Shortcut gems: Canadian jewellery store sued for selling wrong gemstone

Apr 3 2023, 8:08 pm

A jewellery store based in Vancouver was taken to court after selling a customer the wrong gemstone.

The respondent in the small claims case is Zadel Jewellery Studio, which Lisa Larkin was suing.

Larkin said the studio agreed to alter her ring to include a laboratory-grown blue sapphire. However, she received a blue spinel stone instead.

She claimed $1,747.60 as compensation.

Zadel denied breaching the contract that the two parties agreed to, suggesting it was unsure how Larkin ended up with the wrong gemstone instead of the blue sapphire she requested.

Larkin represented herself, while Johannes Van Tonder, an employee of Zadel Studio, represented the jewellery store.

The case spans nearly three years. In November 2020, Larkin emailed Zadel asking it to design and provide a custom gemstone ring. The sale was documented in an email invoice, and the total price was $3,135 plus tax. Broken down, the charges included $2,120 for the ring, $775 for a yellow moissanite stone, $180 for two diamonds, and $60 for repairs and a chain. In total, the credit card statement showed the amount of $3,212.16.

In December 2020, Larkin suggested that the ring was too tight. In October 2021, Larkin and Zadel agreed to remake the ring using laboratory-grown blue sapphire. In November 2021, Larkin selected the sapphire she wanted to use. In the same month, she paid $324.80 for the remake. In February 2022, Larkin received an appraisal from a gemologist who noted the ring used “synthetic blue spinel.”

The spinel resembled the blue sapphire, but the court documents state that “it is undisputed that spinel gemstones and sapphires are not the same.”

Based on what the court documents state, Zadel seemed genuinely perplexed by how the mishap happened.

The appraisal Larkin got for the ring was considered expert evidence, which was enough for the court to find that Zadel breached the contract.

Ultimately, Zadel was ordered to pay Larkin $1,615, including $1,457.60 for breach of contract, $32.40 in pre-judgement interest, and $125 in CRT fees.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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