VENTURA (CBSLA.com) — Customers who took their diamonds to a jeweler in Ventura are worried that their precious stones might have been swapped out for fakes.
The store’s owner — accused of stealing hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry — was arrested last month.
Officials said customers have been coming to the store ever since in hopes of finding their diamonds.
KCAL9’s Elsa Ramon reports the customers might never get satisfaction — or their jewels back. The man killed himself after he was let out on bail.
Ara Ghazarian, accused of swapping out customers’ diamonds, was found dead on June 28.
Janet Feith knows she probably won’t ever again see the original diamond from the wedding ring her husband gave her.
She took the diamond to Ghazarian, owner of Jewelry Unlimited in Ventura , to have it made into a necklace for a very special reason.
“He took my original diamond my husband gave me 30 years ago that I was saving for my daughter,” Feith said.
She says Ghazarian swapped out the diamond for a much less expensive stone called Moissanite.
As news spread of Ghazarians alleged fraud, Debbie Fox, owner of Fox Fine Jewelry in Ventura, says she was flooded with calls from his customers asking to check their diamonds. She hated breaking the news.
“They were in tears, they were shaking, there was another woman who was shaking, that was over a 2-carat diamond,” said Fox.
Ventura Police say Feith is one of more than a dozen victims who trusted Ghazarian to clean, repair or upgrade their diamonds.
Ghazarian was arrested in June on suspicion of grand theft. He left behind a wife and daughter.
Feith said his suicide haunts her more than her lost diamond.
“Not only did he kill himself, but he left [his family] with the wreckage of what he did to all these people,” she said.
Fox told Ramon the best way to protect yourself is to get a 3-D picture of your diamond and make sure it’s certified by a gemologist.