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Diamond - ethical question
Old 09-04-2008, 07:44 AM   #1
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Diamond - ethical question

A friend of mind owns a jewelry store and he buys scrap gold. (He takes DL #'s when he buys anything as per local regs) Yesterday he had a guy walk in and pull out a bunch of gold which he sells him. Then he pulls a diamond ring out of his pocket which the guy said was about a 1/4 carat and he wanted $150 for it. He said it was his dead mothers or grandmothers or something. He obviously had no idea what he had. In actuality, it is almost a full carat , VVS1 or VVS2 (looking under a 20x loupe) probably G-H in color. Easily worth $4000+ retail or $2500+ wholesale. Needless to say he snapped it up. Story sounds fishy but.... who knows. Anyway, later offered me the ring for $1500 which is a really good price. Should I buy it? I have a feeling it was possibly stolen but..... gosh it is a heck of a good deal!!
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:48 AM   #2
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Can you look yourself in the mirror each morning knowing you probably bought stolen goods? Knowing your "good deal" is very likely the result of a despicable or even violent act on the part of someone else? If so, go for it.
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:52 AM   #3
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If I KNEW it was stolen then no, absolutely I wouldn't buy it.

The diamond trade is full of despicable and violent acts so any woman who wears one knows that there is a decent possibility that she is contributing to that in some form or fashion.
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:03 AM   #4
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If I KNEW it was stolen then no, absolutely I wouldn't buy it.

The diamond trade is full of despicable and violent acts so any woman who wears one knows that there is a decent possibility that she is contributing to that in some form or fashion.
.

You expecting anyone to say yeah, it's OK, take the probably stolen diamond cause you don't KNOW it's stolen, and the morals of the issue are irrelevant because there is corruption in the global diamond trade?

<sigh>
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:22 AM   #5
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I don't know that it was stolen, it was "possibly" stolen or it was "possibly" a guy who had no idea what the value of the ring was and my friend took advantage of that, another matter.... Anyway, you would be shocked at how many guys walk into the store thinking that they can buy a 1 carat diamond ring for under a grand.

I said that I feel that it was possibly stolen. But, the guy freely gave his DL# and the owner of the jewelry store said that he just seemed ignorant about the value, not nervous. But, perhaps it was stolen. It doesn't have a serial # so you have no way of knowing for sure.

Perhaps I have conflicted feelings about the diamond trade in general. I guess that is why I brought that up. Thanks for the comments, anyway. I guess I'll think about it some more.
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:25 AM   #6
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If my DH bought me a ring under those circumstances, I would be uncomfortable wearing it, because we've been robbed in the past and I would never get past imagining that it was stolen from someone who cherished it. Even if I couldn't prove it, I'd wonder.
Bad karma, dude. And yes, there is plenty despicable about the global diamond trade, agreed.
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
.

You expecting anyone to say yeah, it's OK, take the probably stolen diamond cause you don't KNOW it's stolen, and the morals of the issue are irrelevant because there is corruption in the global diamond trade?

<sigh>
Hi Rich.

People have the most amazing ability to reframe any argument and rationalize any behavior to their advantage or desired outcome.

The title of the thread is revealing. We face very few real ethical questions or situations in day-to-day life, and for the most part, know exactly how to act or answer when challenged.

Questions like the OP - they're not searching for answers, they're looking for approval.

Michael
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:35 AM   #8
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If I ever have another boat, I'm going to call it "Confirmation Bias", Michael.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:40 AM   #9
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Worst case scenario: If it was stolen and the crime gets solved at some point, won't you be required to return it to the person it was stolen from? Then you'll be out $1500 (or worse, considered to have abetted the crime). Regardless of the morality and your gut feeling that it was stolen (always listen to the gut!), the legal possibilities would also keep me from snapping this up.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:17 AM   #10
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If I ever have another boat, I'm going to call it "Confirmation Bias", Michael.


Only problem is you'd be forever trying to explain what it meant.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:20 AM   #11
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I guess the good question is whether any consumer is responsible for any immoral, unethical or illegal activities that were performed at any point during the creation or delivery of a product or service, start to finish.

That'd probably rule out about 75% of whats offered for sale these days.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:26 AM   #12
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I guess the good question is whether any consumer is responsible for any immoral, unethical or illegal activities that were performed at any point during the creation or delivery of a product or service, start to finish.

That'd probably rule out about 75% of whats offered for sale these days.
Wow... kind of what I was thinking.... what are you supposed to do, throw the ring away?

IF it was stolen, the person is out the ring... might have gotten some insurance, but might not... the ring is gone.. sorry, that is life...

The gold and the diamond WILL be used again... by someone, somehow... to much value to not do it...
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:51 AM   #13
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Texas Proud is correct. The metal and stone will be used again . . . maybe by someone who knows the circumstances, and maybe not.

If the OP sees this as an "ethical question", it would seem that she has answered the question already.

Maybe I am too strait-laced about stuff like this. I guess for the jeweler, this is business as usual? :confused:
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:58 AM   #14
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I have conflicted feelings about the diamond trade in general.
there's your answer. go with that.

edit: this is no different than...

“Was I in the wrong for ‘roughing’ this guy up? Well, of course I was. But it felt to be a good situation for it....”~~thefed
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:01 AM   #15
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I guess the good question is whether any consumer is responsible for any immoral, unethical or illegal activities that were performed at any point during the creation or delivery of a product or service, start to finish.

That'd probably rule out about 75% of whats offered for sale these days.
Well, it's admittedly not a bright line, but the scenario described was anything but routine and invited a much higher level of suspicion and/or denial than going to the department store and buying a diamond. The OP didn't post a message on buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks - he was motivated to post by the more uncomfortable aspects of the transaction.

Neither purchase is a moral "sure thing" but they raise my ethical hackles to much different extents.

The problem with the concept that any transaction might have an illegal trail behind it and therefor they are all the same ethically, is that it can lead to a kind of cynicism which dismisses any concept of right or wrong altogether.

Can't speak to anyone's concepts of "right" or "wrong" but my own but I would walk from a transaction where the indications were strongly illegitimate.
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:30 AM   #16
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Story sounds fishy but.... who knows. Anyway, later offered me the ring for $1500 which is a really good price. Should I buy it? I have a feeling it was possibly stolen but..... gosh it is a heck of a good deal!!
Anyone can buy a diamond. But a rare, undervalued, crime-tinged, karma-impaired blood diamond-- now that's a deal!!

Sounds like you have a master salesman masquerading as your friend.

How the heck do we mortals know a diamond's "fair trade" value? It amazes me how the human brain has no idea what something is worth until we're given a "basis" for "comparison". The book "Predictably Irrational" really opened my eyes to this sales tactic.
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:40 AM   #17
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The OP didn't post a message on buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks - he was motivated to post by the more uncomfortable aspects of the transaction.
We could take a little walk along that coffee analogy where we look at who picked, transported and roasted the beans and how much they were paid for their work...

It seems that the difference here is how much one is made aware of the potential legal/ethical/moral issues. If you dont know, it matters less?

Is this going to turn into one of those "If a bear shits in the woods and nobody is there to see it, did it really happen?" sorts of things?

This stone was probably mined by someone living at a slave level status. It was then run through a cartel that fixes diamond prices and foists marketing programs on people to get them to pay the exorbitant prices on what isnt really a very rare stone. Couples go into debt to the tune of two months salary for what is sold to them as an investment, an appreciating asset...which of course they would find to be worth pennies on the dollar if they actually did try to sell it. Along this ride a lot of people die, are extorted and many put out of business because they dont toe the line.

All of that, and the main issue is whether or not an item purchased at retail may or may not have been stolen, with really no evidence of that?

Hmm...
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:01 PM   #18
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What Nords said. We studied diamond marketing in business school, as an example of how you could take a very common item (diamonds are not at all rare) and get people to pay through the nose for it.

One key is convincing ordinary people never try to sell them, because if they did they'd realize how little they were worth and stop shelling out for new ones. "Diamonds are Forever" is brilliant, no pun intended.

This diamond, in dollar terms, is worth what little YOU could sell it for, and there's really no market for used diamonds.

That said, you might just LIKE having a diamond, which leads me to ask you -- were you in the market for a diamond before you were offered this one?

Buy it if it will make you happy. Don't buy it just because it's a deal, because it's not.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:24 PM   #19
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Wait a sec - you're friend is in business to make money, right? And yet he's willing to sell you a diamond for $1000 less than wholesale price? Why does he want to give you a $1000 gift? Why not dump it on the wholesale market for $2500?
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:27 PM   #20
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First, I am a female.... I have thought about this today and it still bothers me on several levels. First that it "might" be stolen or that that my friend took advantage of someone due to their lack of knowledge which is something else I am wrestling with. Either or brings bad karma so I think I will probably pass on the stone.

There is certainly a market for "used" diamonds of a carat or more. (they are worth or sold at about 30% of full retail) I could send this one off to a diamond broker I know and get at least $2000 and he would turn around and sell it for $2500 to someone who would reset it and mark it up to full retail. Indeed, a nice larger diamond is easily sold to a diamond broker or a locally owned jeweler. I absolutely agree that your average diamond is not to be confused as an investment, but there is indeed a market for them.
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