I buy most of my sapphires from a supplier in the USA who has many
years of one on one dealing with families in SriLanka and Thailand.
For the last three years I have had the same experiences you have
encountered. My customers have been buying the same quality of
sapphires from GJX and AGTA that I sell at a fraction of what they
cost me to purchase. I talked to my supplier about this and he talked
to his suppliers in country. They both said that the stones being
sold in the USA are money laundering of illegal activities in thier
countries. Heroin, guns, technology, and explosives are traded for
sapphires. These trades are very lucrative as they circumvent laws
and governments and give radical groups illegitimate power through
insurgency and horrific violent acts. Stones traded under these
circumstances come to the USA and can be sold at a fraction of thier
market value and still make gross profits for the seller. That is why
in the US the “Patriot Act” will be more forceably enforced at the
Recent editorials in the Lapidary Journal and Colored Stone not only
pointed out that smuggling is a way of life in they
glorified the life of the smugglers. Money laundering is a very real
part of these smugglers. This is one of the main reasons why I do not
support LJ or Colored Stone.
For legitimate gemstone dealers in the USA these are tough times. I
do not have advice how to change our businesses. The only way I
survive is through innovation and skill, not buying and selling.
Conspiracy Theory: Gems & Junkies in Burma