Jewelry buyer Craig Gaffney had just started the day of his purchase of a diamond ring that he would soon wear to a wedding.
“I was thinking, ‘Wow, this is going to be one heck of a night,'” he recalls.
But he was wrong.
After a little more than a month, Gaffneys first ring had been stolen from him, and he was looking for a second ring when he noticed a buyer at Rose gold jewelry in San Francisco, Calif.
“And then, he came and he said, ‘Hey, what’s this?
A diamond ring?'”
Gaffreys eye fell on a gold ring, and the buyer gave him a ring he hadn’t seen in years.
“He was so nice and he told me what was in it, and I’m like, ‘Oh, this?
Oh my God, what is that?'” says Gaffrey, who was able to pick out a ring from the pile of jewelry that had just arrived.
“It was like the most beautiful ring I had ever seen.”
It’s a rare sight for jewelry buyers to find stolen rings, and Gaffey says it was a “glorious moment” to have found something that wasn’t from a local jeweler.
“The fact that this ring came from an auctioneer who was actually selling from his own pocket and didn’t even know about the stolen ring was pretty cool.”
The seller’s name has been withheld to protect the buyer’s identity.
“You never know when you’re in this business and you’re just walking into a store and there’s a guy that is not your typical customer,” says Giffreys wife, Kristin.
“We’re really excited about this one.”
While some people may see stolen rings as the latest form of fraud, others believe that the practice of ring theft has a long history in the industry.
“There are a lot of people who are just out to make a quick buck,” says Michael Meeks, CEO of the American Jewelry Institute.
“That’s what the rings are for, it looks good on your finger.
The problem with this is that you’re making a quick dollar and that’s the main thing.”
Meeks says it’s up to jewelers to make sure their rings are returned if stolen, and if they’re found to be fake, it can be a huge problem.
“When it comes to stolen rings and stolen rings are not as common as people think, they happen to be a very small fraction of the total number of thefts that occur,” he says.
“What we do know is that we do hear a lot about jewelry theft and people are concerned about it.
We are really glad that there are some good practices out there that are out there to protect people’s jewelry.”
While jewelry thieves are increasingly targeting high-end customers, many people are still hesitant to buy from jewelers.
“If you’re a low-end customer, you’re going to go to the jewelry store to see if there’s anything you might want to purchase,” says Meeks.
“So, for most people, they’re not going to put money into the jewelry stores to get a ring.”
With a price tag on stolen rings reaching into the millions, it is difficult to keep jewelry thieves off their tail.
“A ring from an honest, reputable source is a pretty good deal,” says Jody Sperling, an attorney with the nonprofit American Jeweler’s Institute.