Peter Marsh of Black Star
Jewelry explains to the Club the ins and outs of buying Sapphires and
Gem fraud and how to recognize it was the topic at the
March 11 Sunday meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club. Peter Marsh with
Black Star Jewelry has spoken to the Club several times but this time,
instead of having some lovely young ladies modeling jewelry, he began by
introducing some “little gems” from the KC Dance Studio.
Black Star Jewelry is one of the sponsors of KC Dance
Studio and brought several children to entertain everyone with a few dance
numbers before starting his talk. And entertaining they were; dressed in
traditional Thai style garb, this group of 10 were enthusiastic in their
performance. Peter pointed out that they recently won an award in Bangkok
for Thailand’s Got Talent and recommended everyone read the current article
in the March 9th Pattaya Mail on their performance
Peter brought along a troupe
of little gems from the award winning KC Dance Studio to dazzle us.
After the dancing was over, Peter then got into a more
serious subject, gem fraud. With the aid of pictures he described several
aspects of the mineral Corundum (rubies and sapphires). He described both
types of gems; although made of the same mineral, they have distinct
He noted that fraud in the sale of gem stones is common
and that the buyer should have some knowledge about gems and the fraudulent
practices of unscrupulous dealers. He first defined fraud from the Oxford
English Dictionary as a “criminal deception, dishonest artifice or trick.”
Peter emphasized that there was no “fraud” if there is proper “disclosure.”
That is, if the gem stone is properly identified and all details are
disclosed about its makeup and quality, then there is no fraud on the buyer.
Peter then described each type of ruby and gemstone and
the common “tricks” used to sell fake, imitation, or poor quality stones to
the unknowing buyer. He noted that many scams involved gems that were
already in settings with closed backing, thus making it much harder to
detect the true nature of the stone. He mentioned that fake stones were
often glass or a different kind of gem then that being represented, for
example a garnet stone is often represented to be a true ruby or will be
called by a misnomer, such as calling it a Montana Ruby.
Pat Koester aids Hawaii Bob as
he reads off the names of 15 Lucky Draw winners.
Imitation stones are those that are made in a laboratory
- often called man made. Although they are a real gem stone, they are not
natural and therefore not as valuable. He pointed out that there are many
companies that make gemstones. Imitation gems can be distinguished from the
real thing sometimes if the price is too low, or if the suspect gem is of
perfect clarity with no inclusions, as flawless gems are extremely expensive
and are not bargain buys found in night markets.
He also described methods used to make a poor quality
stone look more valuable then it really was. Hints to avoid the ever present
gems scam were given. Deceptive practices will include situations when a
stone, even though it is genuine, could be claimed to be of higher quality
and sold as such.
He provided illustrations of the various rubies and
sapphires describing the characteristics that separate the genuine from the
fake. He also described several tricks used to make the quality look higher
than it actually is. He suggested that if you were in the market for a very
expensive stone, you should get both your own laboratory report and
appraisal - do not use the sellers. At the conclusion of his talk, he
answered many questions from the audience. He said that if anyone wanted
additional information, to visit Black Star Jewelry in View Talay V or to
contact him on 087-062-9672. The website address of Black Star Jewelry is
Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg called on Pat
Koester to conduct the always informative Open Forum where questions are
answered about expat living in Thailand, recommendations made about movies
and restaurants, and occasionally the telling of a joke or two. The Pattaya
City Expats Club meets every Sunday at the Amari Orchid’s Tavern by the Sea
Restaurant. Read more about the Club’s activities on their website at
Offers expert consulting
The new president of the Thai-German Chamber of
Commerce, Karl Heinz Heckhausen (2nd right) amongst close friends.
The newly elected president of the Thai-German Chamber of
Commerce said that while German businesses are doing well in the kingdom on the
150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, competition
is getting tougher.
“German companies in Thailand have been well received, but
competition is getting fierce. Foreign competitors are offering good products
and promoting them with low prices,” said Karl Heinz Heckhausen at the chamber’s
March 9 meeting at the Paulaner Beergarden at Royal Garden Plaza.
Heckhausen told those enjoying the Bavarian buffet and
pitchers of beer that the chamber feels a duty to support German companies in
Thailand and offered, upon request, to dispatch experts to member companies to
discuss product development, production and distribution. The chamber also can
facilitate contact with government agencies, he said.
The new president also took the opportunity to thank previous
committee members, German Consul Paul Strunk and those who did or didn’t vote
for him to head the chamber, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Another new face in town is the
new boss of Lufthansa in Thailand and its neighboring countries, Dirk Grossmann.
president of the Royal British Legion Thailand presents Prince Andrew with a
Formed just five years ago with 15 members, the Royal British
Legion Thailand now boasts more than 300 members, branches in Pattaya and Chiang
Mai, eight trained caseworkers and a welfare and fundraising effort that
collected 1 million baht last year for ex-servicemen, their dependents and even
The main fundraiser of the year remains the “Poppy Appeal,”
but events are scheduled monthly through June to help those in need in the
ex-services community and their dependents throughout the world.
The Royal British Legion has many things it can do and some
it cannot. For beneficiaries it can provide advice on war pensions,
compensations, disability claims, hospital and housebound visitors and
immediate-needs grants. The Immediate Needs Program is designed to help get
individuals through a temporary crisis and covers such things as household
goods, priority debts, food, clothing, funeral and housing costs among other
Secretary Bert Elson welcomes
What the legion can’t do is provide loans or clear business
debts, cover legal expenses, pay for care homes or pay for medical care. (It
works with Almonise along with other charities to help pay for medical care.)
There are a number of conditions that need to be met before
welfare services can be provided, of course. Primary among those is verification
In addition to helping traditional beneficiaries, legion
members this year pledged to help the Thai Veterans Hospital. While the legion
cannot donate funds under its own name, members have pooled funds through
sponsor Tropical Bert’s pub and guesthouse. More than 100,000 baht in medical
equipment for the Thai Veterans Hospital in Bangkok was raised, mostly to go for
a large supply of needed adult diapers.
Bert introduces the Prince to our
oldest member Brian Davidson.
Legion members also helped both Banglamung and Chonburi
hospitals as a thank you from not just the legion, but expats and tourists who
find themselves under their care. While those with private insurance will
usually end up in a private hospital if injured or ill, the legion’s welfare
staff visit people in the government hospitals with little or no insurance or
funds to cover their care.
Banglamung is often the fist port of call for these people to
be assessed and treated. If their condition is serious, they will be transferred
to Chonburi Hospital, which has better facilities. Both are very busy government
hospitals, with Chonburi putting about 1,000 people in a space with just 852
beds. Staff levels and facilities may not match private hospitals, but patients
are generally treated as best as they can be.
HRH meets the Navy lads.
Banglamung Hospital was short of wheelchairs, so 10 were
provided. Chonburi was given a vital signs monitor for its intensive-care unit.
Besides hospitals, members also donated more than 40,000 baht
in flood-relief goods last year.
With such outreach, the welfare fund needs constant
replenishment. It got a boost when the George and Dragon Bar entered the Pattaya
International Bed Race, raising 25,000 baht.
The next fundraisers will be April 25 - ANZAC Day, with two
events. One will be a team of cyclists pedaling from Hellfire Pass to the ANZAC
DAY service. The second will begin six days earlier cycling, kayaking and
walking from Three Pagodas Pass to the service. Sponsorships can be signed up
for at Tropical Bert’s or Shenanigans Jomtien.
Other upcoming events include “Gurkha Curry Night” May 5 at
Tropical Bert’s with the Gurkha guards from the British embassy down to provide
an all-you-can-eat dinner. And June 2 will be the Queen Elizabeth II jubilee
night. Details to follow later.
The Prince chats to Richard and
Regular meetings are held each Sunday at 2 p.m. at Tropical
Bert’s. Membership is open to all. The only pre-requisite is a belief in the
legion’s motto of “service, not self.” Membership is 800 baht per year, with 600
baht of that going directly to help run the organization at the head office. The
balance remains at the branch level.
The legion has a busy social calendar. A good example was the
Feb. 29 visit by 50 legionnaires to meet with Prince Andrew. The Duke of York
was in Thailand and took the time to meet with legion members at the embassy’s
The duke took time to meet and chat to all members and their
wives, including our oldest member, Brian Davidson, and members of our welfare
team. He also presented a “Friend of the Legion Certificate” to the British
embassy for the help it has given the legion over the years.
Prince Andrew presents British
Ambassador Asif Ahmed with a Friend of the Legion Certificate.
Chatting with the wives.
Presenting Dr. Kunagorn
Wongtimarat, head of Social Welfare Chonburi with a vital signs monitor.
Some of our elder members at the
Thai Remembrance Day.
Thai Veterans Hospital.
Flood relief Items in tropical
10 wheelchairs for Banglamung
The lads at the start of the Bed
The end of the bed race, well
Denchai Sornchai (left) and
Pornthiwa Pornprapha cut the ribbon to officially open the new facility.
Chonburi’s Nong Ta Un community celebrated the opening of a
new emergency medical building donated by Siam Kolakarn Music School.
The Pornprapha family, which owns the school, donated the
850,000 baht facility to mark its 60th year in business. The “60 Years Siam
Kolakarn Building” will be open around the clock to handle emergency cases at
Nong Ta Un Hospital. The family’s donation also included upgrades to the parking
Music school managing director, Pornthiwa Pornprapha, helped
cut the ribbon on the new building March 9, along with Chonburi Public Health
officer Denchai Sornchai.
Nong Ta Un Hospital opened in 1991 as a health center but was
upgraded to hospital status in 2011. The facility, on a little more than a rai
of land donated by Prasit and Boonchuay Munkhung, has slowly expanded with
donations from other community leaders.
A look inside the new emergency