Posted on Thursday, December 19th, 2019 at 11:47 pm by LaLonde Jewelers
When I first got to Hawaii, I landed a job as a gemologist at a jewelry store called the ‘Diamond Exchange’. Man, I thought I was a big shot. Then I found out that there were bigger shots than me.
Folks would come in to have their jewelry appraised. I spent about 9 months there before going out on my own.
One day a gentleman came in to have some diamond rings appraised, I remember his name was Al. Well, Al had some good-sized diamonds. He wore a 5-carat pinky ring. He would stop in on occasion and sit with me for a while as I analyzed his rings.
The store was situated in a business district with restaurants and nightclubs. One night there was a shooting at a nightclub near our store. Well, the next day ol’ Al was sitting in my office and some official looking gentlemen came into the store. They were FBI and ATF agents investigating the shooting from the night before. They knew my boss Walter and they had stopped in to say hello. To my surprise they knew Al. I said “Al, how do you know those guys?” “Oh well, they are investigating me on some pornography charges, but they don’t have anything on me”, replied Al.
Next thing I know I’m in an office in downtown Honolulu talking to the Federal Attorney General for the state of Hawaii.
I had to bring any paperwork I had relating to Al so he could ask me questions. He was a big guy, looked like an ex-marine. He looked over my notes and said, “didn’t you think it strange that this guy had so many diamonds?” I looked at him and said “I’m a gemologist, everyone that comes to me has this many diamonds.”
I told him “It is not my concern how they were able to acquire them, I would think that is more like what your people do.“
He said, “You can leave”. Whew!!
Then an investigator from US Customs came to see me. Mardell, a Norwegian-American gal, about 6 feet tall, blue-eyed blond and beautiful. All I could think was, “man they sent the right girl!" I would have told this girl anything I knew but she found out I didn’t know much. So, she dropped me.
Well my undercover days were over. I did find out that they were able to pinch Al and he did some time. As I said before, all this extra stuff didn’t concern me. I’m paid to look at diamonds.
Written by Dan LaLonde, G.G., G.I.A.
Lalonde Jewelers & Gemologists
The Gem Expert