The recent ABC News exposé on 47th Street jewelers not disclosing clarity enhancement could have been a lot worse, says Antoinette Matlins, who served as its on-air gem expert.
“The show could have been much more scathing,” she says. “The show visited six jewelers altogether. In five, the representations were entirely unreliable. Some blatantly lied.”
In the end, the show showed two jewelers in New York City’s “Diamond District” seemingly engaged in improper disclosure of fracture-filling and issuing inflated appraisals. It also featured one jeweler fully disclosing the treatment.
She says that the producers had approached her about following up on a 2002 Good Morning America story on non-disclosure of fracture-filling. They wanted to see if the previous story had made a difference.
“I thought this piece would be much better,” she says.
And while more of the jewelers did disclose the treatment than before, the way they did it was not satisfactory, she said.
“It was a step in the right direction, and absolutely better than it was,” she says. “Yet disclosing the treatment, but disclosing it incorrectly, is still abusing the customer’s right to know. Some of the jewelers acknowledged there was such a thing as clarity enhancement but they were all over the map in explaining it. There were a number of other people who did not disclose even with a little prompting and pushing.”
She adds that she is glad that the show did spotlight the one jeweler who did disclose, and included some buying tips on its website.
Dror Yehuda, owner of the Yehuda Diamond Co., which sells clarity-enhanced diamonds, tells JCK that none of the jewelers spotlighted were his customers.
“I decided a long time ago not to sell to anyone on 47th Street,” he says.
He notes that while his company is the highest profile distributor of clarity-enhanced stones, other smaller companies, mostly based in Israel, are doing the treatment.
“Just about every big company now sells clarity-enhanced stones,” he says.
“I thought it was a good program,” he adds. “I am happy when they spotlight people who are cheaters. I can’t believe there are people who still don’t disclose.”
Video of the program can be seen here: