Gem buying is an expert’s game. This applies to anyone in the world who is considering buying a lovely gemstone, or two, or more. Rule of thumb: if you have no experience in the business of gemstones, the odds are stacked firmly against you. You’ll run into all types of scams and scammers in the gem world, even in shops, trading areas and at mines.
Let’s get one thing straight : Gemmology, as opposed to Geology, is a b-u-s-i-n-e-s-s. Its sole purpose is to make money for the vendor.
That said, there are many vendors who are really good people. They don’t want to scam you because they want repeat business. But don’t get side-tracked or deluded into thinking they are your friend. They are business owners, which does not mean they are scam artists, they are in the trade for a living income.
Are you travelling? Well, keep in mind that if you’re a tourist in a foreign country, you will be perceived as a rich outsider. That is, you’re considered fair game, the proverbial sucker, if you like … you know, there’s one born every minute. Don’t be deluded or romanced into the notion of fair play. You will find that local business customs may differ from what you are used to, back home. If you’re going to play the game, you can’t just take people’s word for it!
But you can’t resist that huge emerald at a steal! Or the rubies that are priced too good to be true! Sorry to be the one to burst the bubble… the other mindset is that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
Negative information is rarely volunteered, in fact, you need to stay in the buyer beware mindset.
Already bought gems before you read this article? No problem. Have the gems carefully examined at a gemmology lab. I’m guessing there is one in every major city, so get into the yellow ages and look it up. This is good practice. Human error occurs in even the best situations, even the vendor may have been not enough on his game and may have been tricked. Very occasionally, you can get gems checked before even making the purchase. Not often, but it has been known to happen.
If you want to test the gemstones on your own, you need to use tried and true methods. These are the tools of the trade that you will require, plus the knowledge of how to use them and what you are looking for.
Dichroscope - Spectroscope - Microscope - Refractometer - Specific Gravity Liquids
Oh, and by the way, the gadgets you purchase on eBay or the dollar shop by means of a shortcut to gem identification, don’t work - save your money.