#28 - 20/20 Vision

Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018 at 7:24 pm by LaLonde

So, I watch numerous shows involving investigative reporting for various news agencies. Some are very entertaining and involve a lot of hard work and skill. The investigator can be very conscious of his work and of the content of his work. In a lot of cases you are relying on them to give accurate versions of their story.

I don’t think you can get the proper feel for some of these episodes unless you are directly related to it. When I would see a movie out of Hollywood depicting some sort of diamond theft or heist, I would say diamond dealers never store diamonds like that or don’t use that type of terminology. It just never happens that way. Well that’s Hollywood. The storyline has to flow so they can keep their audience.
So when the investigative reporters come out with a diamond story I pay attention.

A particular story came out in the early 1980’s that I found to be quite interesting. The show was 20/20 news. The investigator strolled around the diamond district in New York and went to a number of establishments and showed the person behind the counter a simulated diamond. Many more times than not the salesperson would say “what a beautiful diamond”. Well the story would go on and would be summed up that even the experts could not tell the difference between a diamond and the recently developed cubic zirconia.

Well I thought, first of all when I would hire a sales person, they would be people quick on their feet. They are standing behind a counter, so they should look and act like they are knowledgeable. You learn quickly not to offend a client and say positive things. The last thing you say is “your stone looks like junk”. How much do you think that person is going to buy? They eventually learn to say “that is a beautiful stone” and leave the work diamond out of it.

When I would go to a shoe store to buy a pair of shoes and walk out with four pairs, that is the sales person I want. They all say “I don’t know anything about diamonds” and I would say “you don’t need to, YOU know how to sell”.

So back to the investigative reporter. I sent a letter to the news room and offered to go on their show, I told them they could blindfold me and I would be able to handle 20 loose stones and be right 20 out of 20 times about which ones were the diamonds.

I never heard back.

It sounds like a lot of hocus pocus or a magical trick when you think about it, but it’s not so amazing. All stones have different hardness and densities. When you squeeze a diamond between your fingers you can feel how sharp the edges are compared to all other softer stones. When you drop the stone on wood or a glass surface it has a distinct sound, not like any other stone. So if you do it enough you won’t make a mistake.
Diamond people, cutters, sorters, merchants, dealers and gemologists, all people who pick up stones and set them down would know instantly a diamond or a different stone. These are the experts, not the sales people.

There are a lot of great reporters and a lot of good stories, but pay attention to them and when it touches on something in your field of interest, you decide on the degree of accuracy.

Written by Daniel J. LaLonde

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