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Woman's gem swapped out by local jeweler

PORTLAND, Ore. — Adene Schroder knows her gems.

Her grandfather worked in the jewelry business. So when the Gresham woman picked up her ring after having it resized, she quickly recognized something didn’t look right. The stone had been swapped. Her cloudy green emerald had been replaced with a clear, brightly colored gem.

“It was like there was a 7-Up bottle that somebody cut up and put in my ring,” said Schroder.

Incidents of jewelers swapping stones are extremely rare say consumer advocates. But it does happen. Consumers can take precautions to protect themselves.

“It’s really not a common occurrence, however it is a concern. These can be very, very expensive items,” explained Michelle Schaffer, Oregon Regional Manager for the Better Business Bureau.

Adene Schroder gets a little choked up just talking about her ring. It was a special gift.

“My boyfriend had this ring that was his grandmother’s and he knew how much I loved emeralds. It is my favorite stone,” said Schroder.

The Gresham woman needed to have the ring resized so she took it to Fred Meyer Jewelers. A week later, Schroder picked up the ring from the Gresham store.

“It was not my stone! I told them it was not my stone,” explained Schroder.

She was heartbroken. She felt horrible. Her boyfriend’s family heirloom had been replaced with a different gem.

“It’s no longer his grandma’s ring. That was her stone,” said Schroder.

Fred Meyer Jewelers doesn’t know what happened to the original emerald. The company admits, the gem was replaced without the customer’s knowledge or consent.

“What appears to have happened was her stone likely was broken during the repair process, which is very common with gems and it was replaced,” explained Melinda Merrill, manager of community affairs for Fred Meyer.

“The problem is the jeweler didn’t tell us that he replaced it. So the jeweler has been terminated,” said Merrill.

Fred Meyer Jewelers said it allowed Schroder to pick a new emerald and apologized. The company cannot recall a similar complaint like this one.

“This is a terrible, but unique situation,” said Merrill.

Recently, the issue of gem swapping has come to light after a BuzzFeed story about customers complaining their diamonds had been unknowingly replaced with lesser-quality gems at the popular jewelry chain Kay Jewelers.

The owner of Kay, Signet Jewelers Limited has vehemently denied switching customers’ gems.

"We strongly object to recent allegations on social media, republished and grossly amplified, that our team members systematically mishandle customers’ jewelry repairs or engage in ‘diamond swapping,’" wrote Signet Jewelers Ltd. in a statement. "Incidents of misconduct, which are exceedingly rare, are dealt with swiftly and appropriately."

Consumers can help protect themselves when having jewelry cleaned or resized.

“Bring all documentation,” said Michelle Shaffer of the BBB. “Make the jeweler be aware that you know your diamond or your stone very, very well.”

Consumers may want to stay in the store while the jeweler is cleaning your ring. Typically, it doesn’t take long.

Use a reputable jeweler. Find someone you trust or a jewelry store that has been referred by family or friends.

Consumers should check your diamond or gem while you are still in the jewelry shop. If you come back later, there’s no way to prove that your stone has been switched.

It may also be helpful to take photos of your gem.

“What’s going to save me in this whole ordeal is that I documented it,” said Schroder. “I knew what my ring looked like. I knew my stone.”


Fred Meyer Jewelers

Rated with 1 star
Destiny of Andover, KS Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 20, 2021

I have had my wedding ring for 2 years now and there has been 2 diamonds lost from it. I sent it in for inspection and 2nd missing diamond because they closed all their stores in Wichita and now i have to send it in. Anyhow, it had been gone for 3 weeks and I just got it back yesterday. They had sent it back to me with an additional diamond missing out of the ring. I told the customer service lady that I am extremely upset about this and I feel like they don't even inspect my ring at all. This is horrible. I love my ring and the way it looks but I almost wish we didn't get my ring from Fred Meyer.

Rated with 3 stars
NICOLE of Mishawaka, IN Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 20, 2021

My rings was purchased in 2014 before stores closed. I recently contacted FM to have my ring resized. I was assuming that I would end up having to mail it, and was disappointed that it ended up being the case. I got the email with QR code right away, but never the inspection form. I emailed back right away so we could send it right out, and still have yet to get this form. It's super annoying that something so simple isn't done yet. I hope that my ring will be taken care of like they did when they were local.

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Rated with 1 star
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William of Mansfield, OH Verified Reviewer
Original review: July 8, 2020

Purchased all of my wife's jewelry from here and loved this store and the people but after closing all the stores in our state the lifetime care is completely worthless. Been 2 weeks and no idea where our jewelry is.

Rated with 1 star
Linzie of Wichita, KS Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 19, 2020

I bought a 5,000 dollar ring from this company along with the lifetime warranty. They have closed all their stores in my state, and I have been on hold numerous times, left numerous emails and tons of emails trying to get a shipping label for repairs and then now 3 weeks later still waiting on my ring to come back to me. The last time after holding to speak with a supervisor I was told there was nothing they could do. There is no reason that these warranty checks can't be done by a local jewelry store that they can contract with. The fact that they expect us to send our rings and valuables through the mail, even with it being fully insured, is absolutely unacceptable. I don't want to sell my wedding ring just so I can go to another jewelry store that's near me. That would probably break my heart. I will NEVER buy another thing from Fred Meyer. And I hope anyone else that is just as upset as I am never does either.

Rated with 1 star
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mary of Laporte , CO Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: June 3, 2020

I bought a 9,000 dollar ring from this company along with the lifetime warranty. They have closed all their stores in my state. I have been on hold numerous times, left numerous emails and tons of emails trying to get a shipping label for repairs. They don’t respond to any of their emails or messages. The last time after holding to speak with a supervisor I got disconnected as soon as I was transferred. And they couldn’t be bothered with calling me back. Had to go thru the whole hold again. Save yourself the headache. Don’t buy from this retailer.

Rated with 1 star
Kayla of Queen Creek, AZ Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 26, 2020

I can’t believe that because they closed all of the stores in my state, that I am expected to MAIL my $10k ring TWICE per year for an inspection. What if my ring gets lost, stolen, or damaged? Who would ever be comfortable with mailing a $10k ring to God knows where? They should allow you to transfer your lifetime warranty package to a local jeweler or chain. I am NOT comfortable with this.

Rated with 5 stars
Mary Jo of Gahanna, OH Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 20, 2020

They're friendly and affordable. They always help me when I come in without being pushy. I also love their warranty. Everything in their stores are always clean and bright. I Would highly recommend them. I love Fred Meyers.

Rated with 1 star
Kim of Aurora, CO Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 24, 2020

I am very disappointed with my expensive purchase ($4,000.00) of my wedding ring. When I was deciding to purchase the ring the sales associate NEVER informed me that because it was white gold versus titanium that I would have to pay $80.00 a year to have it re-dipped or it would start to discolor. I never would have purchased the ring if I had been informed that the ring would discolor on an annual basis.

Rated with 1 star
Romona of Fort Wayne, IN Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 12, 2020

I picked up a beautiful ring for my husband of 36 years of marriage for Christmas. I unfortunately got the wrong size. We took the ring and receipt back for a larger size. Was told we had to get a refund and place a new order for the material it was made from couldn’t be resized. The salesperson talked him into the warranty which I thought was not needed. Ringing up the new size and with warranty the total was 40.00 more. At 1st both associated disagreed until I show them with basic math. They put the information in the computer more than once and the 40.00 just magically appeared. They said we should buy the ring and when it was delivered to our home bring it back and they would refund the 40.00. No Thank you. I realize it’s not 100s but the principle of it turned me the other way.

Rated with 1 star
John of Boise, ID Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 7, 2020

Fred Meyer corporate employees are some of the biggest crooks you'll ever find. When Fred Meyer makes a mistake that costs you hundreds or thousands of dollars, they won't take responsibility. They screw up an order and leave us with damaged merchandise costing us many tens of thousands of dollars and they refuse to own up to their mistakes. Please don't shop at Fred Meyer. Don't support these crooks. There are other supermarkets that do treat their customers responsibly, kindly, and fairly. If you shop at Fred Meyer you are only supporting the bad guys that wrong customers and don't own up to their mistakes because all Fred Meyer and Kroger cares about is money. Dennis Gibson, Jeff Burt, and Lynn Gust, the presidents and leaders of Fred Meyer, and the rest of the corporate team at Fred Meyer are nothing, but crooks with no moral compass. They owe us a lot of money.

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