May 20, 2015 | 0 comments

6 Things to Think about Before Buying a Gemstone Online and Off.

by: richard haruni

Buying gemstones online over the past years have been tough for many shoppers due to the production of simulated gem pieces in the market. The spread of these fake gemstones and the actions of scammers has hurt several certified gem suppliers and put gemstone quality at risk. A study initiated by Fire Mountain Gems revealed that fake gemstones are normally made of plastic, glass, ceramic and they often do a fine job in imitating natural gems, making it a lot more difficult for buyers to spot the difference.

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Don’t make a mistake of buying the wrong gemstone. Here we give you the 10 best practices you should consider before buying any gemstone in your favourite local shop or online supplier.

1. Learn the names of the gemstone.

You may be surprised to know that there are more than 15 gemstones in the market today and learning their names is as important as getting yourself a good breakfast. Be cautious of the name of gemstones. You may come across gemstones that are known by two names, such as “Balsa ruby” which is actually red spinel or “evening emerald” which is peridot. See? It pays to be smart on this – don’t get fooled around, familiarise gemstone names.

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2. Identify the gemstone.

The gemstone you are dying to bring home might be one of the following: natural, synthetic or imitation. Natural gemstone is said to come from nature without human interference, while synthetic are those produced in a laboratory using the visual, chemical and physical properties of a natural stone. Due to treatments, synthetic gemstones often appear flawless, giving extraordinary appeal to those wanting perfection. Imitations are described to be simulants that share no similar properties to natural gemstones. They are the lowest quality yet sometimes look authentic. So again we remind you – identify your gemstone’s quality and look out for the imitations.

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3. Check the quality of the cut.

Cut counts – remember that. Cut is what gives a gemstone the beauty and brilliance. How would you start with this? Notice the cut proportion – it should reflect the light in an even manner without any dark areas or ‘windowing’ (being able to see clearly through the back of the stone, like a window). A poorly proportioned stone normally accepts the light straight through thus, reducing the brilliance of the gemstone.

4. Know if the gemstone is enhanced.

This is one important thing you should be asking your gemstone supplier. Gemstones that have been enhanced need special care and cleaning treatments and knowing this upfront could help you do what you need to do. Ask the jeweller the questions like “Has this sapphire been oiled?” or “Does this emerald have any diffusion treatment?” We guarantee; it is all worth it to bring home a gemstone that you know very well.

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5. Confirm the gemstone colour.

This suggests that you need to check the gemstone colour in a variety of lights. Why do you need to do this? Remember that light intensity varies throughout the day. However, when you see a high quality coloured stone, it must look good under all lights – no exception.

6. Shop around and compare.

It pays to spend time to shop around for a gemstone rather than stopping at your first choice. The London market alone has an ever increasing amount of gemstones you can check and compare. Unlike diamonds, the stores selling coloured gemstones are fairly distributed with no central marketing organization. Grading and pricing is a lot more subjective so shopping around can really reward you.

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Buying a gemstone online? Learn from this checklist on what to consider:

1. Return policy.

Check the seller’s return policy. Make sure that you are ONLY buying a gemstone from a store that offers a good return policy.

2. Colour difference.

Listen, what you see on your computer monitor may not be the actual colour of the gemstone. This may be due to the colour settings of the monitor from the manufacturer or the brightness settings that you have set from the start. Sometimes, it could also be the seller applying enhancements to the colour or saturation of the gemstone.

3. Gemstone details.

The seller must be able to provide you the most important details of the gemstone including the carat, cut, clarity and colour. The gemstone laboratory certificate can also potentially increase the authenticity of the stone – it would be best to look out for this.

4. Customer’s feedback.

We cannot stress this enough – perhaps the most important factor you should be looking at when buying a gemstone online. What people are saying can really reveal a lot about the store as a whole. Read what people share about the seller’s services, gemstone quality, payment and delivery services. Contact these customers if possible. You may also find searching the name of the store online as a better option to learn their company connections and social media accounts.

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It pays to be smart every time you look around for your next gemstone investment. Go over our suggestions and keep them in mind. We wish you all the best in finding the gemstone of your dreams and something you could pass on to your future generations.

3 things you can do now: 

  • Download this as a PDF Guide

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