Here is a link to download the full story in MP3 for your car or on the go:
Olympia. Thank God. It is over. Finally! And well over too.
Congrats to the Chinese people. No major loss of face. Some expropriated and arrested grandmas, some faked children, some underage athletes, yes, yes, but nobody is perfect, especially not a big country.
What remains? For me as a gem trader one thing stands out: 50.000.000 carat of Andesine.
It turns out Andesine has won gold in scamming this year, even in the highly competitive field of gem traders.
For those who are not informed: Some, probably Chinese, mastermind bought 50 tons of pretty worthless Mexican feldspar years ago, artificially colored it red and created a new brand called “Natural Tibet Andesine”. Great name. Great origin. Especially for making it the Olympic gemstone and sell it to unsuspecting tourists at $500 per carat instead of $5, which is what it is actually worth.
Well, well, in the gem trade such a plot is no novelty; it has been done many time and it will be done in the future. What makes this case so refreshing is the scale of publicity. While Omega and GE have paid millions to be associated with Olympia 2008, Andesine’s mastermind just spread rumors and engraved the five rings into the gem.
So, we have a fake gemstone sold in millions as fake Olympic gem. That is gold in all scamming disciplines.
China, we forgive you. Nobody is perfect.
Why is stealing no good? I wasn’t really sure, besides a vague moral feeling, until I was mugged last week. Now I realize stealing reduces the value of goods.
From an evolutionary point of view it is as easy as that. After the Vikings visited a French village there was not much left except what little the Vikings could carry away. The rest was broken, spilled, burned, dead or traumatized. The village, as a value producing entity, was worth more than the plunder the Vikings dragged away. However the French had little to say to the Vikings until somebody came up with the idea of giving away the whole village and renaming it Normandy.
On my smaller scale some Sri Lankans climbed over the roof and into my unprotected office. They emptied a tray of gems and ran. Nobody got hurt, no window was broken, and yet the loss for Sri Lanka as a whole was much greater than the value of the stolen goods.
Without certificates, without grading reports and with no international sales channel those gems are now worth only a fraction. Sri Lanka as an exporting country has suffered a loss.
I think our bible-writing forefathers knew that for society as a whole stealing is a bad deal.
There may also be a reason why organized international theft is much less frowned upon that stealing somebody’s workshop tools in the village. While the latter damages the same society that also punishes the theft the former causes damage to a remote and powerless entity. The reaction of society varies thus from hacking off hands to praising the homecoming conqueror.
That is why stealing is bad and the UN is such a good idea.
I am running WildFishGems.com for a couple of years now; and I have always thought that writing about mining countries and the wildly unregulated gem trade is great fun.
However, my commercial site was getting too small for all those topics, and I didn’t want to distract my clients from buying gems in the first place. So, with the aid of Audra, my online editor & angel in the US, we started this site.
Here, I will share the stuff a gem trader gets to see in the remote parts of this world, I will foul my own trade and also bash east and west for ignorance and laziness wherever I can.
This said, I do think we live in a wonderful world.