It's Not Over Yet

June 1998

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.


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