Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact


G’day Tom, and welcome to Orchid. Some while ago I worked at
Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, and took a course in
Gemmology (courses were free to staff!) The course was run by Dr
Allan Taylor who was a geochemist. As part of his research he was
engaged in making emeralds by the ‘bomb and liquid’ method. He
doped his material with vanadium, and I saw two of his successes

  • one about half a carat, the other smaller. He faceted them and
    set one in a ring for his wife. The point is that his emeralds
    were a really brilliant green, which he said was due to the
    vanadium, and agreed it was indeed a brighter green than the
    natural stones. However his emeralds were very brittle and one
    broke as he was faceting it. I am well aware that natural
    emeralds are brittle but it seems that his were worse than usual.
    Is this due to the vanadium content? Has the brittleness of
    the synthetic stones been overcome? It takes months to make them
    and a good deal of expensive equipment; is it worth the trouble?
    Thanks for being on the forum, and cheers,

     / /    John Burgess, 
    / /

    / //\ @John_Burgess2
    / / \
    / (___)

I have a couple of questions. Does anyone sell Zambian emeralds
in their stores? I hear they are less expensive, less included
than emeralds from other sources. How easy or difficult is it to
import them into the United States?


I hear they are less expensive, less included
than emeralds from other sources. How easy or difficult is it to
import them into the United States?


To find out everything you ever wanted to know about Zambian
emeralds, contact David Chivers, of Lukusuzi Gemstones, Ltd.,
(Zambia). He can be reached at:  

Or, you can contact his U.S. agent, CJ, at Gemstone Brokerage
Associates, Ltd., in Albany, NY. CJ’s email is:


Tom LaRussa

My son-in-law is from Venezuela. He’s been handed an offer to market
Emeralds for a friend who has just inherited his father’s mine and
cutting operation. Don’t we all wish we had these problems?:)…Well,
the draw back is that my son-in-law has no experience. Where in the
New York City area should he go to appraise and market these
Emeralds , faceted and cabochon,3mm-up in size. What should he look
out for and what tricks of the trade can you help him with? I
appreciate any and all help! Lisa

Lisa, I haven’t noticed anyone respond to your request for
on marketing emeralds so I’m going to give you my 2 cents
worth. Unfortunately it will probably not be what you or your son in
law want to hear. The first thing he has to do is go get a gemstone
education. This is particularly important when it comes to dealing
with emeralds as there are so many treatment issues involved. This
is not something he can learn in a day or two. He has to go to the
Gemological Institute of America or some other accredited school and
learn what it is he is handling. He also needs to go out and survey
the marketplace for the types of goods he is going to sell. Simply
taking a product and trying to hustle it to anyone he can, is as
stupid as opening a McDonald’s upstairs from another McDonald’s.
There is no easy way for him to take this product his friend wants to
sell him and remarket it. He has to establish whether he is going to
sell this material to wholesalers, retailers or directly to the
public. He has to spend some time in some end of the trade learning
about mark ups on his product and how to sell to the type of people
he needs to. To me these things means he needs to give about the
next two years of his life to self education and working for someone
else in the trade.

I cannot begin to tell you how many people have showed up at my door
trying to sell product from overseas that they have no understanding
of and that someone has told them they can make a fortune on. I have
NEVER bought from anyone who has not already established themselves
as knowledgeable, ethical dealers. My personal advice would be not to
even attempt this project unless he is prepared to go spend the time
first educating himself. There is no simple solution.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G. Spirer Somes Jewelers 1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140 617-491-6000 @spirersomes

Here, here, Daniel. I just wanted to note that GIA does offer some
distance education courses that would offer a beginning point for
learning about gemology, at a lower cost than enrolling in their
campus. You might well choose to do that later, but by then you will
have had a chance to better evaluate the opportunity before you. (GIA
can be found at

To get an idea of what the competition is like, you might consider a
trip to Tucson in February. Nothing like walking around town to 30 or
so shows, with thousands of gem dealers, to give you a new
appreciation for how many people are involved in this business. AGTA
also offers a selection of education programs in gemology and
marketing that would be another opportunity to educate yourself. But
be awaRe: many of the shows require a resellers’ tax number and
proof that you’re in the industry, such as invoices showing gem
purchases. Learn more about tucson at

As Daniel notes, there’s a lot more to being a gem dealer than might
appear at first blush. There is such a range of quality in colored
as well as a wide variety of common treatments, that in
order to be successful, you must be knowledgable. I’ve been writing
about the gem industry for nearly a decade, and I wouldn’t even
consider tackling such an opportunity without more gemological
education than I have. I’m a generalist, and for this biz, you
really have to be a specialist! If you can’t take the time to acquire
the knowledge, pass on the opportunity – it’ll save you from finding
yourself stuck with a bagful of low-quality emerald you paid premium
prices for, and can’t unload. It is possible to build a successful
gem business – but like any business, it takes time, effort, and

And remember, if something seems too good to be true – it probably

Suzanne Wade
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (520) 563-8255