I recently had a client very upset and asking for my help with two gemstones they had bought from a very popular online auction website.
While they were natural tanzanite and were the actual gemstones in the listing’s photo they had been touched so much that it was ridiculous to argue it was not a misleading description of those particular tanzanites.
This is not the first time I see people in that tricky situation and quite frankly this one was just the drop that made the cup overflow. That got me cranky! For those of you reading this who know me, you already know how much I love what I do. To see such a blatant ripoff prompted me to write this post in the hope that it will prevent a few people from getting caught by those nasty dealers that give my industry a bad reputation.
Following are the details of this very bad transaction:
The tanzanites were listed on a popular auction website. The normal details of size and weight were there along with only 1 photo of each tanzanite and the seller’s clarity: “internal flawless”and “AAA” colour grades.
What I think of this listing:
the weight and dimensions were correct
only 1 photo, this cannot give an accurate representation of the gemstone as you cannot see the proportions or regularity of the shape and facetting.
while referring to “Internal flawless” means something it does not have the same importance for a coloured gemstone as it does for diamonds
“AAA” colour means absolutely nothing. No professional laboratories use this in there certification of coloured gemstones. (to see a genuine sample of a coloured gem certificate from the GIA click here or visit the Gemological Institute of America website here)
Now for the eye opener… the photos I took of the 2 tanzanites:
I know I do not have a professional photo set up or pretend to be a good photographer but I think it is quite clear that the colour is different and the angles the photos were taken was to make potential buyers think they were of much higher quality, colour and cut than they actually were.
While the seller refused to refund as they were the gemstone listed, my client got his money back from his credit card company after he gave them the report I wrote for him.
A lot of gemstones sold on the internet are genuine gemstones but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful. You usually get what you paid for but something bought for a few dollars online is not going to be valued at a thousand dollars if you know what I mean…
Lets start with a few simple points to think off before you go shopping for your wedding bands:
Do you both want a wedding band? I know it sounds silly but you would be surprised at how many couples I have seen with one revealing that they actually don’t want one but came along for their fiancee.
Do you want to have an engraving in it? If so you need to have room for it.
Which metal or colour are you after?
Big, bold, statement band or fine band, regular shape or organic / irregular shape?
Diamonds or gemstones feature or plain metal?
What you do everyday can play a big part in the design or style you should go for. For example if you work at a desk all day you can have an intricate pattern on your band that will last a lifetime but if you go rock climbing every weekend wearing your band the engraving isn’t going to last long…
If you are planing well ahead of time let your jeweller know if you are on a diet to loose some weight before your wedding as it will affect your finger size.
On the other hand if you leave it to the last minute that will limit what can be customised! On average I would take about 2 to 3 weeks to get wedding bands designed and handmade so keep that in mind if you are after something unique.
For the Bride
The best way to get started is with your engagement ring. The jeweller who made it for you already as an idea of what you like or don’t like, your finger size, jewellery style and which metal was used to make your engagement ring. If it was specially handmade for you chances are you would have already started to discuss wedding bands to go next to it so save yourself time and go back there to refine your design.
If that is not an option I still recommend you start with your engagement ring as the wedding band will fit next to it. I normally go for a similar profile and width of the ring to complement it and not overpower it. While I usually stay with the same metal and colour I have had a few clients who wanted their wedding band in a contrasting colour (white gold engagement ring and rose gold wedding band for example) so it could be something for you to consider as well.
For the Groom
Most men haven’t worn a ring on a regular basis so choosing a style may take a little time. Try as many ring styles as possible! I know you might not like spending too long in a shop but it is important for you to find something you will be comfortable wearing and also a ring you can be proud of wearing everyday.
To make it more personal I like to explore design ideas with my clients to make their wedding band uniquely theirs. Sometimes we can stylise an element of the engagement ring to be transferred onto the wedding band or create a pattern inspired by their story, how or where they met, their hobby… anything can inspire an element to make it a one of a kind wedding band.
The keyword here is time. Take the time to try different things, you don’t have to buy one on the day or settle on a design at the first meeting.
If you have any questions about wedding bands or any jewellery and gemstones question I am only an email away!
I recently posted on Facebook photos of emeralds repairs including one matching set which had one emerald completely stripped of its oil during rhodium plating (see the Facebook post here). I showed the usual before and after photos which triggered a few questions about emeralds and oil.
I am sure you have seen natural emeralds and noticed they tend to have inclusions and fractures. These are marks of the conditions they experienced when the crystal formed deep in the Earth’s crust. Very often water or some form of liquid was around as well and became trapped inside the gem while it was crystallising.This minute amount of liquid can be released when the emerald is cut and the fractures reach the surface of a facet.
I don’t know when exactly the oiling process began but I can tell you it was a long time ago! The first cutters would have noticed the change in appearance of those inclusions when “wet” as opposed to “dry” and went on researching the best way to make it look as it first did. Through research it was found that Cedar oil had a refractive index very close to emeralds. Basically that means this particular oil is not going to affect or change the natural characteristics of an emerald and simply replace the original fluid that was lost when cutting and minimise the appearance of fractures. Oil is stickier than water so it stays in the inclusions better, this is why I always recommend the utmost care when cleaning jewellery with emeralds.
Oiling of emeralds has been done for many generations and is an accepted treatment in the jewellery industry. Why it is accepted? Because it is non invasive and does not change the overall characteristic of the emerald. It can be removed safely without damaging or any adverse effects to the natural gem.
Any other form of treatment has to be disclosed by the seller, that includes fracture filled emeralds (with some sort of resin), dyes or coloured oils to enhance the colour of the emerald… Synthetic emeralds are normally displayed as “Biron emeralds” or “Chatham emerald” to refer to the manufacturing process that created them (the 2 most common synthetic emeralds available).
This is a very brief explanation about emeralds and oiling, there are entire books written on emeralds… If you have any other questions or comments please use the comment box bellow 🙂