Cat & Moiss: Con artists have tricked pawnbrokers by selling them synthetic moissanite as diamond. Jewelers may be next.

Leslie E. Eckman was instantly suspicious when the well-dressed, unfailingly polite man strolled into her store, Ace Diamond of Boardman, Ohio. For one, he was walking – in her town, most people drive. For another, he tried to sell a 1-ct. diamond for $1,500, which is the store’s normal buying price, not the standard price offered to consumers. “The man knew exactly how much to ask for,” says Eckman. “Consumers never know. They usually want something like $6,000.” But the final straw was the stone’s “grayish-green” color – typical of a synthetic moissanite, the diamond lookalike introduced last year by C3 of Research Triangle Park, N.C. And while the stone passed its thermal test, there was something unusual about it. “The girdle was really thick,” Eckman says. “And it had too much of a prismy effect. There were too many colors going through it.” Eventually,

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