Can you always trust your supplier?

An honest and trustworthy vendor is a rare gem, if you have one it is a treasure. However, no matter how long you’ve worked with a supplier or how great of a reputation he has you still need to stay vigilant. This is especially true today with the massive amount of treated or synthetic diamonds and gemstones entering the supply stream.

One of my clients, a jewellery retailer, brought me several trays of rings that he was considering buying. They were all 18K wedding/fashion settings containing centre stones in the 2 – 4 carat range. Even though he had a 20 year relationship with this vendor, he wanted me to grade the centre stones before spending a few hundred thousand dollars on the goods. He felt the stones were a bit too clean for the price. It turns out he was right to be suspicious… all of the centre stones were Synthetic Moissanite. The vendor was in financial trouble due to a robbery. He had the goods on memo from a new source at a “too good to be true” price and saw them as a quick way to get back on his feet. He later admitted that he was suspicious of the stones but didn’t want to know. He desperately needed money and tried to sell them anyway.


Check carefully every time you trade with a new/old supplier

In a situation with another client, a vendor was selling Irradiated Blue Diamonds. The vendor fully disclosed the colour enhancement and even provided a product information card for the consumer. This was typical of this reputable supplier in business for over 40 years. I’ve examined and graded their goods for my client for close to 20 years. They were always exactly as described. On a routine inspection of a new shipment I discovered that most of the blue diamonds were also fracture filled. At first the vendor claimed ignorance but later admitted that he knew they were filled. He felt it was unimportant to mention the clarity enhancement since he had already disclosed the colour treatment. This forced my client to contact his retail customers to explain the situation and offer full refunds. The vendor lost his biggest and oldest client.

Trust, but verify. It does not matter how long of a relationship you have with a supplier or how good his reputation might be; you still need to do your own due diligence. Even good vendors can turn bad. It never hurts to take a random sample of goods to the lab for a complete analysis of the stones and the metal. It is not unheard of to find slightly under-karat gold, especially in these economically volatile times.

Hopefully everything will be exactly as described and you can go about your business with confidence and pride. If there is a problem contact the vendor and have a calm, frank discussion about the situation. A good vendor will do everything possible to make it right and re-earn your trust and future business.

Don’t just take someone’s word at face value. Be sure of the products you are buying. After all it is your reputation on the line

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