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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:09 pm 
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Hi Barbra
It looks like we will have to agree to disagree on this point.
EBay WORKS because of mutual trust between sellers and buyers. If there was not this trust nobody would use it.

For example, sellers including dealers are VERY concerned about maintaining a top-notch satisfaction level, of 99% or more for transactions, & often it is 99.8% or better. The eBay system is designed for easy feedback to the seller after you have made a purchase. Every time you make a purchase you are asked to record your satisfaction about the deal on 4 different points. Dealers bend over backwards to make you happy if what you bought is not up to expectations. eg last week me getting a syn sapphire instead of a syn quartz .. no problem .. he is sending me a syn qtz, so I have a syn sapphire for free, worth about $10.

In my view, eBay is one of the great (US) inventions of modern times that promotes free enterprise and capitalism, to the benefit of everyone who has a computer.
Allano


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:14 am 
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Well gemsellect is a poor, or perfect, example! I have investigated them already! Beryllium treated sapphires sold as unheated and heated only, glass filled rubies sold as heated only, and so on. Stuff was total junk! Even the opals crazed over, clouded up, and some even fractured into pieces within 6mths of the purchase because they were not seasoned properly! Spinel that turned out to be synthetic as well sold as natural! Just check around the web, lots of complaints and rip off reports on that company all over the place! Then they pose as a consumer on those same sites and post how they had great experiences with the company! Very shady business practices to say the least!

Barbra is right, Ebay is not a place for beginners to be buying by any means! Almost all the Thai sellers are misrepresenting products on a fraudulent level, 99.99% of the Chinese sellers are just plain fraudulent! And a large chunk of the supposed USA sellers are merely drop shipping companies for Chinese and Thai sellers trying to avoid the whole Thai and Chinese scamming issues people are finally learning about! And another large chunk of the USA sellers on there are merely buying the cheap junk from the fraudulent Thai and Chinese sellers and reselling it at a higher dollar for a profit and have absolutely no clue WTH they are selling! They just buy it and resell it as what their "supplier" sold it to them as!

I investigate Ebay sellers every other day, it is one of the things I do, lol. Ebay is anything but safe and anything but about trust! Ebay plays the "not our problem" card on the matter and overlooks all the fraud and essentially allows it to run rampant! Some of their biggest PowerSellers are nothing but counterfeit fraudulent scammers! And FeedBack system is a joke and allows for volume sellers to pad their feedback and make negatives and neutrals essentially disappear! Only using Toolhaus can one get a remotely accurate and true representation of the seller, and even then, many are simply naive Joe & Suzie Homemaker buyers trying to buy cheap and resell for a quick buck because they think these scamming sellers are the same sources as the real sellers and jewelers in the Industry use, roflmao!

Don't get me wrong, there are legit sellers on though, although they are declining daily as they can not compete with the scammers, so they just close up shop. But even many of the legit ones are not really legit, you still have to know your materials and Gemology to get a deal because they call just about any treatment from diffusion to glass composite to irradiation to clarity enhancement all "HEATED" or "HEAT", so unless you know what materials are routinely treated you will become a fraudulent reseller yourself very quickly!

And remember, as seen in prior large lawsuits, relying on the word of your Supplier is NOT an acceptable defense. Only proving you did due diligence on your part to properly represent your wares can you have a working defense, and that means testing your gemstones and having an education in Gemology be it from an actual school or self taught/learned in a way that you can PROVE you learned it not just by stating, "I took this free online course" because that just will not be enough. You need to prove you used proper Gemological tools, methods, and like to properly identify your stones and any treatments as well as your metals. It definitely opens you up to a civil lawsuit and in many States here in the USA even possibly criminal charges as well! Even those properly trained and such really need to have E&O insurance and if you want it at an affordable price you best be able to prove a proper education, lol.

But back to the topic... Barbra is right on the money. Ebay for a properly trained Gemologist is still a crap shoot to be frank except for a handful of known legit vendors. For a novice, or even worse, a total beginner, it is like playing Russian Roulette with only one empty chamber instead of only one bullet and the rest empty chambers!!! :shock: :lol: On an almost daily basis I examine the following from Ebay and even many TV shows, tourmaline that is glass or clarity enhanced sold as natural untreated; Cobalt-60 or E-Beam Irradiated gemstones sold as untreated or heat only; synthetic quartz, spinel, beryl, sapphire, alexandrite, etc. sold as completely natural untreated gemstones; garnets that are synthetics, clarity enhanced, heated(not really a big deal) sold as natural untreated gemstones; spinels out the wazoo that are just plain synthetic sold as natural earth mined untreated gemstones; Quartz that is either synthetic or worse yet simply what is known as quartz glass sold as untreated natural material; white star quartz sold as Girasol(aka a sun opal) and/or blue opal when it is just quartz; glass sold as everything under the sun but always as the natural untreated gemstone it mimics and they can mimic almost anything since they now have glass that goes from RI ~1.5-2.1 and in every color/combo under the sun, even those that do a darn good job simulating tanzanite, tourmaline, etc.; brass, copper, and pot metals sold as gold, silver, rose gold, etc. and many most often containing lead, cadmium, and other dangerous metals that can seriously make you ill and even kill you simply by wearing them for prolonged periods of time; and always treated stuff sold as natural untreated; and the list could go on and on and on. But I think the point has been made, lol.

If you want to shop on Ebay, then learn at least the basics of Gemology first, buy your testing equipment, and then buy on Ebay. Or make sure you have every single gemstone checked and tested by a properly trained Gemologist that has the proper equipment, there are plenty around! Or have them checked by a legit Lab! Which brings up yet another issue, many of the "Certs" and "Lab Reports" on Ebay for stones and jewelry come from fly by night scammer labs, are counterfeits, or just not for the stone being actually sold. So unless from a reputable lab that you can either go online or call them to check the report's authenticity, it is worthless! And appraisals are the same way, most of them are done by those with no gemological training, no experience, no nothing! And they are often times really jacked up and inflated values!

One good method, but not fool proof by any means, is to find a rough dealer that sells at wholesale prices, plenty out there. Keep their website handy for cross referencing. Now, figure a 20% yield just o be on the safe side. What this means is that if the finished stone is 1ct. then it took a 5ct piece of rough to get that 1ct finished gemstone. A 10ct. finished stone would have taken a 50ct piece of rough. So, if the selling stone is say a faceted Amethyst of 1cts in size. This amethyst would then have needed a total piece of rough around 5cts in size. So go over to the rough seller website(and this is why it is important to be a legit rough seller too) and look up the price per carat of the color/quality of the amethyst that you are considering buying. Now, we will us ea current price for top quality amethyst, which is about $2.50/ct -$4/ct range. So, you need a 5ct piece, 5 x $2.50 = $12.50 and 5 x $4.00 = $20.00, so the rough would be $12.50-$20.00 in cost. That is just the cost of the rough material, now you need to figure in cutting fees. Lower commercial quality and/or native cutting runs about $1-$2 per finished ct on avg., top end commercial cutting between $4-$20 per finished carat, and custom cutting anywhere from $35-$150 per finished carat. Now, keep in mind there is almost always a surcharge for very hard, very soft, and any other complicated to cut materials per carat as well, but amethyst does not fall in to this category. So, a 1ct natural amethyst would cost between $14.50-$40 commercially cut or $47.50-$170 in cost, and that is without any retail or even wholesale markup. Granted if they buy by the 1/2 ton to full ton they can get better pricing, of course, or buy full mine runs instead of good sorted material. But this will give you at least a base line to work from! If that finished stone is selling for far less then the rough costs, there is a problem most likely! But if they only have one or two listed at these super low prices it could have just been they got a great wholesale deal, it happens! But when they have 50+ of the same type of stone all super super cheap way below the cost of rough needed to cut the carat weight of the stone, then there is definitely something awry! Be it synthetics, simulants, treatment or treatments, etc. Something has to bring the cost down for them to be able to do it for that many and day in and day out everyday!

Now, of course, the above is really simplifying things and is not exactly fool proof nor can it be considered accurate really, but it does give you a baseline, and may cause you to miss out on some deals, but it will help keep your percentage of being scammed down much lower then before, lol! And is far better then just walking through the mine field blindfolded!

As for trust between seller and the buyer, don't on Ebay, dumbest move you can make in this business! Because, as already mentioned, the supplier is NOT the one responsible in the end of it, YOU are! So it is C.Y.A. and do so thoroughly.

And I can not stress enough the feedback system on Ebay is a JOKE! It is easily padded and there are even entire Power Seller rings that have tons of buyer user names and pad each others feedback to recover from the negatives and neutrals and to get them way back off the first page and shill bid on each others auctions to drive up the ending selling price! Toolhaus.org is a valuable tool to get a true idea of the Seller's feedback, they even make an add-on for FireFox browser that allows you to right click on a seller's name and view their negative and neutral feedback. But even this is useless unless you take the time to thoroughly read what is listed in the feedback! And even still, it depends on if the other buyers even knew what they were buying, which of course, a large majority have no clue and wouldn't know a glass composite ruby from a natural heated or unheated one more or less a synthetic one! So can much of the positive feedback be even trusted considering the padding and lack of knowledge and/or naivety of the other buyers? Not really! If that seller has any buyers with good numbers of feedback that give a negative, then you best be very careful, 2-3 extreme caution, 5+ run don't walk away! Unless of course they are just for inaccurate pics or "stone looked larger in the picture" type stuff, that just happens to almost everyone, and is typically always an issue on Ebay, so know that when looking, and I always count it as an issue regardless when shopping there that the pics will not be accurate for color, saturation, tone, extent of special phenomena(stars, cat's eyes, play of color, etc.), and of course not accurate for relative size, lol.

Once upon a time, many many years ago, maybe even decades ago..lol, one could actually safely shop on Ebay and only have a once in a while scam issue, now it is the opposite and once and a while you get a good legit deal with most being scams, fraudulent, and/or misrepresentations! Even some of the once legit vendors on there have since turned into scammers too that I would not even consider buying from them now, but 10-15yrs ago were as legit and honest as they come!

allanotaylor wrote:
EBay WORKS because of mutual trust between sellers and buyers. If there was not this trust nobody would use it.

In my view, eBay is one of the great (US) inventions of modern times that promotes free enterprise and capitalism, to the benefit of everyone who has a computer.
Allano

And your exact thinking is what gets most folks into big trouble Allano! Tell the trust issue to the bleeding heart stories I get contacted about every month, many times more then every month, of folks who spent entire savings on there only to discover they got scammed! Your view was correct about 10-15yrs ago, but now, the scammers picked up on it and took advantage of it, and because Ebay makes soooooo much money in fees from these large scale scammers, they don't and won't do anything about it! I'm a Power Buyer on there from my photography days and from my investigations(LMAO, irony at its finest..lol) and even get special Ebay and PayPal privileges and even a direct customer service phone number and everything! I am in the top 1000 for Guides and Reviews as well on both my ID and my Wife's(I wrote most of hers...hehe..lol). So I have been at this a long time. Just had my 15 year anniversary a couple weeks ago IIRC. Between Jen (my Wife)'s personal account, business account, and my account we have in the tens of thousands of feedback both buying and selling. So I know the ins and outs of Ebay very well, the entire system, all the good things, all the bad things, all the loop holes, all the games they(Ebay & PayPal) play, all the games the scammers play, etc. And I research and investigate sellers on there every single day just about and have been for over 5 years now! But by all means, do not take my word for it, lol, just browse around the internet and even hop on and read Ebay's own Community Forums and you will quickly see how bad the scammers actually are and just how unsafe it is to "trust" an unknown seller or even known one really, anymore! And just how many gemstone and jewelry sales are done daily and the buyers got scammed, always bleeding heart stories in them!

But even known honest and legit vendors, sellers, retailers, etc. should not just be unconditionally trusted. EVERY ONE makes mistakes, NO ONE is perfect! And treatments and even synthetics can make it past even the most knowledgeable, thorough, and honest sellers/suppliers! Especially considering the scamming even now takes place in person to person deals right at the mines and gemstone markets and shows! Sometimes knowingly sometimes not. Mixing of synthetic rough in with the natural real thing... they tumble it, bury it in the dirt for days/weeks/months, etc., and sometimes even cleave and grind them first. All to mimic the natural rough materials! Many times these parcels are purchased and sent to cutting houses and then resold without ever knowing some in the parcel are synthetics. Cutting houses have even been known to remove some of the natural stones and replace them with synthetics as well! This is why the only material I trust as being natural and untreated is the material I mine, prospect, or find myself! Everything else gets thoroughly tested for treatments and/or synthetics and simulants! Because everyone makes mistakes at some point! I know I have! So redundancy is always a very good thing! But explicit and unconditional trust is a bad thing, sorry! Of course there are those I trust, but not unconditionally, except my Wife and best friend. For example, I trust Barbra and Tim and the rest of the GO crew, but that does not mean I am going to take something I get from them and ever sell it(but I don't sell anything anyways, lol) without checking it first. I even check those with legit lab reports just to make doubly sure. Obviously not as much testing needs to be done when you have a proven and known trustworthy source, but you still need to cover your arse(CYA), because ultimately it is your reputation and butt on the line, not theirs! No offense guys/gals!! Didn't mean it in a bad way to any of you! Just trying to make a point, hehe.

This is not a consumer forum, as has already been stated over and over again, but in my profile there is one that is for helping of consumers amongst things. It also maintains a list of legit sellers that have been checked out, a list of FTC violating ones, and a list of those in Limbo(somewhere in between). I greatly encourage all legit sellers to PLEASE submit your websites for review and listing so we can grow the list and provide consumers with a safe shopping network of vendors.

I hope this is OK Barbra, if not just please remove it and accept my sincerest apologies. Just trying to help out this consumer not intrude or violate GO rules, but I hope you already know that!!

P.S. Sorry for such a long winded post all!

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:32 am 
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Thanks for taking the time to respond, Jamey.

I routinely defer consumer issues in your direction as you have selflessly devoted the last several years researching gems, treatments, artificial products and synthetics to help consumers make informed decisions and expose misrepresentation when you discover it.

I prefer using this platform for technical issues related to gemology, mineralogy and lapidary.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:27 am 
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Hi Swishman
Thank you for your detailed assessment of eBay as a useful medium to purchase gemstones and rough material. You have given us a valuable insight as to the potential hazards involved.

I disagree with your comment "eBay is not a place for beginners to be buying" .. this is a nonsense.

A lot depends on whether you are spending $50 or $5000, this being your savings/capital at risk. The majority of buyers would be spending $100 or less and are happy at the way the system operates. I have no complaints. I can detect a scam a mile away but rarely this happens.

As I mentioned before, you are being unhelpful (especially to beginners) in deliberately downgrading the operation of eBay which is a marketing system to be admired. Not perfect, but better than no eBay. Always in any market it is "buyer beware". In this respect, EBay is no different to the gem markets in India or SE Asia or elsewhere.
Cheers
Allano
PS I am not a shareholder in eBay, just a satisfied customer.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:37 am 
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Thanks for posting the information Jamey :)

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:27 am 
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Thanks a lot Swishman, for taking the time to write something as thoroughly as that! Really that's what i wanted to hear, the truth about things.

I have several times been thinking of buying gems from http://www.gemselect.com but after reading your post i think i will not!

Wow... this whole gemstome industry seems so fraudulent...


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:24 am 
allanotaylor wrote:
...EBay WORKS because of mutual trust between sellers and buyers. If there was not this trust nobody would use it.

That's sometimes called 'proof by assertion'. :wink:

Truth is that a need to believe - to trust in something beyond the tangible and beyond self, seems to be a universal attribute of humanity; This is expressed in many forms, of which gullibility in trading is but one. Fraudulent trading is certainly not new with E-bay and is probably as old as trade itself. Beyond a willingness to trust, there is one other main driver in fraud and that is the common human desire to obtain 'something for nothing', i.e. buyers can seek to exploit a seller's ignorance of market value to make a purchase on outrageously favourable terms.

And so we see a steady trickle of 'natural rubies' with all the beauty of a shard of pottery being bought for a very few (but still too many) dollars.

E-bay trading is probably no more dishonest than any other marketplace - and a lot less than some.

As the Romans knew two thousand years ago, 'Caveat Emptor'. Until the victim culture started to swamp us, this was still one of the guiding principles of the English (and American) law governing the sale of goods.

Quote:
In my view, eBay is one of the great (US) inventions of modern times that promotes free enterprise and capitalism, to the benefit of everyone who has a computer.
Allano

:smt105

Sorry but I do love a good joke :) E-bay - and other net-trading services - invented nothing. Rather they simply extended the already extant market-place for global electronic trading.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:26 am 
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Wow. the whole gemstone industry seems so fraudulent

hedstrom, You must be very naive
the used car business, estate agents property market
Anyway lets not compare the gem business to used car sales people
The art market,
antiques pantings antquities what ever ?
its all the same you have to know what you are doing
I have some slight dyslexia, and Owen as already put things very well
as usually :)

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:52 pm 
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allanotaylor wrote:
Hi Swishman
Thank you for your detailed assessment of eBay as a useful medium to purchase gemstones and rough material. You have given us a valuable insight as to the potential hazards involved.

I disagree with your comment "eBay is not a place for beginners to be buying" .. this is a nonsense.

A lot depends on whether you are spending $50 or $5000, this being your savings/capital at risk. The majority of buyers would be spending $100 or less and are happy at the way the system operates. I have no complaints. I can detect a scam a mile away but rarely this happens.

As I mentioned before, you are being unhelpful (especially to beginners) in deliberately downgrading the operation of eBay which is a marketing system to be admired. Not perfect, but better than no eBay. Always in any market it is "buyer beware". In this respect, EBay is no different to the gem markets in India or SE Asia or elsewhere.
Cheers
Allano
PS I am not a shareholder in eBay, just a satisfied customer.



The reason the "majority of buyers" of gemstones on ebay are happy is easily attributable to the fact that the majority of buyers do not have the instruments needed to test whether what they received is what was advertised, and are just looking at a pretty rock.

Ebay is not a good place for beginners to be buying gemstones. And everyone who said it isn't is actually being very helpful to beginners - unless of course those beginners don't really mind receiving something other than what they think they bought.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:28 pm 
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allanotaylor wrote:
I disagree with your comment "eBay is not a place for beginners to be buying" .. this is a nonsense.
......

I can detect a scam a mile away but rarely this happens.

I wonder how exactly Allano detects a scam.

I agree with what Swishman said here. I buy things from eBay once in a long while. It is limited to cheap items and only after I do research and know exactly what I am getting. Recommending eBay to a novice for gem purchase is irresponsible to say the least.

Swishman wrote:
Don't get me wrong, there are legit sellers on though, although they are declining daily as they can not compete with the scammers, so they just close up shop.


Been there done that. I wasn’t making money at all. It was labor of love and my customers loved my products.

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:41 pm 
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To answer the original question honestly, these are some of the best for honesty & price on the net.

http://www.multicolour.com - David's reputation is spotless, a site with more reasonable prices on real stones is very hard to find. The qaunity/quality/variety of stones are huge! Maybe the largest on the net.

http://www.swalagemtraders.com - Another great site! Great prices.

http://www.ajsgems.com - Great selection! Good prics.

http://www.africagems.com - Marc Sarosi is one of the most respected dealers in the US. More expensive, but the quality is top.

http://www.palagems.com - Along with Africa Gems, the top dealers readly accessible on the net from the US.

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:19 pm 
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Good sites Elvis,
But with regards to the original question,
hedstrom asked were he could,on the internet buy gemstones
and rough with out buying glass
Think Palagems is a bit up market for hedstrom to start with :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:17 pm 
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davegibson wrote:
Good sites Elvis,
But with regards to the original question,
hedstrom asked were he could,on the internet buy gemstones
and rough with out buying glass
Think Palagems is a bit up market for hedstrom to start with :roll:


So may be top end stones at http://www.multicolour.com, but...

Gotta cover all bases. If he's in trade or is going to be, Pala is a option, for wholesale, cut stones. I figure if he wants to buy rough, he either wants to cut it him self, or have someone else cut it. Chances are he may want to sale it too?

No mention of budget. Pala has stones that will fit many budgets, just like the rest of the sites I mentioned, & all have stones in the tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands dollars, to under $100.00.

Who knows???

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:26 am 
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Also :
AmericanThai:
http://myworld.ebay.fr/american-thai&ss ... X:SELLERID
The Gem Trader: http://myworld.ebay.fr/wwwthegemtraderc ... X:SELLERID
Two are members of these forum.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:54 am 
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Jamey, Barbra and others who have posted on this thread are so right that it is scary.
Last week a had a parcel of 80 faceted gems sent to the lab for testing by a gem dealer who has been in the trade for a few years.

Of them, 75 were eBay purchases spread between about 20 different eBay sellers, so it would give a fairly good indication of your odds at success.

Of those 75, a staggering 67 (89%) were synthetics.

I think that in this case the math speaks for itself. There is usually a good reason why prices are too good to be true.

Yes, there are some excellent sellers on eBay, but finding them and building up relationships of trust, like most things; takes time, money and a fair amount of knowledge.


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