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My ruby has been lost/stolen? - steps to take?

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Hi everyone... Merry Christmas! Stay healthy!

I have not posted here for a while, family situation and business taking away all my time. But I respect PS and the forumites, and this is probably one of my last attempts to avoid a potentially messy situation.

In the beginning of the year, I bought a 3.26 ct. unheated Mozambique ruby. Certed and all.

It is not a pigeon blood color, but a ruby is a ruby, and I considered it to be a fair deal.

In late August of this year, I sent this stone to a famed Californian jeweler, Scott Schreiber. To be quite fair, I did not plan to...Scott was asking me to give him some custom work, with a deposit. The jeweler who I use most often was backlogged, and I felt that the ruby was worthy of Scott's talent, which he undoubtedly has.

My prior experience with Scott was mostly, positive, except for the length of time it took him to make my earrings... this time, he solenmly promised to finish the job in time.

In October, he asked for an extension till November 5th. I gave it to him. In mid-November, having returned from an exhausting trip to my father, I realized that I heard nothing from Scott. In short, I found out that his Facebook was abandoned, his two phones known to me were disconnected, the third one he would not answer, nor did he return my emails.

At that point in time, my lawyer advised me to start a formal process of retrieving the stone. However, I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. I respected Scott, and moreover, people in the industry told me that absconding with a client's stone was totally unheard of... in short, i just gave Scott some time to answer, to return the stone, to make an arrangement to pay back the deposit, should he have no money. Or, thought i, if he damaged the stone, to contact me and arrange for replacement.

Skipping the details, Scott was obviously staying in the house, and even posting, only not on his Facebook. But he never, ever contacted me. So I am making my conclusions. Today someone, not from people known here, hinted at the fact that the stone might have been long sold. I do not know any longer.

So I am preparing for a formal complaint. I do not know where it will lead me, I have all communication, and still keep the certificate for the stone.

Here is the question/comment I want to make. This industry, like many others, have switched onto online business. To a huge degree, it depends on someone's honest word. Reputations like Scott's are not made overnight.

In the wake of the New Year, I planned to buy a sapphire, or a colored diamond. I am not doing anything. Simply put, I am a little bit shocked. I had tiny problems, occasionally, with vendors. But I could never say that the industry was dishonest. But today, I am thinking, if one jeweler stole my ruby, how can anyone be trusted? So I wish luck to whoever buys a beautiful sapphire, or a yellow diamond, it is not for me.

Basically, the gist of my rant:

The picture of the ruby. I believe now it is stolen. Do not buy it if you see it...I still have the certificate, and I shall get to the lab, if needed, to prove. Unless someone recuts it... but it will be a huge loss!

screenshot_2015-08-24-16-40-26.jpg
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Another one. I have posted it in groups, before I sent it to Scott. It so happened that today someone hinted that the stone has been sold. All my beliefs, my moral code, is against taking someone to court...it is hard, emotionally, but I worked long enough to buy this stone, too, so with a heavy heart I am planning to start the process. The last deadline in the letter my lawyer sent to Scott was December 29th.

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kenny

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Niel

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Oh no. I don't even know how I'd feel right now of I where you.

What is your next step?
 

chrono

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Ark,
I am so very sorry. I am frankly stunned. I experienced something similar with a respected lapidary but the situation was very much less severe. I was prepared to press charges but in the end received my refund. I am sorry I do not know what else to advise. :(sad
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Kenny, thank you for your support. The testimonials do not allow adding info. I could leave feedback only on the photo of my earrings, I can not spoil joy for other people by adding on photos of their stones.

Does anyone even know what is going in with him?

There have been some real losses for the industry this year. And yet I never saw posts about people not getting back stones which they sent for a recut to famous cutters. Even if someone is not doing well, should not the family, somehow, step in?

Has it ever happened in the industry that someone got ill/or something else happened, and people were left deprived of their items? Forever?
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Hi Niel,

Well, as I have said, I have a lawyer who manages my businesses. He sent a final letter to Scott advising that should we not hear from him by December 29th, we are going to start the process of formally recovering the stone. Police and all. My lawyer will handle it. At that time, it will be totally out of my hands. Before, there are ways of contacting me, for Scott or people close to him. The same as I have used, Facebook, emails, my cellphone... I believe that any bad situation can be resolved by negotiations, and even a lost stone can be replaced, in monetary value or in equal quality stone. If the problem is with the deposit, it is even easier, since it does not equal the stone in value. Paying me a 100/MO would sooner or later cover it all. But hiding from the problem is what makes it bad.

Think of this, had Scott contacted me and asked for another extension in November, i'd probably say, OK. But he had not...so I formally canceled the order.
 

kenny

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I was thinking maybe he fell ill or died.

I could understand his website being taken down if he was incapacitated and able to pay his bill.
But (since I think FB is free) wouldn't a FB account stay up until someone with the password took it down?
And if he took his FB account down why didn't he remove his flickr acct?

BTW I paged through some his 70 or so flikr pages and noticed only one ruby that might be yours but it was more oval, had a lower crown and larger table than yours ... unless that's the recut.
Color and darkness differences may be attributed to manipulation of photography.

If this is your ruby, after recut, this ring is what people should keep an eye out for.

There are several other views/angles of this ring if you page through his flickr album.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/two_claws_jewelry/5175749297/

screen_shot_2015-12-25_at_4.png

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screen_shot_2015-12-25_at_5.png
 

GLbluegreen

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I am one of Scott's many face book friends. I see that the last time he posted anything in response to a poster was on October 2. It seems after that is when he went missing. Many of his face book friends are really concerned about him also and have reached out to him on his face book page but he has not responded. I don't know him well, but would surmise from those who do that this is out of character for him and I would suspect there has been some unforeseen event that has occurred and I just wish him the best and hope whatever the conflict is that it will soon resolve itself.
 

OreoRosies86

Ideal_Rock
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How awful! Of course no one wishes ill of the guy, and hopefully nothing bad happened to him, but this would be SO stressful.

It sounds drastic, but given all the people who seem to be looking for him, would a call to the police/wellness check be uncalled for? If someone disappeared out of the blue and left friends and business obligations hanging I would say something pretty extreme is up. People usually don't up and become thieves randomly.
 

Arkteia

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I did call the police and ask a wellness check in the beginning of December. Before I called the lawyer. My first though was, what if something had really happened? Autumn, the person might be feeling unwell, who knows? So I did the wellness check...the police told me he was OK and had problem with the phone.
 

Arkteia

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Kenny, thank you! It is a different stone. The photo that you have posted was taken in 2010 or so. But thank you for checking for me :)
 

Arkteia

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Dear Chrono,

Thank you for your support. Merry Christmas to you! I was thinking, long and hard, about all my grievances with the industry, and came to a conclusion that they were tiny! The worst thing I could ever remember was a vendor refusing to accept the stone back.

In this department, honesty means a lot. Stones being sent out on a memo, people being true to unwritten agreements, etc. I have not dealt much with foreign vendors, with the exception from the ones in Canada, but the gem and jewelry business in US and Canada is very, very reliable.

I think people may end up in dire circumstances. And I do not know what is going on with Scott. Several times, I have perticipated in charity auctions that people held for someone not doing well. And knowing how many people like Scott. But keeping friends wondering, keeping a client anxious to such a degree that I am deliberating quitting this interest of mine, gems, altogether, is not rational.
 

Andelain

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Wow. I really hope you get your ruby back, one way or another.
 

kgizo

Ideal_Rock
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I am sorry your stone and deposit are missing and I hope everything is resolved to your satisfaction quickly.
 

T L

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I am really sick and tired of people making excuses for people that steal. I don't care what his situation is, IT"S STILL YOUR RUBY and he STOLE IT! I am glad you're going ahead with legal action and I hope he gets punishment for the crime and/or you get your ruby/compensation back. Enough is enough :angryfire: :angryfire: :angryfire: :angryfire: :angryfire:
 

OreoRosies86

Ideal_Rock
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I don't think anyone is making excuses, but if someone with a really great track record and reputation (DanielM comes to mind...) poofs into thin air, you might think the person died or was victim to some sort of tragedy.

It's very interesting that the wellness check yielded that information. So by all accounts he is alive and well and just refusing to communicate with you or give you the ruby back? It is definitely war path time in that case. I know you have a lawyer who is handling the legal aspects, but if someone has stolen from you, can't you call the police and have their house searched? It's extreme, but it's also a precious ruby we're talking about, not a pair of sneakers.
 

OreoRosies86

Ideal_Rock
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It seems he reappeared on Facebook early this morning assuring everyone he is fine? This just gets curiouser and curiouser.
 

T L

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Elliot86|1451149224|3966429 said:
It seems he reappeared on Facebook early this morning assuring everyone he is fine? This just gets curiouser and curiouser.

He has reappeared since Dec 23rd on his Facebook page.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Dear TL,

Merry Christmas to you, thank you for your support! As I have said, the registered/certified letter has been sent to Scott by my lawyer advising that I needed the stone and the deposit back by December 29th, otherwise we (he, the lawyer) will start legal process. Scott may refuse to sign for the letter, of course, but it will be equal to admitting that he will not return the stone or the deposit.
 

kenny

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This is all so bizarre.

Destroying what appears to be a very successful long-term business for one ruby (that's not one of those flawless 42-carat Burmese $45,150,000.00 rocks once owned by Marie Antoinette that make headlines once in a lifetime at Sotheby's).
(Sure there may be other items he has apparently stolen ... but still)

How long could he live off the proceeds?
Then what?

It just doesn't make any sense.
I'm dying of curiosity about what's really going on here.

Scott Schreiber, I think it is likely that you're reading this.
We welcome your explanation.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Scott has sent me a pm yesterday. He asked to continue working on the ruby.

Now, this is what he obviously does not understand. I cancelled this order, by pms, in late November. Just because I do not want it period.

But here is the issue... the deposit, of course. It probably has been spent long time ago and the money is not there to be returned.

On a side note... this whole deposit issue. I know a brilliant jeweler who is ALWAYS late. It became so bad that once I asked to return the stone, and he called me and asked to still have trust in him, and finally, ended up with a beautiful ring. He said he had to work at it in-between bigger orders. I do not mind now.

He said that the issue of taking deposits from clients you know is a double-edged sword. If someone ends up backlogged, it is easier to return the stone than the deposit. I think for people who are slow workers, it may be an easier way to deal with the situation? Or, at least, now I'd rather pay via PayPal, or credit card, but never with a check.

{To new people here - consider it an advise to anyone who is working with an unknown jeweler. Or a jeweler like Scott. I called my bank. Unfortunately, a check which I willingly wrote out is not anything the bank would try to recover. A CREDIT CARD, or a PAYPAL, would have helped me out. Just an advise to people, it may happen to you.}

So... I am sitting on a fence here. My stone I have to get back. No doubt. As to the deposit, I have a feeling that I shall never get it back. In one of my earlier correspondences with Scott I offered him to send another stone which I could bear parting with, so that he can work on it for a longer time, if push comes to shove. Should I go this way, and just send another stone, the one I can bear waiting for a year to be set, after I get the ruby and verify it is really mine?

Scott sent me a photo of some stone that he has. It is hard to verify, but, as I have said, I have a certificate for it with the number, and also, a person here who saw the stone, so it should be enough, in case I do not trust my own eyes. I assume dimensions, origin, lack of heating, weight, is hard to really simulate. And after all, I know the vendor who sold it to me and is also aware of the story. Vendors know their stones...
 

kenny

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Wow, thanks for the update.
Was there a contract you signed?
Was a deposit policy on his website that you got a screen capture of before he took his website down?

If so, did it state the deposit is non refundable if you cancel?

Did he mention why he took his website and FB page down?
Is he retiring and just wants to finish up your job first?

Again, I invite Mr. Schreiber to post here.
Posting is probably the only way to save your legacy here on PS, if that matters to you.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Another thing. I think I understand why Scott is always late with his orders, but it is his deal how to run the business, and I am not going to give people advises.

But, after all, if someone is not great at negotiating, he can ask family members to step in, what not.

But here is how the behavior of one person might harm others.

In late November, I missed Intergem in Seattle. Partially because I was not feeling well, but partially, my thinking was, "what is the use of buying stones, if they might disappear like that one disappeared?"

Recently, I was offered a beautiful stone, my favorite one, and declined the offer without even asking the price. Same feeling. Who can I give it to set, if the person I trusted so much has broken my trust?

Several sites had beautiful sales. Same. (Gary Braun has beautiful stones on his site. My favorite ones). I have lost interest.

I have not sent the rough I intended to have cut, I have not visited the lapidarians. I understand that I am not the only person supporting this gem and jewelry business, :D , but Scott, if you are reading these lines, please consider that you have not taken something away from me... these are other people's businesses that you are undermining, too.
 

minousbijoux

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Why is it necessarily the case that you will not get your deposit back, Ark? Wasn't there a timeline expectation when you sent the stone and the deposit to him? Wasn't he obligated on some level to meet the timeline - or the extension that you subsequently negotiated? In the absence of him meeting a deadline mutually agreed upon, doesn't that give you the right to your deposit back, or is it the case that vendors can just hold your money indefinitely (which would not make sense)?

I'm not sure that I would want to continue the relationship once I had lost confidence/trust, unfortunately, :(sad
 

kenny

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Arkteia, I totally understand if you do not answer my questions above since doing so may have legal implications.

Sorry if my post made you feel like you were put on the spot.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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No, Kenny, I am willing to answer them because other people, newbies, may be reading the post, and people might learn how to protect themselves.

Honestly, I never saw Scott's site. I have seen only his Facebook. And ordered from him, once. A beautiful pair of earrings. I can make a whole post here - Scott has a "funny" habit of twisting clients' stories for a bon mot - but life has taught me tolerance...

It took him almost a year to deliver them. But the stones were small, and, more important, I was younger and healthier.

So, this time, what I have is a solemn promise to deliver in a month, and the solemn promise to deliver by November 5th (this is when he asked for the extension). There is absolutely no policy covering the deposits. And, he may really have no money. I have no clue.
 

chrono

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Hit and run post: the lapidary had spent my money. He had no money left, so he cut stones to sell at low prices and liquidated his inventory. I tracked his progress and received my 4 figure dollar amount back in a month. You must persevere!
 

partgypsy

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I would continue the process you have already initiated. You want your stone back, and you want your deposit back. He did not give any satisfactory explanation, just continue process to recover what you have given him. He has missed any deadline you have so the original agreement is broken.
 

marymm

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I echo other posters - get your stone back ASAP, then persevere and get your deposit back - I would not recommend under any circumstances sending him another of your stones regardless of its value.
 
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