The below story, whilst written for the US, is pertinent in Australia. I thought this article by Richard Drucker, publisher of The Guide and Gem Market News, was a really great reply to the Jewelry TV industry, Excerpted from Gem Market News, May/June 2006, Richard B. Drucker.
“Another frequently encountered investment scam often shows up on home shopping type TV programs. Many cable TV shopping channels exist
and the purpose of this article is not to stereotype these as all bad. Many legitimate shopping channels that do offer “good value” insist on representing the purchase as an “investment.” It is not. If the value is good, let it go at that.
The biggest problem in our industry is with shopping shows and even retail stores that insist on using the fictitiously high retail pricing. The consumer is then led to believe that they are buying these items for a fraction ot the retail price. Examples of this can be found at www.dsntv.com where consumers can buy a variety of gems with high suggested retail prices. (They are only one of many websites and retail stores practicing in this manner.) Has the consumer really purchased for 70% off retail? Does anyone actually ever pay this suggested retail price?”
“Unfortunately, our favorite gem show, the Tucson Gem show in February, is now greatly exploited by TV shopping shows. Even at the AGTA venue, home shopping television crews can be seen filming footage to take back to the stations for promotional purposes. For weeks after the show, the stations will promote the show and how their experienced buyers found the best deals to pass along to loyal TV shoppers.
We encountered this typical true story from a TV customer after Tucson. A woman in her 70’s purchased some andesine/labradorite
gemstones from a shopping network. The network built up these gems by promoting that this was all the material that existed and there will
be no more. Their buyers just returned from Tucson and bought all that they could find. Its rarity was compared to Paraiba tourmaline.
The trade was about to rename this material and it was worth much more than they were charging. She bought the whole story.
Then she called the TV station to enquire further on the gems she just bought. How should she go about selling them for her quick profit? They told her that jewelers would want to buy this and she should contact them and she will make money. I asked her the same question I have asked consumers for the last 25 years. “If it is worth so much more, why would they sell it to you for less if they could make a bigger profit from jewelers directly?” Yes consumers are naive, but that does not make it ok to be duped on national television shopping networks. (Editors note: Guide sources suggest that little of what has been claimed about andesine is true. It is not from the Congo and it is not rare.)”
It wouldn’t be so bad if they would just sell their goods for what they really are instead of “Gem gem gem”, etc. I think many of these
people who watch the TV shopping shows are really poor lonely souls “looking for love in all the wrong places,” just low hanging fruit
for the shysters to pick.
As a person who loves this business and is proud of the great and glorious company of reputable hard working and honest craftspersons
and jewelers, I take it personally when I see these phony and illegitimate sales gimmicks. Lets all do everything we can to keep
our own businesses straight and clean by educating ourselves and keeping current, and then to do the best we can to inform and advise
people about the “Scamologists”
Step down from soap box, exit stage right.