To buy gemstones on the internet or not to buy?

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:
  1. the weight and dimensions were correct
  2. 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.
  3. while referring to “Internal flawless” means something it does not have the same importance for a coloured gemstone as it does for diamonds
  4. “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)
  5. 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…

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