back in the day I asked a gemologist (class mate at School for
Silversmiths) how do I know what I buy from the gem dealers is what
it is supposed to be. He told me just “believe what is on the
packet” and that was 25 years ago.
He went to Thailand to buy some gems, ready to spend some serious
money, all was good till he took out his testing equipment then he
was shown the door.
Yep in Thailand all rubbish sapphires are from Australia LOL, the
good ones are Thai. The opposite is true.
Not to say that there are many “tourist” quality stones for sale in
Also an opal dealer I know had trouble selling to Japanese tourists,
price was too cheap, retail in Australia.
Found out the tourists were told, by their tour guide, Australians
were thieves and you can only trust Japanese run tourist shops.
They bought at 200% on retail.
At my gem dealer O’Neils Affiliated, all stones come with a
description of the treatment.
Because of all I have read about glass filled rubies etc. I now use
a lot of synthetics. Tell the customers that the stone was grown in a
lab and is flawless. Also I say to be fair to jewellers if the piece
needs to be repaired the stone will not explode when heated.
I have been shown many stones by by people trying to sell me stones,
unlucky/greedy/foolish tourists. Many are CZ’s the rest are badly cut
and low grade. They get up set when I tell them what they have
bought. Such is life.
Best advice is to keep all invoices and if the stone turns out not
to be what it is described as, then you can send the authorities to
your supplier. Had a customer try and return a ring “Not sterling and
the stone was not black onyx.” I said OK lets get the police and go
to the bullion dealer and then the gem dealer. When they give the
bona fides on the goods we can have your friend the jewellery
arrested. They went away.
I love the stories customers tell me when a piece comes back. I
dropped it on the carpet and the stone fell out.
AKA I dropped it in the driveway and backed the car over it. In over
30 years I have never had a piece come back that did not show serious
trauma. Wow do they get upset when I show them the piece under a
loupe and explain what has happened.
Good for them drop a Ming vase and try and take it back to the
What I do depends on the attitude of the customer, if they are
sorry, I fix it for free, good customer relations.
If they have an attitude well. they can play in the traffic.