San Diego

Man Takes Home Fake Display Earrings Instead of Real, $4,000 Ones

If you are shopping for diamonds, it is best to get a second appraisal

A diamond mix-up is a rare occasion with jewelers, according to a local San Diego jewelry appraiser, but a Carlsbad, California, Costco customer got caught up in a mistake he never would have known about had the store not given him a call.

“They looked awesome,” said Jeff Ladman about a pair of $4,300, 1-and-a-half carat diamond earrings he bought for his wife. Ladman wanted to show her how much he appreciated all she does for him and their triplet sons who he said are all on the Autism spectrum.

Ladman said some family money came to him earlier in the year, and he wanted to spend it on his wife. He went to Costco in May and bought the earrings right out of the display counter.

“I had no idea that they were not real in the display case anyway,” said Ladman. Costco called Ladman on Tuesday and told him they sold him fake diamond earrings by mistake. Ladman said a Costco representative told him the error was discovered during an audit.

“They said they made a mistake and we want to make it right. In fact, that they were the fake display ones, and they had the real ones,” he said.

Ladman went over with his wife’s fake earrings that she had been wearing every day for two months and was given a new appraisal and the real earrings. He said afterwards he went and got them appraised by an outside appraisal as well, just to confirm they were real this time.

At first he said he was angry, but after some time felt differently.

“It’s just a mistake, I make them four or five times a day, more if you talk to my wife,” Ladman laughed. “Having triplets teaches you to be patient and to breathe, I thought it was super cool.”

Jeff said the purchase was rare for him and substantial for their family. His wife works for San Diego County’s North Coastal and North Inland Administration Child Protective Services and he works part-time with the Encinitas Unified School District Special Education Parent Counsel and with the North County Consortium on Special Education. Ladman also spends time at home with his three boys, who are all 7-and-a-half-years-old.

“I just wanted to do something nice for my wife because she has to put up with me and the boys,’ he said.

An outside appraiser said if you are shopping for diamonds, it is best to get a second appraisal, and also ask the jeweller for a microscope to look at the real diamonds for inclusions, and some color, and to make sure the facets are hard. Whereas, the appraiser said fake diamonds are created in a lab and will not have inclusions or color, and will have soft facets. Also, after a year a two, the fake diamonds show wear and tear.

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