Gemstones & Pearls:News
It's Not Over Yet
Fred Ward posts a $2,500 reward to identify who put on sizing beads
and treated an emerald ring at the center of controversy
Finding out who filled a large fracture in a 3.65-ct. emerald ring center
stone and who placed sizing beads in the same ring is Fred Ward's newest
quest. In hopes of reversing a recent court decision against him, his partner
and his company, Blue Planet Gems Inc., Ward offers $2,500 to anyone who
positively identifies the person or persons who filled the emerald and added
the sizing beads. It's a last-ditch effort to clear his name in a case that
shed light on the perils of gemstone treatment disclosure.
The emerald ring in question has been the focus of a heated court battle.
In July 1997, Ward was found liable for damages regarding the ring; he is
appealing the case. Ward must present his findings before June 15, when
the judge will hear the appeal. "We did not do the work [the sizing
beads and the emerald filling] or cause it to be done, yet we have wrongfully
been accused of these acts," says Ward. "We need to know who is
responsible to clear our names and overturn a wrongful judgment."
Ward says that because of the case's outcome, there has been an erroneous
perception that the treatment in the emerald was not disclosed. "We
did disclose to the consumer that the emerald had light oiling in small
fissures in the pavilion," says Ward. But the consumer, Doree Lynn,
hit the emerald ring against a kitchen counter a week after purchase, at
which time she saw a fracture in the center stone. The dispute in court
was whether the fracture was already there Lynn contended it was filled
and not disclosed or whether Lynn created the fracture when she hit
the ring against the kitchen counter, which is Ward's opinion. When Lynn
returned to Blue Planet Gems with her damaged ring, she also mentioned she
wanted sizing beads placed in the shank of the ring despite needing lotion
to remove the ring from her swollen finger.
The ring was in possession of Blue Planet Gems overnight while its goldsmith
inspected the ring. The goldsmith testified he didn't add sizing beads because
the fracture in the emerald seemed so severe. Ward says this was conveyed
to the consumer, and the ring was returned the next day. Lynn used an independent
appraiser's report (performed before the ring was damaged) and went to her
insurer, State Farm, for recompense. An arbiter then found State Farm liable
for the ring's appraised value. But State Farm rejected the non-binding
arbitration and went to court.
Ward says 11/2 years passed between the time he last saw the ring (and
photographed the damage) and the time the case went to court. Ward believes
Lynn took the ring for repair elsewhere and sizing beads were then added
to the shank. Ward speculates that this action might have caused the emerald
fracture along the top of the emerald to enlarge and that treatment was
performed at that time. Oil as well as a resin which was not Opticon
were found in the fracture.
The person or persons who performed the work are not being sought for
further legal action. "It is important to note that the persons who
did the soldering and filling are not involved in this lawsuit," says
Ward. "They did nothing illegal in performing the work. They will not
be accused or prosecuted by us."
Ward says anyone with any information can contact Dana Schorr at (805)
966-9966 or Gary Roskin at (610) 964-4270.
by Robert Weldon, G.G.
This photograph by Fred Ward shows a side view of the fractured and resin-filled
3.65-ct emerald as it appeared in April 1996, before arbitration. Attorneys
for both sides were present when picture was taken.
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.