Buying gems from Jewelry Television

The other night I was having trouble sleeping, and tuned into
Jewelry Television. The jewelry looks pretty tawdry—but evidentally
they have no problem selling the stuff. However, I was intrigued by
their and logged onto their website. The prices are
amazingly low. They claim they are natural, and calibrated. They do
tell you if they have been treated, and the ones that are synthetic
or simulated are clearly identified as such. I am curious, has any one
on Orchid ever bought any? If so, what is your opinion of their

Either they are a very good buy, or else, the public is really being
take n for a ride.



Years ago when home shopping TV started it seemed that the quality
of the jewelry was low and the prices where about average retail. Over
the past several years I have taken in trade for some of my pieces,
a number of rings, earrings and necklaces that have been purchased on
TV shopping shows. All of the items I have taken in recently seemed
to be made in China. The workmanship and quality of materials seem
fairly good on these items.

The future for mass producers is here and for them it is to have
things made overseas and for as little in labor cost as possible.

This is a wake up call to everyone in the jewelry or luxury goods
business that is not capable of selling mass quantities of
merchandise. Do not try to compete on style or price but instead
create items that set you apart and are not capable of being mass

Greg DeMark


funny enough, my grandmother bought me some of these gems for

some of them are fine. the citrine look ok, but are pale. same with
aquamarine. the rubies are CRAP as as the sapphires. some of the
stones are chipped, and some are so heavily included that i would
never try and set them.

but…i don’t know how she bought these! all i know is that i opened
them up on christmas! it was a sweet thing for her to do…she was
being supportive and thoughtful.

none of them are matched, which is what i use, and they are a bit
too “flashy” for my taste…and to me, strange shapes…but, hey!
if any of this sounds good and the prices are right, why the heck
not? you know they stand by their product at least, they have to to
be so big. or else i am naive, which is entirely possible.

personally, i like to know what i am getting, as far as quality
goes. i like to see the stones in real life 1st or at least be able
to order a quality i can be assured of.


Either they are a very good buy, or else, the public is really
being taken for a ride. 

I’ve had a little experience with Jewelry Television, and I believe
it’s mostly the latter. I first saw their show around two or three
years ago, when they had one Graduate Gemologist on their staff. Even
then, they were very open about discloure but, as expected, did not
focus on it much. They definitely use the standard patter to call the
uninformed public’s attantion away from the fact that they are
getting what they pay for.

My first experience was “not bad”. I bought a 220 carat parcel of
loose stones, I forget how much I paid ($1/ct, maybe?). The bulk of
it was quartz (in the form of amethyst and citrine) and topaz
(colorless to swiss blue - none of it was a fine color, like
imperial). Plenty of reddish garnets, moonstone cabs, tiny black star
sapphires and black star diopside, many small, low quality opal cabs,
pale faceted pink and green tourmalines, opaque faceted emerald and
ruby, several peridot, etc. All of these stones are small (many below
1ct), fair to poor in color, and the cut is just short of abysmal. On
the up side, a lot of the topaz and peridot matches in size and
color. There were also a couple of decent 1ct andalusites. As far as
all that goes, I was disappointed…that is, until I checked a fairly
large (14mm or so) yellow stone that turned out to be a golden beryl.
My guess is that it slipped by their GG, because it’s worth what I
paid for the parcel. Others in the local rock and gem club bought
similar parcels and brought them to meetings for ID. I never saw
anything remotely close to that beryl in value, so I’m guessing mine
was a fluke.

Encouraged by my initial luck, my mother started buying from them.
One spessartite she bought was a good deal, but the next one wasn’t
so much…a 1 ct faceted blue sapphire touted as being from
Kanchantaburi, Thailand. It’s pretty in its own way, but it has so
much silk that it looks very cloudy. I don’t think the one they
displayed on live TV looked that bad.

It was the (now famous among all my friends) Lab-Created
Tsavorite-Colored Obsidian they sold that woke mom up. I didn’t
actually hear the show’s hawker give their pitch for this piece of
garbage, but I’m sure they barely touched on the fact that it was
actually just faceted glass.

We had a customer bring in a Jewelry Television ring that contained
five marquise cut “alexandrites.” They did test as chrysoberyl, but
had zero color-change. Thus, not alexandrite. She must have known, or
she wouldn’t have brought the ring for appraisal. She said that
Jewelry Television would refund her money, but they needed a reason.
She wanted the appraisal to say that they weren’t alexandrite but, of
copurse, an appraisal can only list what is, not what isn’t. I don’t
know whether she got her money back, or not. I wonder how many
uninformed people kept their “alexandrite” rings.

To their credit, Jewelry Television will refund your money if the
goods are returned within, I think, 30 days. But their prices are
low for a reason. You don’t get their display model, color and cut
varies widely, and you get what you pay for. You don’t have to buy
from TV either, they do have a web site. Once a person returns a few
stones, they start to balk at sending more.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL

They’re the ‘Walmart’ of cut stones.

If you look at my article on commercial cut stones you will
understand what you’re getting. Just remember, low cost comes with a
price to someone, somewhere (as with anything, not just



Thank you so much for posting your query. I’ve wondered about their
stuff also but what really puzzles me is the presentation. The people
selling are like the old-time hucksters I used to see on the
boardwalk in Atlantic City when I was a child. Would anyone really
buy from them? Apparently, yes.


They are related to, from which I bought at one time (no
more !). Sometimes you can get decent gems at a reasonable price, but
there is a lot of crap for sale too. Most of their stones have issues
of one sort or another. They’re an outlet for Thai lapidary mistakes.
All in all, I would recommend avoiding them.

Here’s an example if it’s still posted: Look up item I1C035. A light
blue-grey iolite (it should be a near tanzanite blue if it’s a good
one). Notice the nice crack right across the center. They want $
40.00 for the stone. $0.40 is more like it. :wink:

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Dear Frinds,

I see your quarry here. As my feelings, they are very good buyers.
They directly buy from source & also buy in bulk. I feel that they
give a very low margin to supplier but they buy the whole stock, so
supplier sell in their prices. There may be some broken but this can
only be 1 or 2% for the whole lot. They buy close out. I know several
peoples in India who are only work for them. They also sell loose
stones in two ways, 1) In lots, These lots are made by many stones.
They sell these at very low prices, In one lot you can get many
stones. 2) Single Peaces, They sell these on their web side also. Any
one can buy good stuff by there choice over there. They sell jewelry
on tv & web side both.


One other thing I forgot to mention is that if you are using these
types of stones in your jewelry it is only a matter of time before
someone notices. Once that happens your reputation will go down the

Trying to make an extra profit by buying a .40 cent amethyst that is
cut way out of proportions is just wrong in my opinion. Buy the more
expensive stone and talk to your customers about WHY it’s more
expensive, and WHY the materials are better.

A hyundai and porsche are still made out of the same material… it’s
the craftmanship and engineering that goes into the whole thing. Not
everyone can afford a Porsche, but alot of people won’t buy
hyundai’s either.

Almost all the stones on jewelry television, and all the other
‘wholesalers’ for that matter are cut way out of proportion. The
pavilions are too deep, the angles of the facets are wrong for the
material, the long step cuts are crooked, the crowns are all
over/undercut… they look polished with sandpaper… you want to put
something like THAT in your jewelry?? If so, I guess you don’t care
about your reputation.

I know everyone will read this and think I say these things because
I facet stones, and it’s true it IS why I say it, BUT it’s not
because I am trying to make money (believe me I already have enough
orders to keep me busy) it’s because you don’t want to damage your
reputation when someone finds out you are selling them the same
thing they can buy on TV.

I know everyone is trying to cut corners and compete with the low
end jewelry stores who seem to get more sales (walmart, Sams Club,
BJ’s, QVC, etc) but you really can’t. No one can. The more you try
the more you will hurt yourself. You have to set yourself apart. If
people want to shop in your store and compare it to QVC then you
really have to make them understand there is a world of difference,
unless of course, there’s NOT…


They're an outlet for Thai lapidary mistakes. 

Yes! That’s exactly what I found. I broke down and bought a parcel
for my 7 y/o son to give him something to oggle along side me. It
also keeps him less interested in my collection, having his own. He
inherited my rock passion. So we examine his ‘gems’ together and I
don’t point out the lapidary chaos, chips, etc. He calls those
’naturals’ which is what his friend Blue taught him. He takes them
for show and tell and shows friends how to use the loupe, etc. Too
cute. He rather go to the Pala mine than Disneyland and wants to be
a “gold melter” when he grows up. Thank you Doctor for IDing that big
green tsavorite colored obsidian that glows in the dark. I’ll be sure
to tell him what that is…he does collect marbles too.

So, I don’t regret my sons parcel because it keeps him sparked. But
that’s the only reason why.

We consign loose and finished goods to the Jewelry TV. Our
experience has been they sell large bluffy material best or
outrageously inexpensive poor quality goods. They will occasionally
sell product near cost although airtime is expensive so the markup is
typically between 2 and 3 times cost. I believe most of the reason
they can sell at such low cost and still make money is overseas
dealers are consigning goods at cash prices.

They sold 3 of our last 4 consigned Kashmir sapphire rings in the
past 2 years. Their cost was between $15,000 and $30,000. They
doubled their money on every piece and sold them in less than 2
weeks. They paid in 30 days.

I really don’t understand what jewelers are doing or not doing, but
these TV people can move certain types of goods. However, the goods
are for the end user and not retailers. Jewelers can purchase for
less but it takes many years to build the right contacts.

Ed Cleveland