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Everybody knows that Sri Lanka is the home of the sapphire. Thousands of people holidaying in Sri Lanka also think they might pick up a gem or 2 along the way, even going to the lengths of having jewellery, especially sapphire rings, made there. After all, who wouldn’t want to save a fortune on what is already an expensive purchase. Make sure your trip to Sri Lanka is remembered for its natural beauty and endless beaches and not its gem scams.
As a gemstone dealer with over 15 years of experience buying gems and diamonds around the world, I am constantly amazed when when I hear stories from friends (and in some cases family), or read in the press about people being ripped off when attempting to buy gemstones or diamonds on holiday.
If you’re seriously thinking about buying a ruby or sapphire of this kind on your next holiday, please read this series of guides. It is written with the holiday maker in mind and isn’t full of jargon or technical information, just straight forward advice.
Scam 4: The Galle Gem Scam
How the scam is done
This gem scam has become so prolific that all the major travel sites, such as trip advisor and expedia have listed it as an advisory. The main scam is that the stones and even the metal that surrounds them are not what they seem, coloured glass has been sold as sapphires and silver as white gold. And until an expert can take a close look it is almost impossible to discern what is real and what is fake.
The best way to avoid this scam
For everyone buying jewels and gems in Galle, it is suggested to shop on the stretch of Colombo Road which is considered the “Hatton Garden” of the area, is packed with cutters, polishers and jewellery makers that are very trustworthy. Don’t buy from anywhere else. Read the other scams to see what methods might be employed to trick you into buying something that is not as genuine as it seems.