A first-time purchaser in the wholesale market, that too for loose gemstones? Don't know who to trust, where to buy, how, and for how much? Luckily enough, we have a list of the dos’ and don'ts for you right here, so read on!
Let us first quickly go through the pro tips!
- Colour and lighting go hand in hand since the color of some gemstones changes with the change in the wavelength of the light present. Do not be fooled by dealers using full-spectrum lighting to bring out the brilliance of the stones. You might end up buying something completely different than intended.
- The certificate of guarantee of the stones is of utmost importance, especially if you don’t have personal relations with the dealer. Countries have their standard authorities that certify these gems. In India's case, it is the Laboratories of the Gemological Institute od America (GIA). A government certificate proves that the stones’ quality standards comply with the laboratory standards.
- The quality, size, history, and authenticity of a gem are important and shouldn't be overlooked or taken lightly. Other details such as the cutting and clarity should be checked too.
- In the case of online purchases, wholesale buyers should exercise special precautions since photos may be easily manipulated.
- A lot of synthetic and imitation gemstones are present in the market and are cheaper than the natural ones. Always do your research about what you’re looking for and where you can get the best price and quality for it.
- Keep a good margin for the mark up in case the purchase has been made for commercial purposes. The value of a gemstone rises multifold depending on the re-cutting, polishing, etc.
- Even naturally occurring stones have flaws and imperfections. Gemologists often use them to identify the origin of the stone. The best quality gemstones have deep tones, saturation, and are of natural, brilliant colors.
- To identify fakes, use magnifiers to check for air bubbles, scratches, color concentrations, and atypical opacity.
- Try to buy as low as possible but buy right. If the prices are unusually low, you have a right to be suspicious. Moreover, the prices aren’t very predictable in this industry.
A dealer may belong to any of the five tiers, and fundamental knowledge of this tier system may prove to be beneficial.
Always remember your four C’s:
- Carat – is determined by the weight or density of the gemstone. One carat contains 100 points, but that does not mean that two species of stones, both worth one carat each, will be of the same size. It is so because stones have varying densities and hence may physically vary in size.
- Cut - refers to the aspects or facets that the gemstone is cut into. It enhances the depth, light-reflecting property, and general brilliance of the stone. Do not confuse it with the shape of the stones.
- Clarity - refers to the number of flaws a gem has. The lesser the flaws, the better the stone's clarity and quality, the higher the price. In a few cases, it may be seen with the naked eye, but usually, a magnifier is necessary to check for clarity.
- Colour – much like the animals you love, gems have species too. These species have different colors, for instance, Emerald is green, and Sapphire is blue. Nowadays, it is common for dealers to carry gems that have undergone extensive treatments to enhance the stones' color.
The basics of gemstone trading
The United States has some of the most beautiful stones, occurring naturally and locally available too! To name a few, there are Opal, Sapphire, Jasper, Tourmaline and many more! The eastern countries price their stones at a much lower rates and hence, a lot of Americans purchase theirs abroad. For more data, click here.
The rarer the stone, the higher the value. It is a good idea to shop for gemstones at clearance sales or hoard during 'off-season.' In case you are dealing with e-retailers, make sure to read the fine print, the description, and T&C and get the guarantee certificate of your precious and semi-precious stones. Also, know their return policy, if there, as well as shipping information. Since you're buying in bulk, negotiate, and bargain well.
You might want to visit trade fairs or monthly gemstone markets if you have the option. Purchases at brick and mortar stores are always preferable for inspection and reliance purposes. For instance, the color is as important as the cut, size, weight, polishing, inclusions, brilliance, and finishing of the stones, but these are hard to identify in online purchases. Examining the gemstones might prove to be a tedious process but is equally important too. You should always know what you’re in for.