Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Gemology question

Hello Everyone,

I am a GIA graduate in Gemology, Diamonds and Colored Stones I am currently identifying some stones that were donated to a non-profit I volunteer with here in Seattle. Does anyone know the laws or requirements, about selling second hand stones in the USA i.e. specific requirements for certification of said stones? Maybe there are none? I would just like to find out.

Ellen Lyons

If you get an answer to this question please share. I’ve been given some stones and am curious about how to move forward with them.

HI Ellen,
It’s a free country, you can sell anything you want. The issue would be more what you call it. If it is specifically called a particular species (sapphire, garnet, etc.), then if it isn’t that the buyer could return it or perhaps even make some complaint on you or sue you, call fraud, etc. If you call it natural rather than synthetic, then it ought to be that. If you measure the stone or weigh it, those should be accurate. If you specify a certain clarity level, that should be correct. I have never seen any exact specs on color ratings, and these are a matter of judgment, so you have some leeway there, altho’ you shouldn’t call a green sapphire blue. You are basically on the hook for a return and refund if your stone is not as you claimed, which is an argument for not claiming too much. It is probably a good idea to put a time limit on returns, but IDK how valid that will be if you are actually completely incorrect about your description and the stone is not what you say it is.

Just a point of clarification - there actually is a color standard for describing gemstones. As a Graduate Gemmologist, I use a set of about 200 samples called a gem set which define colors as hue, saturation and tone.
judy h

Well, yes, there is a gemset, but it’s been out of production for several years and never reallly caught on. There is also Gemdialog, but that isn’t in wide use, either. I have the Gemworld Guide’s World of color, which consists of a book of graded Munsel type colors of various hues, saturations and tones. These all give numerical ratings to hue, saturation and tone, so technically I am wrong, there are color ratings which are rather exact. However, and this is what I was getting at, you won’t find any of these in common use among sellers and they are still dependent on the skill of the evaluator and are somewhat subjective. If you’re selling, you can/should describe the color with the GIA color names (e.g., strongly greenish blue, etc.) as best you can and use photos, altho’ you will find that some colors are notoriously difficult to photograph correctly and it seems that the camera will often impart an off color to the white background you should be using. Your best bet is to describe honestly as best you can, use good photos and offer a return privilege.

1 Like

Thanks everyone for your input. It is very much appreciated. Now just to clarify, these are all stones from jewelry donated to the Seattle Women’s Jewelry Shelter Project. (We donate jewelry to area shelters for abused women for special occasions to help them start healing). Anyway, all of these stones will be resold to area metalsmiths and students. I plan to label the ones that I know for sure (and document RI’s and inclusions)and the rest of the stones will have the word “probably” or “most likely” in front of the stone ID. Liability won’t be a big issue now.