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Fake Rough Diamonds Revealed by our Crafted by Infinity Friends (photos)

Wink

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
May 3, 2001
Messages
7,404
Some of you have met Lieve Peeters at Pricescope GTGs at JCK. For those who
have not, Lieve is chief gemologist for Crafted by Infinity diamonds. She is
also the judicial expert on diamonds for the Belgian Ministry of Justice,
has worked for the FBI and Scotland Yard and in many other expert
capacities. In short, she is an amazing lady and a very important person in
the world capital of diamonds.

lieve-640-white.jpg

Recently Lieve was asked to examine two rough diamonds in Antwerp. She
revealed they were definitely not diamonds, rather something else fabricated
to look and feel like diamonds. More detailed analysis in the HRD-lab
revealed they were moissanite. It follows a prior concern involving topaz in
July, so it's fortunate that Lieve and her colleagues are vigilant.

For your pleasure, here are photos Lieve sent me of the stones she
identified. This HRD report also has a photo of them.
http://www.hrdantwerp.com/en/news/yet-another-rough-diamond-imitation-analyzed-by-our-research

fake-rough-1.jpg fake-rough-2.jpg fake-rough-3.jpg

I thought our Pricescope community would enjoy hearing the story since Lieve
is regularly in America for the JCK convention in Las Vegas and has been
fond of meeting so many of you, professionals and consumers alike.

Needless to say, I feel honored to be associated with her company and the
diamonds they produce for me.

Wink
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9,370
Wow!! Going to read the article now...thanks for posting it.
 

ILikeShiny

Ideal_Rock
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Is there any consequence or punishment to the people/company trying to pass these off as diamonds?
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
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She does sound amazing! Her life sounds like the makings of a novel...Scotland Yard, FBI, jewels, Belgium Ministry of Justice...
Very interesting!
 

John Pollard

Ideal_Rock
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Is there any consequence or punishment to the people/company trying to pass these off as diamonds?
There could be, just not in the public eye. These stories always concern criminals conned by other criminals. Who's responsible, who knows? Somewhere, someone may lose an arm, a leg or even their life over this - but it's unlikely such retaliation would ever be directly correlated to this event.

Candidly, everyone who touched these is shady. Someone fabricated them. Someone sold them. Somewhere down the line someone purchased them as diamonds and tried to introduce them to the Antwerp market. Whoever did that is foolish and greedy. Foolish, because they bought "diamond rough" without understanding it (honestly, that's mind-blowing). Greedy because they bought from a sketchy source, probably paid far below normal value, and never asked for proper KPCS or AML documentation. You can be sure payment didn't happen through the standard, trackable channels. Most likely? They thought they were fencing stolen goods and could make extra money.

Cue P.T. Barnum.
 

ILikeShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jul 12, 2015
Messages
2,254
There could be, just not in the public eye. These stories always concern criminals conned by other criminals. Who's responsible, who knows? Somewhere, someone may lose an arm, a leg or even their life over this - but it's unlikely such retaliation would ever be directly correlated to this event.

Candidly, everyone who touched these is shady. Someone fabricated them. Someone sold them. Somewhere down the line someone purchased them as diamonds and tried to introduce them to the Antwerp market. Whoever did that is foolish and greedy. Foolish, because they bought "diamond rough" without understanding it (honestly, that's mind-blowing). Greedy because they bought from a sketchy source, probably paid far below normal value, and never asked for proper KPCS or AML documentation. You can be sure payment didn't happen through the standard, trackable channels. Most likely? They thought they were fencing stolen goods and could make extra money.

Cue P.T. Barnum.
Thanks for laying it out so clearly John. It sounds like a far greater consequence than I was thinking would/could happen...

And I also appreciate your viewpoint on everyone involved. That's what boggled me... how could no one along the string suspect that they weren't diamonds prior to submitting them in Antwerp. Perhaps it was a test to see if they could successfully introduce that product in to the market as a diamond :confused:. Regardless, grateful for people like Lieve!
 

John Pollard

Ideal_Rock
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Thanks for laying it out so clearly John. It sounds like a far greater consequence than I was thinking would/could happen... And I also appreciate your viewpoint on everyone involved. That's what boggled me... how could no one along the string suspect that they weren't diamonds prior to submitting them in Antwerp. Perhaps it was a test to see if they could successfully introduce that product in to the market as a diamond :confused:.
You're welcome. And I would say this was a one-off scam but someone tried to pass off topaz in this manner a couple of months ago. Also foolish. There's no way such fakes can enter the legitimate Antwerp pipeline.

She does sound amazing! Her life sounds like the makings of a novel...Scotland Yard, FBI, jewels, Belgium Ministry of Justice...
Very interesting!
Perhaps even an action movie? 8-)

Actually, I should mention that Lieve does appear in the acknowledgments of "Flawless," a novel about the Antwerp heist of 2003; the largest diamond crime in history. It's a true story and a fascinating read, for anyone interested.

Here's a snap of Lieve and Garry @ the Vegas convention, where you can see her face.
garry-lieve.jpg
 

rockysalamander

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 20, 2016
Messages
5,022
Some of you have met Lieve Peeters at Pricescope GTGs at JCK. For those who
have not, Lieve is chief gemologist for Crafted by Infinity diamonds. She is
also the judicial expert on diamonds for the Belgian Ministry of Justice,
has worked for the FBI and Scotland Yard and in many other expert
capacities. In short, she is an amazing lady and a very important person in
the world capital of diamonds.

lieve-640-white.jpg

Recently Lieve was asked to examine two rough diamonds in Antwerp. She
revealed they were definitely not diamonds, rather something else fabricated
to look and feel like diamonds. More detailed analysis in the HRD-lab
revealed they were moissanite. It follows a prior concern involving topaz in
July, so it's fortunate that Lieve and her colleagues are vigilant.

For your pleasure, here are photos Lieve sent me of the stones she
identified. This HRD report also has a photo of them.
http://www.hrdantwerp.com/en/news/yet-another-rough-diamond-imitation-analyzed-by-our-research

fake-rough-1.jpg fake-rough-2.jpg fake-rough-3.jpg

I thought our Pricescope community would enjoy hearing the story since Lieve
is regularly in America for the JCK convention in Las Vegas and has been
fond of meeting so many of you, professionals and consumers alike.

Needless to say, I feel honored to be associated with her company and the
diamonds they produce for me.

Wink
What a great story! Its not the first or last time people will try to get away with making money through fakes. The only good from things like this is that it pushes the technology and people to be able to actually detect such fakes which further protects the consumers and folks along the pipeline (think of all the technology development focused on fake colored stones).

I think if the fakes spend enough time in the pipeline, the rough could have been detected from the surface. SiO2's shiny/oily surface is due to passivation of SiO2. The more unpolished (un smooth) the surface, the longer the delay seems to be for the surface to develop. So, random chunks of Si02 pretty quickly develop a sheen...while highly smooth surfaces may have a long delay (and some may never develop it due to some silicon chemistry I don't begin to understand). So, just exposure to air will eventually lead to that oily sheen developing unless the "rough" is cleaned to remove the passivation layer.

Beyond the eagle-eyed, I wonder if there is something in the cleaning process of diamond rough that would separate it from Sio2? I know most rough is cleaned with vaporized gases to get into all the little microscopic cracks. I wonder if there is a chemical that would harm SiO2, but not diamond. Or, if there is something that would accelerate the passivation on SiO2, without harming diamond rough.Something for the chemist to ponder.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
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14,919
Good story. Bad guys do get caught - just a matter of stepping back - and hopefully there were smart enough dealers who caught it first time they were offered.
it is very close to diamond weight though - 3.22 times heavier than water vs diamond 3.42. But for those handling diamonds it should be easy just by the feel.
e.g. most of us old hands can roughly guess the gold karat of a necklace, braclet or ring of 9 or 10K from 14 and 18K just by the 'heft'. Gold plated silver is dead easy to pick up.
 

ChristineRose

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
926
Is there any consequence or punishment to the people/company trying to pass these off as diamonds?
I was going to say no, because there are hundreds of synthetic Mossanites for sale as diamonds on e-Bay right now. However these are labeled as lab diamonds, and synthetic diamond rough does not look like that.

It's more than a bit surprising because a high end diamond tester will detect these. I suppose the targets are ignorant tourists with those cheap diamond testers they sell on e-Bay. The e-Bay Mossanites are even labeled READS AS DIAMOND ON A DIAMOND TESTER as if your fiancee is going to carry a cheap tester around to impress her friends.
 

John Pollard

Ideal_Rock
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What a great story! Its not the first or last time people will try to get away with making money through fakes. The only good from things like this is that it pushes the technology and people to be able to actually detect such fakes which further protects the consumers and folks along the pipeline (think of all the technology development focused on fake colored stones).

I think if the fakes spend enough time in the pipeline, the rough could have been detected from the surface. SiO2's shiny/oily surface is due to passivation of SiO2. The more unpolished (un smooth) the surface, the longer the delay seems to be for the surface to develop. So, random chunks of Si02 pretty quickly develop a sheen...while highly smooth surfaces may have a long delay (and some may never develop it due to some silicon chemistry I don't begin to understand). So, just exposure to air will eventually lead to that oily sheen developing unless the "rough" is cleaned to remove the passivation layer.

Beyond the eagle-eyed, I wonder if there is something in the cleaning process of diamond rough that would separate it from Sio2? I know most rough is cleaned with vaporized gases to get into all the little microscopic cracks. I wonder if there is a chemical that would harm SiO2, but not diamond. Or, if there is something that would accelerate the passivation on SiO2, without harming diamond rough.Something for the chemist to ponder.
Chemists, indeed. From university I recognize SiO2 as being quartz, but Moissanite in my encounters is silicone carbide, aka SiC. Another characteristic of moissanite is that it's always opaque.

Regardless, as far as the cleaning process goes, any rough diamonds arriving to Antwerp are acid-boiled. So that would clear up any legitimate questions, haha. Ultimately, the only way you can badly harm diamond rough is with a hammer. Or at some insane temperature...something approaching 1800° Celsius if I am not mistaken.
 

John Pollard

Ideal_Rock
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But for those handling diamonds it should be easy just by the feel.
Absolutely right. I remember the first time I had rough diamonds poured into my hands. Literally cool as one can imagine. Nothing else like it on earth in my experience: The clinical narrative has to do with thermal conductivity. The human reaction is to call diamond rough "ice."
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Messages
7,062
Absolutely right. I remember the first time I had rough diamonds poured into my hands. Literally cool as one can imagine. Nothing else like it on earth in my experience: The clinical narrative has to do with thermal conductivity. The human reaction is to call diamond rough "ice."
Ohhhh, so that's where that term comes from! lol
 

rockysalamander

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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May 20, 2016
Messages
5,022
Chemists, indeed. From university I recognize SiO2 as being quartz, but Moissanite in my encounters is silicone carbide, aka SiC. Another characteristic of moissanite is that it's always opaque.

Regardless, as far as the cleaning process goes, any rough diamonds arriving to Antwerp are acid-boiled. So that would clear up any legitimate questions, haha. Ultimately, the only way you can badly harm diamond rough is with a hammer. Or at some insane temperature...something approaching 1800° Celsius if I am not mistaken.
Ack! Wrote wrong chemical name. Corrected below in bold...

I think if the fakes spend enough time in the pipeline, the rough could have been detected from the surface. SIC's shiny/oily surface is due to passivation of SiO2. The more unpolished (un smooth) the surface, the longer the delay seems to be for the surface to develop. So, random chunks of SIC's pretty quickly develop a sheen...while highly smooth surfaces may have a long delay (and some may never develop it due to some silicon chemistry I don't begin to understand). So, just exposure to air will eventually lead to that oily sheen developing unless the "rough" is cleaned to remove the passivation layer.

Beyond the eagle-eyed, I wonder if there is something in the cleaning process of diamond rough that would separate it from SIC? I know most rough is cleaned with vaporized gases to get into all the little microscopic cracks. I wonder if there is a chemical that would harm SIC, but not diamond. Or, if there is something that would accelerate the passivation on SIC, without harming diamond rough.Something for the chemist to ponder.


I think most of the diamond rough is (or at least was a few decades ago) with hydrofluoric acid and various others. From what I can determine, SIC would be inert to most of those also. The only other thing that should set SIC apart is that it turns color, temporarily, when heated. With my propane torch, I got some faceted moissanite to bright yellow (from India) or red (charles & colvard).:mrgreen2:
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
3,140
There could be, just not in the public eye. These stories always concern criminals conned by other criminals. Who's responsible, who knows? Somewhere, someone may lose an arm, a leg or even their life over this - but it's unlikely such retaliation would ever be directly correlated to this event.

Candidly, everyone who touched these is shady. Someone fabricated them. Someone sold them. Somewhere down the line someone purchased them as diamonds and tried to introduce them to the Antwerp market. Whoever did that is foolish and greedy. Foolish, because they bought "diamond rough" without understanding it (honestly, that's mind-blowing). Greedy because they bought from a sketchy source, probably paid far below normal value, and never asked for proper KPCS or AML documentation. You can be sure payment didn't happen through the standard, trackable channels. Most likely? They thought they were fencing stolen goods and could make extra money.

Cue P.T. Barnum.
Indeed, everyone who sold or tried to sell these is shady. The original fraudsters appear to have sculpted the stones into very accurate facsimilies of octahedrons with one goal in mind. Probably created a story that they were brokers for a supplier that could not sell them through regular channels because they were prohibited Zimbabwe rough, and they were therefore they were willing to sell them fraction of their true value (or some such plausible narrative). They would have targeted people who had fairly large amounts of cash such as relatively small drug dealers, knowing they would not likely get pursued. Every time the goods changed hands, the original perpetrators gained another layer of protection. So it's like a game of musical chairs where the last one holding when the music stops pays the price. Hard feel sorry for them, but at the same time, ultimately it is a chump who gets screwed, while the pros go merrily along to victimize others. I remember seeing many ordinary "investors" get caught up in gem scams back in the 1980s. The con men talk a really good game, and there is such a mystique around gems that regular people fall for. Of course the greed factor is always at play too.
 

John Pollard

Ideal_Rock
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I think most of the diamond rough is (or at least was a few decades ago) with hydrofluoric acid and various others. From what I can determine, SIC would be inert to most of those also. The only other thing that should set SIC apart is that it turns color, temporarily, when heated. With my propane torch, I got some faceted moissanite to bright yellow (from India) or red (charles & colvard).:mrgreen2:
Aha... Maybe it makes a nice mood ring for this guy?

ps-heat-miser.jpg

... Probably created a story that they were brokers for a supplier that could not sell them through regular channels because they were prohibited Zimbabwe rough, and they were therefore they were willing to sell them fraction of their true value ...
My theory too, based on coloration.
 

Wink

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What I found most interesting about Lieve's participation in this was that the fake rough was sufficiently diamond like to the party being offered the fakes that they had to hire an expert of Lieve Peeter's status to know for sure that it was not diamond.

Easy for us to sit back and think it should have been obvious, but apparently it was not.

Wink
 
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