Consumer Law

Suit claims sapphire purchased by lawyer for $9,000 is actually worth about $30

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A lawyer in Wilmington, Delaware, says he paid $12,000 in 1999 to surprise his wife with a 4-carat pink sapphire ring on her birthday.

Lawyer Sam Frabizzio says the sapphire itself cost $9,000, while the gold ring and six diamond baguettes added $3,000 to the cost. When Frabizzio had the sapphire appraised for insurance in December, he says, he learned the truth: The sapphire had been produced in a laboratory and was worth only about $10 when purchased from a store in Greenville, Delaware. Delaware Online has a story on Frabizzio’s lawsuit, filed in state court in Delaware.

The suit against Carl Doubet Jr. Jewelers and its owners seeks $37,500 to replace the ring, plus $2,500 that Frabizzio paid in premiums to insure the fake, the story reports. The suit claims deceptive trade practices and breach of contract; the jewelers say they did not extend any warranties and, in any event, the suit is barred by the statute of limitations.

A store owner told Frabizzio the stone had been purchased from an estate and had been certified as real by three separate, certified gemologists, the suit says. After Frabizzio complained, the store owner sent the stone to the Gemological Institute of America, which found it was synthetic.

The store blames an appraiser and has filed a third-party suit against her.

The store refused to cover the replacement value, but did offer to replace the stone, according to the story. Frabizzio’s wife, Mary Ellen, tells Delaware Online she doesn’t want another stone from the store because of the negative associations.

“All these years, I was wearing that fake,” she told the publication. “I feel like a fool showing off that ring. I can’t get that out of my head. Here all that excitement and Sam spent all that money, and it’s a fake.”

Updated at 12:06 p.m. to fix a typo.

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