Oh my God, I can’t believe this!” screamed a shocked Nilesh Bhai, “I’m doomed!”, he exclaimed. I still remember the shock on Nilesh Bhai’s usually cheerful face that rainy evening of June 2003, when I told him that the gem stones, which had brought to me for inspection, were not real diamonds.
This is a true incident that happened to me during my early encounter with gemstones in 2001. Being born in a family known for its jewelry business, I was associated with gems and other precious stones since my childhood. Even before, I had any formal training or professional qualification in gemology; I used to assist my father in our shop and was involved in the family business.
During those early days, I was learning to assort diamonds and was fairly good at doing that, if not perfect. Lots of customers and fellow jewelers often approached me to identify various types of gemstones. One such jeweler was Nilesh Bhai who owned a shop just next to us.
Nilesh Bhai, known for his honest and fair trade practices, used to lend money against mortgage of jewelry, diamonds, gemstones etc. Whenever a potential customer came to him for evaluation or appraisal of a gemstone, he came to me for assistance and I managed to give him a fairly accurate value and appraisal rates. As a result, over a period of time, his trust in me and my skills grew.
One fine day, on a bright sunny morning in May 2001, when the sun was shining in full glory, an excited Nilesh Bhai came running into my shop. I, at once, comprehended that Nilesh Bhai might have made quite a catch. He placed a pair of diamonds weighing around 1.25 carats on my table and asked me to evaluate the same for him. After a minute inspection of the stones, I firmly stressed, Nilesh Bhai, these stones are yellowish in shade. I am sorry to say that you won’t fetch a great price.I continued, In my opinion, the maximum they can fetch is approximately Rs.1,00,000 a carat ($2000). Nilesh Bhai was, however, pleased with my free service and left the shop thanking me with his trademark cheerful smile.
Two years passed by and I had successfully completed my gemology and diamond grading course and also earned a professional qualification in the same. My course had equipped me with the theoretical knowledge required to identify gemstones. It was that rainy day of June 2003, when everything turned the world around not just for Nilesh Bhai, but also for me.
My good old patron, Nilesh Bhai, once again came to me with a pair of stones, similar to the ones he had brought two years ago. Since the person, whom he had lent the money had not returned, Nilesh Bhai was keen on selling off the stones to recover the money. I was, however, oblivious to this fact and this time again; inspected the pieces carefully. Now backed with the confidence that my course had given me, I explained, "Nilesh Bhai, these stones are nothing but synthetic moissanite, a very close simulant of diamond, which is not easily identifiable by most." An already shattered Nilesh Bhai stood in utter disbelief in front of me, when I revealed to him that these stones would fetch nothing more than Rs.30,000 per carat. ($750)
And now, it was my turn to get the shock of my life. The ground under me shook when Nilesh Bhai disclosed to me that these were, in fact, the same stones which he had brought to me two years ago for inspection. I could feel the thundering clouds and the wild storm blowing outside within my body. I didn't have a single word to console a dejected Nilesh Bhai, who left my shop that night. I thought I might never see him again.
Early next morning, when I opened my shop I met with a pleasant surprise. I saw Nilesh Bhai in his cheerful best mood distributing prasad after his regular morning pooja before he starts his business. He came to me with the prasad and exclaimed, "Jai Sri Krishna". I greeted him back with the same words. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this man smiling and singing hymns, who seemed to have forgotten whatever happened last night. After all, life's got to keep going, I thought to myself. By the way, one thing I am glad is that Nilesh Bhai's trust and confidence in me has only grown stronger, in spite of this incident.
This incident also taught me a lesson, I will never ever forget in my entire life. I learnt that it is pretty easy to get conned in this glittering world of gold, diamonds and gemstones, if one does not have the adequate knowledge and skill. I also realized that never identify a gemstone without proper instruments and never disclose the identification if one is not absolutely sure of it! Once again to quote the age-old adage goes "All that glitters is not gold". How very true indeed!!
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