Too Good to Be True?

Don Kogen leaned over the bag of rubies spilling onto his desk, his eyes wide with excitement. Kogen was talking about his business, Nuntiya Care Stone Co., Chanthaburi, Thailand, which owns theThaigem.com Web site. He talked about the wide selection of colored gems—with heavily discounted prices—available on his e-commerce site. He explained the labor-intensive technology behind it, the threat he thinks it poses to the traditional gem-trading establishment, and the future of gem trading as he sees it. Three Thai women working at desks in his office ignored his animated monologue. More than $100,000 in sales poured through his company that day. Meanwhile, outside in the dusty streets of Chanthaburi, hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of stones were traded the way they have been for centuries: by groups of men sitting at rickety tables. Kogen wants to turn this situation insi
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