any liens, fractional interests, or other encumbrances understood to exist
  • Statement that the appraisal is not an indication of ownership
  • Statement that facts contained in the report are true and correct
  • Statement of any limiting conditions encountered or critical assumptions made
  • Statement of appraiser's disinterestedness (or lack thereof) in items being appraised
  • Statement that the appraiser has no bias towards the parties or property involved
  • Statement that initial engagement of the appraiser is not contingent
  • Statement that fees were non-contingent
  • Statement as to whether or not the appraiser personally examined the items being appraised, and if not, why not?
  • Statement regarding use of other appraisers or experts who provided significant professional assistance
  • Statement as to which standard(s) the appraisal was written to, e.g. the ISA Appraisal Report Writing Standard
  • Statement(s) limiting the misuse and/or alteration of the appraisal report
  • Statement of confidentiality
  • Page numbers
  • Explanation of the grading scale or condition codes used
  • Statements made by the client, owner, or those present that might affect value conclusions
  • Appraiser's Qualifications Or more appropriately, lack there of!
  • Photographs of sufficient detail to identify the property
  • Documents from experts proving authenticity and/ or provenance
  • Test reports done on appraised items
  • Qualifications of any consultant used
  • List of the equipment used

Appraisal Body (For Boris's knowledge this is the item description)

THE RING {Missing or Incorrect Items}

   
    Metal Color
    - There but wrong!
    Gender
    - There but spelled wrong!
    Manufacturing Process
    Finish
    Measurement (LxWxD)
    Circa (age)
    Condition
    Trademark/ Manufacture
    - The ring was clearly trademarked and the trademark was on the receipt!
    Style number
    - Which the designer would have been more than happy to give him!
    Provenance
    - I would say a piece done by a jewelry art designer should have been included!
    Photograph Number
    - What a camera?

THE EMERALD {Missing or Incorrect Items}
    Weight - There but was it estimated? Or weighed directly? Or did he see the receipt, which would have given him contact information.
    Shape - There but it is a square emerald cut
    Faceting
    Physical Measurements
    Clarity I guess in his store they only come in one clarity?
    Color I guess in his store they only come in one color?
    Proportions Statement (good, fair, excellent, etc.)
    Finish {polish & Symmetry} Statement (poor, good, very good, etc.

Wow, Boris did a stellar job! Can I retain him to appraise my custom pieces. He was actually only missing about 10 times more than what he had. Is this what the JBAR means by Kindergarten level appraisal training?

After the appraisal review process I was asked to analyze the rest of the scenario and the statements made surrounding it.

Point One

As a trained and tested Graduate Gemologist, A Certified Appraiser of Personal Property, A Jewelry Designer, and a Bench Jeweler I cannot express to you greatly enough how it disparages everyone of us who are professionals when these quacks who have done nothing educationally lie and hold themselves out as our peers when the truth is they are not even qualified to turn on our microscopes!
The gold foil seal on his appraisal is a lie! He is not nor has he ever been a gemologist!
The gold foil seal did not come on the appraisal forms, he had to have these made up!
His son when contacted at 2:20pm on Friday December 17th 1999, stated that Boris's credentials were from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) This is a bold face lie! At the time as a chapter officer and now as the President of the Michigan Alumni I have contacted the GIA on two different occasions and obtained from GIA that Boris has never taken a single class let alone even registered for the Gemologist program. And for the record GIA does not certify appraisers, they only train Gemologists.

Point Two

The second part of his "qualifications" which were represented by Jakov which are at best laughable.

"Boris The Quack received his diamond and gemstone education in Latvia and Russia where he grew up and lived as a young man. He was taught by diamond masters and gemstone experts that would be the equivalent of the GIA. He has been in the jewelry business for fifty years and is very knowledgeable" Faberge must be rolling in his grave over this one! First let us look at this as intelligent individuals. If he has been in the jewelry industry for 50 years, which means that he had is training behind the iron curtain. The communists are not exactly the champions for fine jewelry since it goes against everything communism stands for. Three hours in a line for a loaf of bread but hey gemological reference material abound, hey can't buy milk but RI liquid no problem. It is also my understanding that Boris is Jewish, during this timeframe were not the Jews a persecuted minority class? Did I miss something when I lived with Russian Jews in Israel and was told of the horror stories of how Jews were treated during this timeframe? So the poor communist, behind the iron curtain, cut off from the rest of the world with absolutely no access to world wide gemological studies, testing, and research, in an area where obviously buying an emerald is more important than food, took in little Boris and trained him as an expert!

The equivalent to GIA? Unless GIA stands for Gemologically Impaired Area, I think NOT.

But hey what the hell good move Jakov, lets make a statement that cannot be proven correct or incorrect, but all of that aside they both still lied and represented his training to be from the GIA which we all know now is a blatant lie.

Point Three

Boris's knowledge of emeralds vs. Mr. Muzo's knowledge of emeralds


    Boris: No verifiable training
    A work product that blatantly shows no knowledge whatsoever
    Cannot even spell COLOMBIA
    Lies about qualifications


    Mr. Muzo
    40 Years in the emerald business
    35 years with retail stores that basically only sells emeralds and conch pearls
    6 Years as an emerald miner in Colombia
    A lapidary who facets emeralds
    One of the largest collections of rough and cut emeralds in the country
    Created the grading system used for the world famous Atocha emeralds
    The appraiser of all emeralds recovered from the Atocha
    Serves on the Mel Fisher Maritime heritage Board of Directors
    Leading advisor to James Hill's North American Emerald Mines
    Probably knows more about emeralds than just about anyone I have met in the jewelry industry.

Need I say more about point 3?

Point Four

"Our retail store is in a very competitive area. High quality jewelry is sold at 20-30% below what it is sold at in other areas."

Jakov, hey Yutz I'm a bit confused you tell the client that this is a very poor quality emerald. That it should be returned because of it's poor quality, but yet you state to the Jewelers Legal Aide that high quality jewelry is sold... So which is it or are you having a difficult time keeping the lies straight? The other problem is since your father used the WRONG market in his appraisal it is a mute point anyway. I appraise in this same market and guess what? It's value is $5100, so I guess you were wrong all the way around!

Point Five


"The emerald ring in question was appraised by us for $3500 because we believe that is what we would sell it for in our store"
COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT now say it with me C.O.P.Y.R.I.G.H.T. I.N.F.R.I.N.G.E.M.E.N.T.! Yutz, this ring is a design that is protected by international copyright law, YOU CANNOT SELL THIS RING UNLESS YOU FIRST PURCHASED IT FOR THE HOLDER OF COPYRIGHT! Or is it common practice in your store to violate the law (rhetorical question by your actions) and illegally violate the copyright of designers by having their pieces knocked off?

Point Six

"We firmly believe the price of $6000.00 was unfair to the customer" Well... As my grandmother used to say "I don't think that he has the brains he was born with". He saw the receipt and the price paid was $5010.00, and based on a proper appraisal the value was $5100.00. So $5010.00 sounds like a fair price to me. But!!!!!! The job of an appraiser is NOT to determine if a price is fair. It is to assess the quality, quantity, characteristics, and report the value! If one tries to set the value and determine if a fair price is paid lets look at another scenario. Client A pays $1495 for an 18" strand of cultured Akoya pearls 7.50-8.00mm. AA Quality. Client B buys the same quality strand marketed by Mikimoto for $3800. Did client B pay an unfair price? NO. They paid for the Mikimoto provenance. If you employ The "Jakov The Yutz Theory Of ValuationT" (which I have never seen referred to in any appraisal course) than anyone selling Mikimoto pearls, David Yurman jewelry, John Hardy jewelry, and Tiffany's as a whole are "charging UNFAIR prices".

Scene Thirteen (March 2001, Farmington Hills, Michigan)

We Are Clueless Jewelers is sued to be brought accountable for the damages that they caused


  Count     I:     Breach of Contract- Third Party Beneficiary
  Count    II:     Breach of Michigan Consumer Protection Act
  Count   III:     Negligence

Scene Fourteen (August 2003, Farmington Hills, Michigan)

The lawsuit is resolved. We Are Clueless Jewelers agreed to the following terms

Stipulated Order Of Permanent Injunction, And Dismissal With Prejudice
By stipulation of the parties:
It is hereby agreed and ordered that a permanent injunction be and hereby is imposed permanently restraining and preventing defendant We Are Clueless Jewelers from intentionally, or recklessly performing an appraisal of any jewelry sold by Emeralds Galore for any purpose. An appraisal shall be considered intentionally, or recklessly performed if the appraisal is performed either with actual knowledge that it was sold by Emeralds Galore or was performed without making inquiry as to the provenance of the item.

It is further agreed and ordered that the defendant We Are Clueless Jewelers will pay $3000 to plaintiff Emeralds Galore as satisfaction of all claims alleged in this matter.

It is further agreed and ordered that if defendant We Are Clueless Jewelers violates the terms of this injunction defendant We Are Clueless Jewelers will donate $2500 to the International Society of Appraiser's Educational Foundation.

For the record I am not a hired gun or appraisal headhunter. To error is human, we all do it. To blow an appraisal is human as well and trained appraisers do it, it happens. I spend most of my time training, mentoring, and assisting members of the trade with writing appraisals. This situation is not one of those cases, this was an arrogant, untrained, unqualified individual who lied, destroyed a sale, disparaged an honest individual and his business, and brought shame to the jewelry industry as a whole. My personal belief is that he got off way too lightly! But I guess that is just the way it goes. I feel very sorry for any consumer who is unfortunate enough to do business with Boris or his store!

Caveat

A Michigan Magazine in their September / October 2003 Issue has a write up on We Are Clueless Jewelers. In this article Jakov is quoted saying "This was my father's dream when he came here from Latvia, to build a business based on honesty and integrity........."

Does this sound like a correct statement to you?



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