Albany jeweler arrested for fobbing off fakes

An Albany-area jeweler has been arrested after allegedly selling “diamonds” that were actually synthetic moissanite and cubic zirconia.

Peter Spinelli, owner of Spinelli’s Custom Jewelry in Colonie, N.Y., has been charged with grand larceny in the second degree, according to Christopher Baynes, assistant district attorney for Albany county. He is currently out in bail.

“We have more than $300,000 in claims from some 60 cases,” Baynes says. “We also have two instances where he was said to have taken diamonds people brought in for repair work and switched them for lesser quality stones.”

Police began investigating Spinelli after they received two complaints of misrepresented diamonds. After the charges aired in the media, police have been “flooded” with complaints and inquires, local press accounts say.

Spinelli may also be charged with insurance fraud for falsifying appraisals, Bayne says.

Spinelli’s Custom Jewelry could not be reached for comment, and is said by local press reports to be closed.