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