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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:45 am 
Lukeness wrote:
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.


Yea, verily.....


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:53 am 
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Hi Kerensky
Sorry to be pedantic about your report on the parcel of 80 stones bought on eBay that turned out be predominately synthetics. You don't elaborate on what they were, or what they were thought to be when bought. You seem not to realize that many gem enthusiasts deliberately buy synthetic gemstones which are an important branch of gemology and spur to the advancement of technology. They are therefore not to be rejected or demonized as being undesirable. The world would be a much poorer place without synthetic corundum, ruby lasers, synthetic quartz, emerald and CZ. Don't knock the synthetics. Just learn how to detect them! Allano


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:14 am 
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Kerensky wrote:
Of those 75, a staggering 67 (89%) were synthetics.


Hi Allano,

i understand your point about synthetics but, are you sure the 67 stones above were purchased AS synthetics and not mispresented as naturals?

ciao
alberto

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:20 am 
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allanotaylor wrote:
Hi Kerensky
Sorry to be pedantic about your report on the parcel of 80 stones bought on eBay that turned out be predominately synthetics. You don't elaborate on what they were, or what they were thought to be when bought. You seem not to realize that many gem enthusiasts deliberately buy synthetic gemstones which are an important branch of gemology and spur to the advancement of technology. They are therefore not to be rejected or demonized as being undesirable. The world would be a much poorer place without synthetic corundum, ruby lasers, synthetic quartz, emerald and CZ. Don't knock the synthetics. Just learn how to detect them! Allano



My apologies, let me clarify. All of the stones in the parcel were sold as natural gemstones. They were sent to the lab with print-outs of the original listings accompanying the gems.

They were sent to us as the buyer was suspicious because of their appearance. I'm afraid that learning to detect them doesn't help much when buying stones based on the pictures and information provided by the seller. This case just illustrated how ineffective buying on 'trust' can be.


Last edited by Lukeness on Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:21 am 
allanotaylor wrote:
Hi Kerensky
Sorry to be pedantic about your report on the parcel of 80 stones bought on eBay that turned out be predominately synthetics. You don't elaborate on what they were, or what they were thought to be when bought. You seem not to realize that many gem enthusiasts deliberately buy synthetic gemstones which are an important branch of gemology and spur to the advancement of technology. They are therefore not to be rejected or demonized as being undesirable. The world would be a much poorer place without synthetic corundum, ruby lasers, synthetic quartz, emerald and CZ. Don't knock the synthetics. Just learn how to detect them! Allano


Ummmm..... Not *my* report (sorry if that seems pedantic :lol:). Anyway, isn't the point that the OP bought the parcel as being natural stones?

I agree with you that the world would be a much poorer place without synthetic gems.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:39 am 
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The results I have seen in my lab have been similar.

Clients either bring or send me gems purchased on eBay for testing and as I indicated in my first response misrepresentation and misidentification is not uncommon.

Most "beginners" never get their gems tested as the cost of identification in many cases, is greater than the cost of the gem.

Allano, if I can make an analogy, if a "beginner" wanted to start collecting lithographs by Salvador Dali, Chagall and Picasso would you suggest they do an eBay search? #-o

Probably not.....

You might suggest that they either equip themselves with the knowledge to be able to recognize a forgery (which may take years) or buy from established galleries which DO possess the ability to authenticate the art. Then, perhaps, when the collector becomes seasoned, an eBay search might be advisable......at least for a laugh.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:10 pm 
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davegibson wrote:
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 :)

Couldn't agree more. ALL retail/wholesale/anything sale have a huge wide array of scammers and fraud running rampant. The gemstone industry is really no worse or no better then any other market. Being that they can be sold so easily on the internet due to being able to be simply and cheaply shipped and how popular gemstones and jewelry are, it just seems like this Industry is worse then others. It all boils down to the amount and accessibility. If cars could be as easily sold on Ebay, as gemstones, for example, and shipped so cheaply, you would see far more fraud/scamming there as well! Just look at electronics on Ebay, it is easily as fraud/scamming as gemstones and jewelry is!

The key, as with any thing, is to KNOW your product. And with gemstones, like coins and paintings, means you have to know the characteristics of the real thing and the fake ones and the proper tools to be able to tell the difference.

It never amazes me how someone is willing to blindly spend thousands of dollars on gemstones, and not willing to spend a few hundred on some simple tools and spend some time learning to properly use them. :(

Lukeness, that is about the same as what my testing ends up showing, if not worse sometimes, lol.

For the record, my intentions are not to direct business away from anyone, not even the scammers, but rather to give buyers the information they need to make an educated and informed decision about what they are purchasing and whom they are purchasing it from, by relaying my personal experiences as well as examinations done on other purchasers' buys from the sellers.

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:13 pm 
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As someone who has sold sporadically on Ebay, I can tell you that it is not an ideal place to sell either. Sellers have to pay a significant percentage of their sales to ebay and paypal fees. I'd say at least 20% of your total price (INCLUDING the shipping) goes to ebay/paypal (same company). So, if your gemstone find is unbelievably cheap to start with, subtract 20%, then consider the time and effort it takes to photograph the item, write the description, post and ship the product. These costs, PLUS the cost of the product, PLUS shipping costs, PLUS (presumably) a significant margin of profit, all need to come out of the 80% of the funds that the seller actually receives.

Add to that the fact that it is difficult for buyers to separate the wheat from the chaff, and you can see that anyone selling a quality stone at even a fairly reasonable price does not stand a chance in the sea of dishonest sellers and uninformed (or underinformed) buyers that populate Ebay.

Of course, you can cultivate trust and relationships between client and vendor, but then why do you need ebay? Just set up a website and if people are pleased with your products and services they will return. Then you don't get stuck with all the ebay/paypal fees, or have the ignominity of having your product hawked in the company of misrepresented or low-quality gems.

Given this, it is no surprise that honest, reliable sellers of gemstones are getting harder and harder to find on Ebay.

</rant>

:oops:


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:44 pm 
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NuevoMundo wrote:
As someone who has sold sporadically on Ebay, I can tell you that it is not an ideal place to sell either. Sellers have to pay a significant percentage of their sales to ebay and paypal fees. I'd say at least 20% of your total price (INCLUDING the shipping) goes to ebay/paypal (same company). So, if your gemstone find is unbelievably cheap to start with, subtract 20%, then consider the time and effort it takes to photograph the item, write the description, post and ship the product. These costs, PLUS the cost of the product, PLUS shipping costs, PLUS (presumably) a significant margin of profit, all need to come out of the 80% of the funds that the seller actually receives.

Add to that the fact that it is difficult for buyers to separate the wheat from the chaff, and you can see that anyone selling a quality stone at even a fairly reasonable price does not stand a chance in the sea of dishonest sellers and uninformed (or underinformed) buyers that populate Ebay.

Of course, you can cultivate trust and relationships between client and vendor, but then why do you need ebay? Just set up a website and if people are pleased with your products and services they will return. Then you don't get stuck with all the ebay/paypal fees, or have the ignominity of having your product hawked in the company of misrepresented or low-quality gems.

Given this, it is no surprise that honest, reliable sellers of gemstones are getting harder and harder to find on Ebay.

</rant>

:oops:


Got to agree big time with this post & Swishman's!

I actually considered about two or three months ago selling stones on e-bay, but when I looked at all the ending or close to ending auctions, I thought, NO WAY! There is no way the majority of these stones are real, & there is no way I can sell real stones & compete with all the cheap fakes & synthetics, just no way!

I don't sell stones & jewelry often, but when I do, it is either privately with someone face to face, or through a good friend who owns a jewelry store here in town that has been established for decades.

Now a website might be interesting! :wink: :)

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:04 pm 
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Of course, you can cultivate trust and relationships between client and vendor, but then why do you need ebay? Just set up a website and if people are pleased with your products and services they will return.


Completely agree with everything you say but... don't underestimate the amount of traffic and name recognition ebay selling can bring you. You can make a nice website, try to plug it on various venues and still end up with 10 hits per day and no sales... create an ebay shop with the same name as your url, the same logo etc and you will see traffic going up. Lots of buyers on ebay... not smart not to connect with 'm. You don't have to wack your whole inventory on it but just a few eye-catchers.

Same goes for facebook, twitter and whatever other mass media you can lay your hands on as a starting seller.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:31 pm 
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You know Tim, That is what I thought. But my big disillusion came when I listed a number of items and over the 5-day auction period they got, on average, two unique page views (TWO!). I would put up items (slabs and rough) at what were literally giveaway prices - a small fraction of their retail value, and they would go unsold after 5 days with 2 pageviews! This has happened several times.

I suppose it is possible that my offerings were crap that no one in their right mind would want, but my sales results at gem shows lead me to believe otherwise.

To me, paid google ads are sounding much more promising; you get to pick the keywords you bid on, and you don't pay unless people click the link to your site. Even then it only costs you a few cents per clickthrough.

I do agree about the value of facebook and other social media, but I think ebay is actually a bit past its glory days. Anything I put up on ebay these days I expect to take a bit of a loss on, but I think of it as part of my 'advertising budget' to attract new, repeat clients. But Facebook, twitter, etc.... well, those are free so nothing ventured, nothing gained.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:33 pm 
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Tim wrote:
Quote:
Of course, you can cultivate trust and relationships between client and vendor, but then why do you need ebay? Just set up a website and if people are pleased with your products and services they will return.


Completely agree with everything you say but... don't underestimate the amount of traffic and name recognition ebay selling can bring you. You can make a nice website, try to plug it on various venues and still end up with 10 hits per day and no sales... create an ebay shop with the same name as your url, the same logo etc and you will see traffic going up. Lots of buyers on ebay... not smart not to connect with 'm. You don't have to wack your whole inventory on it but just a few eye-catchers.

Same goes for facebook, twitter and whatever other mass media you can lay your hands on as a starting seller.


Now that's an idea too!

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:36 pm 
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NuevoMundo wrote:
You know Tim, That is what I thought. But my big disillusion came when I listed a number of items and over the 5-day auction period they got, on average, two unique page views (TWO!). I would put up items (slabs and rough) at what were literally giveaway prices - a small fraction of their retail value, and they would go unsold after 5 days with 2 pageviews! This has happened several times.

I suppose it is possible that my offerings were crap that no one in their right mind would want, but my sales results at gem shows lead me to believe otherwise.

To me, paid google ads are sounding much more promising; you get to pick the keywords you bid on, and you don't pay unless people click the link to your site. Even then it only costs you a few cents per clickthrough.

I do agree about the value of facebook and other social media, but I think ebay is actually a bit past its glory days. Anything I put up on ebay these days I expect to take a bit of a loss on, but I think of it as part of my 'advertising budget' to attract new, repeat clients. But Facebook, twitter, etc.... well, those are free so nothing ventured, nothing gained.


Ok, that's another idea too! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:47 pm 
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Hi There (Not again!)
Well, we are certainly getting a lot of valuable information about the use of eBay! I can add my 2 cents worth.

I started using eBay about 10 years ago. Prior to this I had closed down a craft shop that sold, amongst other things, mineral specimens, fossils, and inexpensive jewelry. For several years I was left with residual stock which, on discovering eBay, I proceeded to successfully sell off, at or below cost.

So, what I was doing was increasing my liquidity. The cash flow was directed to other endeavors. The choice was nothing or cash. Alternatively, you can try and sell things at a profit, or as Tim explains, use it as a means to attract customers to your business located elsewhere. Many large dealers have an advertizing presence on eBay for this reason.

Hazards? One time I went overseas for 4 months (eBay account dormant) and when I came back I found someone had been using my account to sell off electronic equipment!!
I complained to the authorities in eBay and closed down my account. No dollars were lost but it shook my faith in the financial security of eBay. I did not use it for several years.

Now I use eBay again for buying things, collectible books, fishing gear, gemstones, inexpensive jewelry and so on, as do most people, including Barbra.

What is important and valuable about all these postings about eBay (a request for info from a member) is that it has generated a large response from gem people having diverse backgrounds. In aggregate we have now accumulated wisdom, from which one can make sensible decisions.

I can recommend reading a book which I recently had from the local library called "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki, who lives in Brooklyn, or did, and a staff writer for the "New Yorker". He explains how the many are smarter than the few, and how collective wisdom shapes business, economies, societies and nations. GemologyOnLine.com is another example where this can happen.
Allano


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy gemstones online
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:08 am 
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FYI, last I knew Chinese sellers pay NO listing fees! They get to list everything for free as well as very reduced final value fees and what not. This is why there are so many scammer sellers on there from China. Heck, China is the leading producer and seller of fakes, forgery, and the like! Everything from purses, to gemstones & jewelry, to U.S. Currency(yes you read that correctly), to antiquities, to sports cards, to ancient artifacts because it is LEGAL in China to produce these fakes as long as you sell them as fakes, but there is no governing once they leave that Country so they use drop shippers to sell them as fakes. They go as far as forging grading containers as well for the coins and even have mastered making them look circulated even under normal 10x magnification!!! There are entire villages there practicing this BS to scam people! One in particular got a hold of an old U.S. Mint machine that imprints the text on the outer rim/edge of the coins that was implemented by U.S. Mint to prove the coins were real and the Chinese village now uses it to forge U.S. Currency, especially the older Standing Liberty's and such, and then fake the grading certs and cases as well.

IMHO, ANY venue participating in scams or knowingly allowing them to take place is NOT a safe place to shop by any means! That goes for Internet, auction websites, TV shows, etc. Would you trust a Doctor to perform your surgery that just prior to your appointment was caught castrating the gentleman instead of removing his appendix!??? :twisted: [-X So then why would you trust an auction site, tv show, or the like, that is known for performing scams, participating in, or just allowing them to take place, on a regular basis? :roll: :shock:

And trust me, Ebay nor PayPal will protect a user against one of their big power sellers! I essentially got blackmailed by PayPal in order to get my money back from a Seller who was selling cheap glass orbs fake pearls that they then spray painted to look like the colors offered by Swarovski and sold them as such as well! I had all proof from micrographs of the spray painted holes, to the fact the pieces had NO crystal core like the Swarovski's do, to micrographs of the surface structure of the fakes compared to legit Swarovski's and everything, yet they sided with this huge volume Power Seller and told me I had to drop any cases pending against this seller with PayPal, Ebay, as well as any outside of Ebay/PayPal if I wanted to get my money returned to me! This seller to this day is still selling all their fakes on Ebay, and funny thing is, point of this story as well, they have like 99.98% positive feedback, yet most of what they are selling is fake!

Another prime example, just look up any of these bulk agate/jasper cab sellers from China or those supposedly here in the USA but are actually sold by Chinese and sent to a drop shipper here in the USA to forward them. They sell them all for .99 cents starting bids. I just got done investigating a few of them(many are the same ring/group of sellers selling under multiple accounts and names) and every single thing they were selling were fakes! Everything from complete, but intricate, resin/epoxy created stones sold as natural, to resin/epoxy filled garbage material(essentially mud) that was dyed and such and sold as natural, to such elaborate fakes as taking porcelain type material and cabbing it and then using an odd silk screened technique or something to create the picture jasper picture on and then adhered it to the porcelain cab and then proceeded to gloss over the whole thing with lacquer or something and then polish it, to taking bits and pieces of real material and epoxying them or using resin to make them into solid pieces sold as natural! Not a single piece turned out to be what it was sold as, None were untreated as claimed, and almost all were actually totally dyed created fakes! But to give them credit, some of these were darn good fakes that would fool the majority of people viewing them!

Even shopping for cabbing rough on Ebay has gotten dangerous! Tons of USA(supposedly, again just drop shipping for Chinese and other foreign scammers) sellers pushing heavily impregnated, dyed, and even irradiated(deepens the blue coloring) lapis from Afghanistan, to completely faked chunks of resin impregnated or heavily stabilized junk, to you name it! And some here may not know or may laugh, but there are a lot of cabbing material like agates and jaspers worth as much and more then many transparent faceted gemstones! Especially since cabochons of agates and jaspers has become a big thing with famous and bigger name designers in order to lower costs and create larger presentations. And the difference in value/cost between a heavily epoxied/resined jasper vs. natural untreated one can be like that of a heated ruby compared to a glass composite ruby!

That said, Ebay is an OK source for advertizing your store if/when you can get away with it! They find out your store name is your website URL and they will reset your name and make you change it! Seen this done many times! And unless you are willing to take some serious losses and start your auctions at .99 cents and more then likely end up having to sell them at that cost, it is not even that great for advertizing any longer! Because, without starting at .99 cents you will not gain the search rankings/placement to compete with the scammers even remotely! Does no good to advertize if hardly anyone sees your auctions! But if you have a few thousand $$$$ to throw away and get a following built up and become a top power seller and pay for a pretty useless Ebay Store, then you may be able to make it and compete, otherwise better off creating your own website and using the likes of Etsy, ArtFire, ArtByUs, and the like to advertize your website and wares. Jen tried to sell on their for a while but it was pointless. Most buyers there want something for nothing now, because they are used to it, but don't know they have actually been being scammed and buying junk! Jen is even in the top Guide & Review writers which means she turns up in the searches even more often and the like, and it still did not really do much for business, sadly.

Soon enough Ebay will be a thing of the past really. The more it fills with scammers the more the legit sellers drop off like flies. Soon there will be nothing left but Thai and Chinese scammers as sellers.

The real sad part too of all of the Ebay BS, is that how much damage it really does do to this Industry because of how many Joe & Suzie Homemakers try to pretend to be big gemstone and jewelry dealers without having a clue what they are buying and reselling and the average consumer only knows what they are presented with, a supposed professional. So when they eventually find out they were scammed it makes the entire Industry look bad and look like crooks, as can even be seen in this very thread on some of the comments! This is one of the main reasons I bother fighting this BS day in and day out! I know far too many folks who worked very hard and went to school and the like to get to where they are and be what they are to watch it get destroyed. Same basic thing happened to the Photography Industry here in the USA when dSLRs became affordable... suddenly every Joe & Suzie Homemaker that could afford one bought one with a kit lens and suddenly they were "professionals" offering professional services to clients! Destroyed the entire wedding, stock, and portrait photo industry for the most part! Because even once the consumer caught on and finally realized these weren't pros they still expected the Pro's to actually do it for the cost of or not much more then the scammers/pretenders! A bit difficult to do if you are a proper business with taxes, insurance, overhead, etc. SO a large chunk of studios and everything were forced to shut down! A legit photog can not do a wedding, for example, for $300-$600, won't happen and can not happen. With all the costs and time involved it is barely worth it to do one for $1200 and that would be totally basic. Yet this is what all the wannabes, GWC's as we call them in the Industry, were charging, $300 or the like, or like $25-$50 for portraits and then handing over a DVD with all the originals on it no less, lol. The same thing is now happening in the gemstone and jewelry industry, and if not careful the results will be the same, it is already happening as it is not just the economy causing all these stores to shut down and/or file bankruptcy! It is the "cheapening" of things by wannabes that do not bother to take the time to educate themselves, open proper businesses with proper licenses and insurance, and so on. Free enterprise is great and free market is great, but it only works if all are forced to play by the same rules! Otherwise it just destroys the entire market! I witnessed this first hand in the photo industry! And it is still barely even making a comeback now, and only doing so because of so much publicity about these GWC's and Joe & Suzie Homemakers not being legit professionals and having no clue that a camera and lens does not a photographer make! It took lots of lawsuits by consumers, lots of national publicity, and even a stupid Court TV show where two Suzie Homemaker's got slammed big time for pretending to be something they were not! Frankly I really do not want to this Industry go the same direction! Luckily I had gotten out of the photog Industry long before the fall, lol. But Jen getting out of this Industry is not really an option, far too much invested in both time and money. So the only choice is to fight for it and educate consumers and the like.

And FYI, please NO ONE take offense by the Suzie & Joe Homemaker part of my post. I have no issue with home businesses at all, heck Jen's started as such. What I have a problem with is those that do not bother to do things the proper and legal way and perpetuate the fraud and end up ruining it for all of us that have worked very hard for a very long time to get where they are! I actually remember when it was nothing and common practice to hand someone a $5K stone on a hand shake or the like and not worrying about being scammed or getting something not as advertized. What I would give for the good old days, rofl! But not really, lol, only for that, I much prefer the present for everything else, hehe. ;).

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