Posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2022 at 9:50 am by LaLonde Jewelers
This will probably be one of my weirdest stories, but here it goes. Let me start by saying that this really happened.
In the early 1980’s, while I was working in Honolulu, I met a gentleman who said he could connect me to an American-Chinese doctor who had connections in the Soviet Union, and we could go there and buy gems from average citizens and bring them back to the capitalist countries like the USA and make huge profits. I’m thinking these types of offers don’t happen where I grew up. So, I thought that I should listen to more.
Turns out that this doctor is the team physician of the American Amateur boxing association. Also, he was the team doctor for the US Olympic Boxing Team.
When I go to meet him, he is a real hocus pocus kinda guy, and as I talked to him, he told me that he travels with the US Olympic Boxing Team, and that we have connections to the undeveloped areas of Russia and I need someone of your ability to see what gems that we need to purchase from the Russian people. As he is talking to me, a beautiful girl walked by the open office door and waved to the doctor and walked away. “Pretty girl”, he said to me. I said yes. He then said, “she used to be a boy and I did the operation.”
Now I’m thinking is this guy for real? Stuff like this doesn’t happen every day.
Dr. Wu also explained to me that Russia and East Germany were much further advanced in their sports medicine than the USA and we needed to catch up.
I told him I wanted to think about his offer to hightail it to the Soviet Union.
Shortly thereafter, I see his picture on the front page of the Honolulu paper and he is with Muhammad Ali, who came to see the Doctor; Dr. Wu was trying to help Ali make a comeback at the very end of his boxing career. It turned out that this guy was heavily involved with steroids and their use in the early eighties.
You need to remember this was the time of the KGB probably were the scariest people on earth. So, I thought if we got caught with gems in Russia, I think the Doctor would say, “I’m a doctor, he is the Gem Guy, “throw him into the Gulag”. And if that wasn’t bad enough, what if he gave me a shot and knocked me out and I woke up and I was a Girl?!? I said to myself “whoa, Dr. Wu”.
I never went to the Soviet Union with this guy, it just seemed safer that way.
Written by Dan LaLonde, G.G., G.I.A.
Lalonde Jewelers & Gemologists
The Gem Expert