Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Ramsey's at Large

What happened to John and Laura Ramsey? They didn't just disappear from ShopNBC, they seemed to vanish from the industry completely. Their company's website,, is completely gone. I heard a rumor that they were doing some work for Ross-Simons, but could never verify that to actually be true.

Then I found an exchange on a message board that just has to be seen to believed ...

Back in 2003 a poster on the forums named "Maven" innocently asked if anyone else liked to collect the John and Laura Ramsey's Gems at Large jewelry. In so doing, Maven unknowingly opened a Pandora's jewelry box of backstabbing ShopNBC vendor drama.

The post lay dormant for years until another poster named "Bankruptcyfraud" resurrected it. Well, I'm just gonna let him (or her) speak for himself:
They (Laura and John Ramsey of Seattle) filed for bankruptcy and screwed all their overseas vendors....I was one of the major ones. I produced alot of the beautiful pieces they used to sell. They used to fax ugly illegible scrawls to me and I asked my real designers to redo professional sketches for the Ramseys. We made these tammyfaebakers rich and famous and they do this immoral thing to the people that supported them and financed their operation. But make no mistakes, they love their customers and they know full well their customers are kings and they trained their personas to accomodate and lick all the loyal customers.

Laura's allegedly illegible jewelry sketches.

It might have been six years later, but Maven was still around to respond to the post and defend the Ramsey's. Maven felt that after the Ramsey's left and returned to ShopNBC, that the quality was "significantly less than the good old days" and that most of the ShopNBC vendors have started "catering to a lower Walmart mentality."
ShopNBC drove the ramseys out of business and forced them to file for bankruptcy ... I had always found them pleasant , and they certianly seemed very dedicated to tehir profession. John has gems in teh smothsomian. I am also not sure any of your story is accurrate. 'They always did alot of charity work. O have their autograpohed book, a gift fior being a good loyal customer.

So at this point we have a Ramsey lover and a Ramsey hater. Both seem to have inside info, but who knows the truth of what happened?

But the poster "Bankruptcyfraud" came back with some really serious accusations. And even though the post is really long, I'm just gonna quote him here since I don't want to misinterpret what he is saying. 
I was searching online to see if the Ramseys are in jail yet. I lost almost US1mill selling to the Ramseys when they filed chapter 11. I chaired the committee when they filed.....i saw the inner workings of their creative accounting. ShopNBC paid everything and on time to RGI (Ramseys). All the suppliers got screwed for the DOJ has taken notice and got Congress to amend the bankruptcy laws which has closed loopholes so poeple like the Ramseys cannot file chapter 7/11 so easily. The debtors are more accountable. A complaint was lodged with the DOJ's USTP (US Trustee Program) that accused them of tax/duties evasion, concealing jewelry inventory...etc.
[...] After they ciphoned off all the cream during chapter11, they could have retired in Bahamas or the islands but they were cunning. They stayed on to work until the heat dissipated and postponed their retirement until now when its all forgotten. But these things never are forgotten forever. They somehow creep back at cha.
The good ol days was when we were a dedicated team of suppliers for Ramseys. Upon their return, all the great vendors that used to make their jewelry have stopped supplying them so the quality certainly went dnhill if not disappeared altogether.
Believe me ShopNBC didn't drove anyone nor forced them into filing. ShopNBC's parent is GE. There were many other host/brands selling shopNBC and they didn't get forced? The Ramseys were among the top volume/income for shopNBC and the darlings on TV. Why would shopNBC kill the golden goose and let the average sellers stayed on? The Ramseys were looking for an exit strategy to cash out. They tried to sell their business to my ex-employer, a big public company but it fell thru. It was such a specialized business and they were so greedy asking an astronomical selling price so no takers. Before their window of opportunity to sell was closed, they took the next best route. They are clever but they were too greedy...they thought cashing out at the height would yield them 30P/E or even40P/E.
I am not witchhunting, just want to set the record straight. I dont like seeing the devil cheating their way into heaven and try to look like angels while doing it.
[...] Why would my stories by unaccurate? I have received my share from the bankruptcy proceeding and the insurance company.
Tammyfaybakers were pleasant, dedicated professionals that did charity work. Which is all very nice but that is not mutally exclusive from being crooks.

After a new poster, "Saraj," jumps into the fray to accuse Bankruptcyfraud of being a "snake" who was only trying to "drum up business" for himself, Maven comes to his defense and dumps all sorts of information about the goings-on at ShopNBC.

Maven stated that the top executives at ShopNBC forced a lot of their vendors out in a "mass exodus" because they decided to go with lower end silver jewelry made overseas. The Ramsey's, Offerings, and 1912 decided to leave for this reason, as did the "gold maven" (not sure who that's supposed to be... maybe Meredith Borowski with Treasures D'Italia).
Shopnbc is trying to have a piece of evey line they carry. Pam McCoy is a leather designer,jeweler designer and what else? come on , they push their hosts to get product identification and then bank roll them to create lines they sell exclusively as Haute Couture? No way!!
look at what happened to Karen Connelly she bucked their system got a better deal( so she thought elsewhere) and was banned from returning, laura Duffek,and also tim temple left in that swoop as well as Kendy the darling they forgave and brought back.

Saraj, who seems to have inside information of his own, sticks to his guns. He thinks all the vendors left just because they "heard trouble was brewing," not because they were actually ousted.
Karen and the others left to go to another shopping channel, that from what I hear never gort off the ground. [...] I think its funny to see Merith not so much into her Italian accent anymore. Paul Kelly who you must know from the Q has decided to see what he can do with this company to improve it and I wish him much luck out there, I can see changes for the better already. He has Dave King now and Paul Deasy and I'm sure Judy will pop up somewhere along the way as well. I just keep waiting for Jeff Hewson to show

After Saraj and Bankruptcyfraud throw mud at each other for a while, we get someone who refers to him or herself  as simply "The Truth."

The Truth claims to have worked for the Ramsey's for years and also claims to know who Bankruptcyfraud really is. And although The Truth concedes that Bankruptcyfraud suffered due to the Ramsey's bankruptcy, he still thinks that Bankruptcyfraud is just a "PITA" who's full of "BS." (PITA is "pain in the ass" ... unlike BS, I had to look that one up!)
[The Ramsey's] are good people, they were fantastic to work with, they love and respect their employees and treat every one they meet with kindness, and they gave more to charities than any one else I have ever met. Your business would not have suffered if ShopNBC had not screwed the Ramseys and forced them out of business. 

So what is the real truth here? What really happened to them?

We know that ShopNBC was trying to lower the average price point for all their items in order to increase sales. Of course, that was when ShopNBC was doing so poorly that their only choice was to sell cheaper items or go out of business completely. Can't really fault them there. We know that during this time many vendors left or were given the boot. We know that the Ramsey's were one of those vendors. Beyond that, it's just speculation ... extremely interesting speculation ... but speculation nonetheless!


  1. This IS very interesting QB. I would love to hear more and find the real truth in all of this.

    It's still a shame to let someone like Charla go. I'm still miffed at them over this. Why keep Kendy and kick Charla out? Kendy is one I can't stand to watch, she's going to dislocate her jaw one day if she already hasn't with some of her facial expressions.

  2. Fascinating! I've often wondered about the Ramseys and the real story. Something about them seemed a little off to me--hard to explain. Just something going on behind the facade that wasn't quite kosher.

  3. Do you QB or anyone, have any more info about this?

  4. I could never stand to watch them! Especially Laura! She seemed so phoney baloney to me. I have to say years ago they did produce beautiful quality jewlery at high price points then I noticed the quality went out the window as with so many other vendors probably due to the economy. Is that what happend to Sonia Bitton also??? Just wondering.

  5. Hi everyone~ It is Maven here as the original who posted on the site referenced above. Sonia Bitton has her own web site and is selling directly to the public now.Also she and Charla are doing a venture in the UK on QVC.
    No new news from the Ramseys.

  6. Oh brother, just because you write it doesn't make it so. Who believes this kind of garbage?

  7. what is the story behind the Mccoys? Also Pams line of jackets . Did she get the boot too??

  8. I came looking for them tonight because I bought some beautiful diamond earrings from them many years ago (Shop NBC, about 2K), and wondered why I couldn't find them. Perhaps people don't like hearing dirt about people they liked, but a business that successful doesn't just disappear, and I can't find them.
    The business would have been purchased or licensed. There's probably a good bit of validity here.

  9. Ahhh the Ramseys, my reason for watching SNBC, well along with Charla & Croton. Purchased 3 gold watches (beautiful).
    The McCoys were just filler, everyone could see that, her clothes looked like something off the big HSC, without a doubt. I brought Platinum, the
    Ceylon Sapphires, Tanzanite, Tourmalines, and Diamonds. Who knows what really happened, I venture to think that SNBC being the business that it is, was trying to stay afloat with all the other offerings out there. I will say, I've purchase JTV, and the Q & H, and they didn't even come close to what I got from the Ramseys. So glad I purchased when I did.

  10. Hi All - I just wanted to share what I know as a fellow home shopping lover and as a former Ramsey employee. I worked for the Ramseys until mid 2003 at RGI (gemsatlarge) in the office located in Bothell, WA. When we all came back to work after New Years in 2003 the entire staff was sat down and told that due to issues with ShopNBC we would be losing our jobs. The job losses would be done in tiers during the first half of the year. The rumors swirling around the office were that ShopNBC was not happy that the Ramseys were also selling jewlery on auction websites (Ebay, Amazon, Yahoo and their own site). See at RGI we would sell items on auctions at prices that were less than they were selling for on ShopNBC. So the Ramseys online were competing with the Ramseys on ShopNBC the very company that was buttering their bread.

    I can also tell you that the Ramseys are not nice people in my opinion. I worked there for over 2 years and neither Laura or John even knew my name (the entire company has around 20 employees total). The choices of who lost their jobs appeared to be done soley on who kissed up the most. Even if you produced great sales #'s for them and had seniority it didnt matter. If you didnt stroke their egos then you didnt stick around (or so it seemed to me). In my opinion they were very phony, self centered people who were only out for themselves.

    1. Reality check. Most employers ARE out for themselves, it's their business.

  11. Wow!...After reading through these posts I was able to pick out the true facts and I must say it still astonishes me even though I lived through the drama first hand. The last posting from anonymous hit the nail on the head and is the reason I left. John was a pretty nice guy except he was completely controlled by his narcisistic wife who constantly saw a conspiracy brewing amongst her employees. They routinely cleaned house every couple of years because of her paranoia. Yes they were trying to keep it top secret that they were selling their products on the web and price cutting ShopNBC. I was there when we developed the internet sales site and John and Laura were very aware they were breaking their agreements with their TV partners. They swore us all to secrecy. Yes they seemed encapable of recognizing the real talent in the house and rewarded only employees who kissed up and fed Queen Laura's narcisistic need to be the center of attention, which was a shame because they abused some very talented and loyal staff who could have been real assets. As part of the QA staff I was asked by Laura to overlook flaws that were blatant and would have gotten me fired for passing before their change of standards. I was there when they dropped their standards and for the beginning of the drama with their TV partners. As for any charity work or generosity I was present as John and Laura strategized their public image. Anything they did was geared towards building their public image not out of any sense of generosity. Laura in particular loved to recieve the attention she got for "giving" "oh no no really it was nothing" she said while fanning herself and eating it up. As for the vendor in China...that too doesn't suprise me. They were constantly trying to figure out how to increase profits without their famous generosity. Their Chinese partners were as disposible as their employees. It was all about the profit. How ironic that they ended up buringing so many bridges that it put them out of business. Who can trust someone that throws you under the bus without regard.

  12. I am so curious as to who the last poster and my former coworker is. I know you cant tell me but I am still curious as to who you are. For all the negative there was working for RGI the big positive was the great co-workers I had. I give the Ramseys credit for hiring some really great people. It is unfortunate they didnt treat us so great. I do have fond memories of nights at The Rocker after work and many other good times!

  13. I am so sad to hear this, some of which is probably true. My "breathless" ring gets so much attention each time I wear it. My 12 pieces are so beautiful and people fall all over themselves to get a closer look. I would like to have more! Many employers overlook us as people and it doesn't matter who you are...this too is unfortunate. If we all extended kindness and love the world would be a better place.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. It's difficult to know the truth from all the above, so I won't even ponder the 'Ramsay truth'. I've wondered what happened to them and did notice the quality had diminished when they returned to SHOPNBC. However, I must say when SNBC was at their apex and 'glory' of fabulous jewelry, I purchased many, many Ramsay rings. They are gorgeous and would cost a fortune today with increased gold and gem prices. I'm so glad that I purchased from them early in the decade. As for SNBC, they became a 'junk' shopping channel several years ago. I rarely purchase anything any more from them.... and definitely not jewelry. Basically, they are just a watch channel now.

  15. I was one who purchased a few of their items they listed on Ebay, got killer deals on a HUGE Aqua ring, a large Rubellite set in platinum ring, and off their website, a beautiful opal ring for $75 is all, sold on Shop NBC for over $500, some diamond earrings ($25) and a couple silver with gemstones rings.
    I always thot they were customer returns they got back from Shop NBC and put up on their website, which seemed to be a "going out of business sale" (around the year 2003 or so) when they first left ShopNBC, as their prices on inventory on their website kept getting lower each week.

    But, guess I was just there at the right time, never could afford their stuff on ShopNBC but paid less than $1200 for all of the above! The Rubellite ring sold for that much alone on ShopNBC.

    Too bad to read all the comments as I always thot they seemed like decent people.

  16. I started purchasing jewelry from John & Laura when ShopNBC was Value Vision. I'm talking back in the early '90s. Their jewelry was to die for back then! Expensive, yes. But a lot less than if you had purchased them at a jewelry store or commissioned from a goldsmith. I have rings, earrings & pendants that that era that are exquisite. I think Laura was nicer, more genuine back then. They used to do 'date night' on Saturday nights with the McCoys. Laura was more genuine back then (not to mention Pam). Then they all got a little full of themselves. Anyway, I too noticed that the quality of their jewelry went way down after they returned to ShopNBC several years ago. The gold weight wasn't there & there were times when the jewelry even had missing stones. I finally stopped buying from them. If it's true that they cheated their vendors out of $$$ that's too bad, 'cause I'm sure they were raking it in for a very long time.

  17. I too worked for the Ramseys in the late 90's for a year or so when they moved from Woodinville to Bothell and they were absolutely the meanest and most unprofessional employers I have ever encountered! They would hire really good honest people who were down on their luck and abuse them; there was a 150% percent turnover in employees in one year! I saw them fire people over the slightest things, problems that Laura cooked up on her own to get rid of whoever didn't kowtow to her all the time. John was okay for the most part, but Laura had alot of psychological problems, in my opinion.

  18. I too use to watch the channel for the Ramsey's, Croton, & Charla. I too brought Platinum, Tanzanite, Tourmaline, Emeralds, Ceylon and Kanchamaburi Sapphires, Rhodolite Garnets, 18k, and of course Diamonds. My first and only 14k watches are Croton,(have 3). Personally, I thought the price point was wonderful, considering the quality of the pieces. If I went into the local stores in NY, I would've paid more. I never liked McCoy, seemed stupid to buy clothing from a host. I mean, my Mom studied fashion, which meant going to school, and doing much more than describing an outfit. You have to know it from the sketch, to pattern up. Was was the pre-cursor for all of these reality show wannabe's with clothing, makeup, handbag, whatever else they think up. With not an ounce of creativity, true knowledge, and actual style. I never watch SHOPNBC any more, the quality is just not there. Matter of fact, I went to school and learned how to make my own jewelry. Thanks John & Laura for the inspiration. I just want to run my company better.

  19. I guess this is another anonymous post, but so be it. I am an insider but can't tell you who I am.

    John is a great guy, very talented, down to earth but I agree totally focused on business and not aware enough of Laura's Leona Helmsley behavior.

    Laura is an egomaniac, needs to be center of attention and instead of getting rid of the employee & "friend" who was skimming THOUSANDS of dollars off of the company to start her own company on the side with her deadbeat husband. the ramsey's treated other valuable employees like crap.

    WHY? because the thief would kiss Laura's a$$, (all the while stealing from her), but the the employees who were there just to do a good job didn't treat laura like royalty enough for her liking so they were always given a hard time.

    Laura needs to feel like she is special and that other people need her and can't ever compete with how amazing her life is. What would she do if she ever was hanging around with real celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, etc. She would feel like a bum, so of course she likes to "help" those who are down & out to feel better about herself. How sad & pathetic.

    I remember Laura making a big entrance into the offices and if you didn't stop what you were doing immediately & look up & greet her with a smile, you would get spoken to about it. Isn't that how the Queen is greeted?

    One good thing is I do know that Laura did her own very nice renderings though (drawings) so I'm not sure about the illegible scratchings the one vendor was talking about.

    Now Laura & John have lost their minds believing their own public image of Evelyn Lauder Charity donations & society appearances are who they really are. Too bad they didn't treat their true devoted employees better along the way.

    ONe day a few months ago I saw them on the Jewelry Channel selling some stuff...but I never saw them again, think the station is out of Florida. Not sure

  20. Well, I certainly learned quite a bit here. I have long wondered why the "major designers" of jewlery seemed to be gone. It's been over a year since I spent any time watching ShopNBC because they just plain stink....low quality products. I was a jewelry-holic and truly loved the Ramsey and Valatutti items. Chuck Clemency items are so cheesy now.
    And since so many of you brought up hosts...Carmella was a total class act. Pam McCoy looks and acts like a stupid poodle with a bobbing head. She makes me want to vomit, especially with the "Ohhhh, Wes" line.
    I can't say a think about anybody's business because I don't know anything other than SNBC has gone to hades.

  21. The problem with internet. It is that some companies can vanish and you don't know nothing about them. It is like the disappear from the whole web.

  22. I always wondered what happened to the Ramseys, so thank you Queen Bea and everyone else for telling your side of the story.

    Good stuff, very revealing!

  23. What interesting information. I was an often buyer with the auctions and have some beautiful pieces that I could never have bought otherwise. The girls and one guy in particular were so nice..I loved them and still think highly of them. Yes, they were suddenly gone. The rings had a huge amount of gold if you purchased any QVC rings. Many things I sent back I would love to have now, especially a turquoise pendant. It was too easy for me to get into financial overbuying.
    Good luck to all of the wonderful employees and if they cheated any Chinese I could care less and was so unhappy when I saw made in China or Thailand. I was back there when John sold all of the stones, etc. It was a great time.

  24. The mass exodus of vendors was the result of ShopNBC's successful efforts to extract discounts and concessions from their vendors, after the fact. The management of the company was unable to meet Wall St. projections. Bonuses, jobs even, were at stake. They decided to strong-arm their vendors into retroactive and substantial discounts, or face non-payment of monies owed, massive product returns, reduction or elimination of on-air hours, etc. In short, because their vendors were totally reliant on the ShopNBC business, it was sink or swim.
    All the vendors balked, but had no choice but to give in. Those that fought, died. The rest all died, but managed to eke out a few extra months or years.
    The Ramseys were sacked, almost died, brought legal action, and settled, only to die again a short time later. Others, like DG Jewelry (Trader Jack, Brilliante, Diamond jack), could not stay afloat. eventually, all withered and died.
    Clemency changed the nature of his relationship, becoming a defacto employee.
    Kmart had done the same to its employees, and prison sentences resulted. ShopNBC management did not suffer the same fate as their vendors were unable to attract the interest of the press.
    The Ramseys were an interesting couple; he a nice guy, she a despised woman. ShopNBC merchandisers, who worked with her,took great pleasure in playing with her life. They did not like her.

  25. Wow, I'm a long time shopper, 11+ yrs, of all of the channels. All I have to say is that I AM SO HAPPY to have bought EVERY single piece of jewelry that I have. I just heard on JTV today that Gold has surpassed the price of Platinum. There's no way I could ever buy the stuff I have at the current prices and that's if I could even find it!!!! And to think of all the jerks who criticized me for my purchases back then >:( I'm quite sure I'm not the only one who would NEVER have been able to afford such exquisite, and in some cases exotic, treasures thanks to ShopNBC.
    I'm really sorry for all of the vendors and employees (ESPECIALLY Charla my favorite) who got screwed when the hard times hit. I really learned a lot just sitting, doing cross-stitch or housework and listening to the hosts talk about gemstones and jewelry.

  26. I bought piles of rings from the Ramseys on eBay back in 2001-2003. I could never have afforded them even at SNBCs prices, which were considerably lower than the B&M jewelry stores.

  27. it seem to me that qvc is going fast also, i have sent back a number of items, not up to standard, and was so surprised at this. I have been shoping, shopnbc, qvc, and hsn for number of years, and it things go on as is, they will be under alsol. And speaking of Queens, qvc is truing to make there own, Lisa Robinson??? can you believe, i dont know how anyone works there with all the rally around Lisa going on , now she may be nice, but you dont need a queen, i love all the host, and getting back to shownbc, i wondered where everyone went??? i have seen a few on different shopping channels. I am sorry to hear all of this stuff about the Ramseys, i to was a lover of their jewelry and i did purchase a number of pieces. I guess no job is safe especially when you have to make the numbers.

    1. The Ramsey's did go bankrupt. One of the order takers at Shop NBC told me so. Yes, she certainly was a phony, with that soft sweet voice of hers. You have to watch out for the overly sweet types.

  28. Reading these posts, I'm amazed at how gullible people are.

  29. looks like Laura is trying to sell her artwork now.

    and she & John have a website up again but you can't buy anything.

  30. one more thing: they can't be doing too badly, they live in a million $ house. check it out:,-WA_rb/

  31. This was so fascinating to read this Like many out in shopperland, I enjoyed aspects of ShopNBC programing and the cast of characters, I was confused by the sudden changes but not interested enough to search out what happened. I do miss my Charla, she was so real and raw and nobody was gonna hold her down for long. Now I only watch for "My Personal Jeweler", or Michael, the hosts are doing their jobs but are colorless. I am glad I bought the things I did at the time. We live in an imperfect world and we to have our faults.

  32. Sorry hear about the Ramseys. I have many of their pieces and have been very happy with them. The designs were great and timeless! Alsp wondered what happened to Charla,The Mc Coys,Karen. The really GOOD ones! I'm with the previous writer that Kendi drives me crazy with her cackle!!! And The GG who is consistantly whining and braging on herself.I just wrote in survey I was sent to stop doing silver/no long term value,why not 10 K!!! Other chanels are now providing better value at better prices.

  33. wow...what a bunch of gossip...I happened to be looking thru my ring box and saw all the Laura Ramsey rings I purchased in 2000-2003...they are beautifully designed and not cookie cutter pieces...I am so sorry to hear of all the guffaw of the Ramseys' and Shop NBC and glad I bought when I did for the prices I to all

  34. So interesting. I too wondered what happened to the Ramsey's. I went to their website. Just photos and info on jewelry and links. I bought some beautiful pieces, mostly by way of auctions (ValueVision and ShopNBC, Yahoo). Beautiful weighty rings with quality diamonds/gems set in 14K. I also bought 24K on the same auctions. Now it's worth at least 5X more. Sad to hear the quality vendors and hosts are gone. I'm pretty sure the 24K is gone as well. Those were the good old days I guess.


  36. I have some beautiful Ramsey pieces from the Value Vision days. I always respected John's knowledge & enjoyed him on air, but I never really warmed up to Laura. There was something a little phony about her, and Pam McCoy as well.

  37. Even though the Ramseys dressed to the nines....Both were goofy looking.

  38. You might be qualified to get a Apple iPhone 7.

  39. Where did everybody go??
    No more comments? Not since 12/31/2016 and that was the only one all year...ZERO in 2015 only TWO in
    2014! 2013...only ONE comment...2012 had the most as did 2011 and so on....GO FIGURE! Right?


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