The first thing any gemstone would ask to a seller is its authenticity. Price, cuts, properties and other aspects come much later. However, smart gemstone sellers use a veil of technology and flawed certifications to sell their items, at exaggerated prices. How widespread is the fraud practices in the gemstone is irrelevant? They exist, and they can be identified if you understand what gemstones are all about.
Here are 6 gemstone shopping tips to save you from the fraudsters.
1. Types of fraud practices:
The major issues that hunt gemstone market are—
- Undisclosed gemstone treatments, enhancements, and dyeing
- Substitutions by synthetic/ hybrid/ semi-natural gemstones
- Wrong carat measurements
Once you identify that these are possible areas where sellers may dupe a customer, it is always easy to stay clear of them.
2. Sales and discounts—tread with care:
Most gemstone sellers put up their items on sale during festive seasons. Not all gemstones would be natural or original. Ensure that you buy them from authentic sellers who have a standard reputation in the market. Never ever replace your original gemstones in your collection with something you are getting on offer.
3. Read the label:
Even if the seller recommends you to buy a particular gemstone, ensure that you read the label carefully. The label carries all information that is required to establish the story of the gemstone. It should necessarily carry details about—
- Name of the gemstone
- Weight in carats at the time of mining, and after cut
- Number of processes/enhancements
- Types of enhancements
- Gemstone colour and clarity
- Refractive index
All these factors are mentioned in print and backed by lab testing done by certified agencies that are authorized to support gemstone seller’s business claim.
4. Return policy:
Check if the seller offers the return policy on every sale made. Make sure you deal with a seller who offers the return policy, of course, within terms and conditions. It will save you the hassle in case the gemstone loses its sheen, cracks up or turns into a dull stone, despite promises of being sold as an original item.
5. Buy gemstones from a cutter:
It is always safe to deal with a gemstone seller who has a cutting lab in place. Commercial gemstone sellers often overlook the importance of having a cutting lab in-house. Dealers selling gemstones sourced from Brazil, India, China, Burma and Australia often lose their customer base owing to their ignorance about cutting techniques. Even if they do claim about a lab in place, ensure that it is the certified lab.
6. Read the fine lines:
Is the gemstone cut before treatment, or after? The answer is enough to suggest that the item is flawed or perfect. It is okay to buy a flawed gemstone that is natural, rather than claiming something that looks perfect, but is artificial! Gemstones cut after heat treatment only means that they are artificial, and manufactured in mass volumes. However, there are no specific signs to tell the actual story of the gemstone.
Read the details again for further clarification.
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