Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact


Hello John:

You can ask any of the internet mailorder companies especially
Amazon.Com to email you with the various shipping costs. I have
asked before and they have done it. Amazon’s rate for shipping in
the states is very reasonable. I think a part of the problem for
you may be some shipping companies do not service parts of the
world as well as others. I heard that UPS hires other companies
around the world to help with shipment to certain parts of the
world and this pads the cost greatly. I am not sure what method
of shipment you selected but I bet Federal Express may be even
cheaper then UPS to ship to your country as long as you don’t
request overnight delivery.

I hope this helped.


Hi John,

NOW:  would some kind person please enlighten me on the
various current US shipping abbreviations?  Please?

Here’s a description of some of the shipping abreviations.

USPS United States Postal Service (A government sponsored
service) They offer the widest range of services & prices.

UPS United Parcel Service (A commercial, for profit company)
They offer both domestic & international services from overnight
(expensive) to standard (less expensive).

FedX Federal Express (A commercial, for profit company) They
offer both domestic & international services from overnight
(expensive) to standard (less expensive).

Airborne (A commercial, for profit company) They offer both
domestic & international services from overnight (expensive) to
standard (less expensive).

There are several others, but these are the largest small
package carriers in the US.

They all offer different options as to the speed of delivery,
cost, insurability of packages, package size & weight.

In the US, the safest way to send gemstones is via the US Postal
Service using their registered mail option. A registered package
can also be insured.


    I bet Federal Express may be even cheaper then UPS to ship
to your country as long as you don't request overnight

I didn’t - and picked Fedex I assume that is Federal Express?
I’ll be far more careful next time. He who lives, learns!

But I’m in a happy mood: we walked in the Park after lunch and
we saw the odd camellias, narcissus, azalea, snowdrop and
hyacinth were blooming, the rhododendron buds were big, doves
were cooing, pursuing (and poo-ing) the daffs were 8 inches high,
the bluebells just showed their noses, and to put me really in
the mood, my favourite Classics FM program played Strauss’s
Tales from the Vienna Woods! The sun shone from a cloudless sky
(though the air is cold) All this despite our Southern July is
exactly equivalent to your Northern Hemisphere January. Surely
spring can’t be far off? Cheerfully, – John Burgess

As long as we are talking about Tucson there is one thing that
nobody’s mentioned and that is shipping your purchases.

Shipping? Here was a surprise to me! One of my other businesses is
Greens which of course is hot right now and I’ve been shipping out
Christmas Wreaths for years. One of my workers told me to check out
USPS…ah. the US mail system. i said surely UPS is cheaper! these
wreath weigh about ten pounds each and i ship all over the US and
guess what ,When trying the US postal service and using priority mail,
no less, it is cheaper! Lisa

A Caveat… UPS & FEDEX are (IMHO) more prone to misplacing stuff
this time of year. I have never had a problem with the U.S. Mail
… just my .03 ( inflation)

If tracking the package is a concern (assuming you don’t want to send
it registered), the post office has another service called ‘Delivery

Using the ‘Delivery Confirmation’ service cost 35 cents a pkg. A bar
coded sticker is attached to the pkg. The pkg. bar code is scanned
during it’s travels from the sender to the receiver and the info is
available to anyone via the post office web site ( by
entering the number printed on the bar code sticker.

The ‘Delivery Confirmation’ sticker doesn’t provide any additional
security, except letting anyone who sees the pkg. know it’s being

I’ve been using this service for a couple of years & find it quite
satisfactory. Haven’t lost a pkg. yet & all the priority pkgs. have
been delivered in 2 working days.


I switched to USPS last year when we had the threads about shipping
and UPS, FED EX, et al losing stuff and not paying up. I checked with
my local postmaster and was told that if the package is shipped
Express it is automatically insured for up to $500 (just show credit
card slip or other confirmation of cost to collect insurance) and it
is signed for at every step along the way. You and/or your customer
can check status on the net or by 800 phone number. AND - I don’t
have to buy shipping boxes anymore since the PO supplies them for

In over a year I’ve had one problem which turned out to be a customer
error, but what I discovered is that if the piece is expensive or I
have any concerns, I also pay the extra $2 (appx) for return receipt
because otherwise it can take up to 6 weeks for the PO to track it

I ship everything Express and so far, not a single customer has
complained or questioned the $12 shipping charge. I’m a fan of the


I’ve had the bad luck of everytime I decide to give the USPS another
try, they lose something. Recently I had two insured packages go
missing. One was never found, the other was delivered three weeks late
(to a store 150 miles away). I’ll stick with Fedex and UPS; the drop
off box works great for me and Fedex’s Express Saver I think is
comparable to the insurance costs of the USPS and is safer.

Dear Nancy, Whoa ! Now there is a can of worms…just show the
postmaster proof of loss. What if you are shipping something that you
manufactured or created…or what about something that you dug out
of the ground. I regularly ship large numbers of slabs which I have
acquired in myriad ways…often through no cash outlay, but
nonetheless, quite valuable. Guess what the postmaster is going to
say when I tell him that the flawless tourmaline that I collected on
Hiriart Hill was worth a thousand dollars…you guessed
it…T.S.! ( Or, for the benefit of our European friends…Merde
alors !) Or, perhaps, what if I tell him that the kilo of Amethyst
rough that I bought in Zambia in 1998 cost me eleven thousand
kwatchas ? Over the years I have heard that it is virtually
impossible to get money from a claim against the USPS unless you have
very precise, irrefutable proof of loss and ,even then, the delay in
getting reimbursed can be very exasperating. Has anyone out there in
Orchidland had direct experience with the kind of loss that I have
described ?.. …Let’s hear from you ! Ron at Mills Gem, Los
Osos, CA. ( I-30 at the Tyson Early Show )

     I checked with my local postmaster and was told that if the
package is shipped Express it is automatically insured for up to


The post office now insures all express packages for up to $5,000. I
to have had good experience with the Post office with the added
benefit that they will deliver on Saturdays and Sundays at the same
price, as well as pick up at your request when you call the toll free
number on the form provided.

Unfortunately I have had to switch to Fed Ex because a lot of the
time I have packages that are worth more than the insured amount
offered. I have a 3rd party insurance account with Fed Ex. Yes, it
is quite a bit more expensive but you do what you have to do to get
the package there safe.

Some things that the shipper recommends doing to insure that you
package is received is to double box the package. The second box in
the package should be as large as will fit in the first and be just
as difficult to open. The tracking number should be written on the
second package as well. The idea is that if someone takes the time
to open the first package, they are likely to just drop the second
package because the need is to get the items in their pocket. The
tracking number insures that they will be able to get the package to
the person it is intended for without anyone knowing who the
addressee is, e.g., john’s jewelers. You will pay more when you do
it this way due to the extra weight but again I think it is worth it.

Larry Seiger

I use USPS exclusively. However, I always strap tape the insurance
form to the package and since I started doing this, have not lost a package.

Ron & All, I posted about six months ago about theft in the US Postal
Service inside Post Boxes. A person reached through an adjacent box
and stole articles out of my box. A postal employee observed the
hand sticking through the box, but could not catch the person in
time. To this date the insurance money has not been paid. Now all
items shipped to me by the US Postal Service are sent requiring my
signature. Stolen was a $6,000 gemstone, contracts for my upcoming
shows, and who knows what else. This was an inside of the Post
Office, locked box. I do not use United Parcel Service, US company,
because they have left several parcels sitting outside or a neighbors
houses that required my signature for delivery. One package sat
outside for over a week before we found it. Fed EX is better, but
their offices are so spread out that to pick up a package in person
is a considerable inconvenience. So I ure US Postal Service for almost
all my shipping. FED EX is my second choice. I will never again use
United Parcel Service.

Gerry Galarneau

Dear Nancy, Whoa ! Now there is a can of worms......just show the
postmaster proof of loss. What if you are shipping something that you
manufactured or created....or what about something that you dug out
of the ground.

Hi Ron, I haven’t had a loss with them so the only experience I have
is the one time a customer was “playing games” and I hadn’t asked for
a signed return receipt. It would have taken much longer for the PO to
track it down then even though it was sent Express Mail, maybe up to
six weeks. But - my proof of loss is the credit card receipt that the
customer paid for the article. Even though I made the item, the price
they paid is the loss, according to the PO. Now since I haven’t had
a loss, I haven’t tested the practice, but I did check with my local
postmaster (who I am friends with) and twice with the USPS at their
800 number to make sure.

It would seem there are potential risks with any of the delivery
services, but UPS and FedEx really scare me. Yesterday, for instance,
UPS delivered a package to me and they didn’t even bring it up to the
porch, just left it at the end of the walk, on the wet ground, in
plain view to anyone driving or walking along the street. The package
was only worth $165, but if I were dishonest I can imagine how long
it would take the vendor to collect on that package! Fed Ex leaves
things on my porch all the time (porch also in plain view) and it
isn’t because the drivers know me, this route always has new drivers.

I can see you would have a problem if you don’t have something to
prove cost, but I think that would be true for any of them, especially
for jewelry and So… I’ll stick with the USPS where, at
least, I actually “know” someone who could tell me all the hoops I
would have to jump through to get reimbursed AND where packages aren’t
left without being signed for.


Nancy Bernardine-Widmer
Bernardine Fine Art Jewelry

Dear Larry, I just received a delivery confirmation on an
International Express shipment that I recently made and chanced to
look on the back thereof. In the fine print I discovered that
shipments containing precious metals and/or precious stones would not
be covered by insurance. This brings to mind some difficulty with
definitions…what is the line of demarcation between precious and
semi-precious ? We all know that not all Diamonds, for example, are
precious…nor are ALL other stones associated with the term,
ergo…Sapphire, Ruby, Alexandrite, etc. etc. Furthermore, should
silver be construed to be a precious metal ? These considerations
open up a really big can of worms ! I can just imagine shipping a box
full of gem Silica-Chrysocolla and trying to insure it as
semi-precious while declaring it to be worth the full limit of
insurance. And, of course, we are right back to my original question
in a previous posting…how the devil are we going to document a
loss when it is not a regular item of commerce and was not acquired
through the usual channels of commerce ? I think it is time for us
all to rethink our shipping exposures. One of the things I have
discovered is that USPS is exceedingly reliable, but, there are weak
links in the chain…just as there would be in any large
organization. I have a friend in a Southern state who is captive of a
local postal service that is nothing short of a joke. When I mention
the problem to a local postal official there is an immediate sardonic
grin followed by the reply…“No wonder!” Certain local systems are
notoriously bad and become “insider” jokes.

I really don’t think that there is a blanket panacea for the shipping
problem…"You pay your money and you take your chances!"
Nevertheless, next time you have to assume reponsibility for
something you might not be able to replace you had better read the
fine print and nail down the definitions ! Ron at Mills Gem , Los
Osos, CA. ( I-30, Tyson Wells Rock and Gem Show, Quartzsite )

About Fedex. My insurance carrier does not allow me to use Fedex if
the package is being shipped to New York City. Seems that everything
destined for NYC is routed through the Newark, NJ hub. A group of
Fedex employees has been targeting items going to 47th street ( or
the 10036 zip code in general). A word to the wise. rob


I wonder if the precious metals/stones exclusion is only for
international express shipments rather than an exclusion for all
express shipments? I have not read or heard of any exclusions of
this sort for express shipments in the lower 48 states.

Your remarks about the fine print are thought provoking. I am sure
that even with the fine print there is always enough wiggle room to
get any stone, whether it is a traditional precious stone or not
excluded from their list of items that will be insured

Larry Seiger

While it is truely frustrating and even scary to take our chances
shipping things, I thought it might be helpful to be reminded how
much worse it could be. A student of mine, a very talented designer,
I might add, has recently moved back to her home in Argentina. She
bought as much jewelry equipment and materials as she could afford,
because these things are all-but-impossible to obtain there, she
tells me, and it is totally hopeless to mail order. She tells me that
any package from the US is “inspected” at the border. If it contains
anything of value, it is appropriated, and if not, thrown away.
Either way, you never see the package. Fortunately for her, her
husband will be here (the US) a couple times a year, so he can bring
home limited amounts of tools and supplies for her. I feel very
privileged and even spoiled when I try to imagine the frustration of
dealing with such a situation. It’s all relative, I guess.
–Noel, in cold, damp, gray Chicago

Hello, I use USPS (Post office) Express and Fed-Ex. I won’t even get
into the problems I’ve had with UPS! I wanted to caution people about
USPS (post office) Priority mail and Delivery Conformation. The
Delivery conformation is NOT the same as tracking. It only tells you
when the package was mailed and when it arrived. If the package is
lost or delayed, there is no way to find it. That’s not acceptable if
the piece sent is one of a kind or irreplaceable. The package also has
to be missing for 30 days before you can submit a claim for the
insurance. I do think the express is a good deal.

Here’s my favorite story, I mailed a friend in another state a box of
chocolates last Christmas around December 15th by USPS Priority Mail
(2-3 day delivery). I didn’t hear from the friend until March, when
the candy showed up, 3 months later! Where was it for 3 months? That
just amazed me!

Amy O’Connell
Amy O’Connell Jewelry

One more comment on shipping with USPS. I was at the PO today and
asked the postmaster for verification on the insurance. $500 is
automatic with Express Mail, but for additional fee (beyond the $11.75
??) you can insure up to $5000.

Next I asked her to verify what can be used to verify cost. She told
me they even accept a print out of the eBay winning bid. In fact, she
said she just worked on one claim where she was pretty sure the vendor
actually shipped an empty box, but claimed the rare coin was stolen
from within and that it would likely be paid because the customer had
a copy of the eBay screen.

Next she told me I could order all the supplies I needed on the net
and that they would even ship the printed tapes, boxes (any size),
envelopes, forms, etc. etc. But what really surprised me is that she
said they will also print shipping labels with my address on them.

And then, UPS left two more big boxes today with “Staples” printed
on them in big red letters, again at the end of the walkway - and it’s
only 4 more steps to the porch. Lazy, careless and certainly not
looking out for their customers interests!


Hi All, I have a few comments to add about shipping, and I also wanted
to add to Rons post about his express international shipment.I have
been told from the post office that insurance differs depending on
which country you are shipping to. I do know that to India stones are
insured if you send them parcel post only up to $3000. The insurance
is not covered in any other form except for parcel post. I do not
advise anyone to ship loose stones through UPS. I will only use the
US Post Office. About 2 years ago a customer shipped a memo back to
JD Findings insured and JD Findings did not receive the package. This
money was luckily recouped by the customer so he was able to pay us
for the loss. A few months after that incident I shipped (JD Findings)
to a customer in another state a couple of small tanzanites that had
a value of around $200. These tanzanites were shipped UPS and the
customer never received his package. UPS would not refund our money
even though it was insured. We received all sorts of mixed reasons
and excuses from them and I decided not fight it further because it
would take to much time for $200,. Since then I only use USPS with
loose stones and always document what I ship. Registered mail is the
safest and surest way to ship through the post office, although for
amounts under $300 I will ship priority insured. I do have a customer
who has me ship items to him Federal Express with his FED Ex number
because he has special insurance to cover packages. I have sent out a
package last Wed. (11-21) to a customer in Califormia priority insured
for $150. As of last night she still has not received her package and
the post office said during a holiday weekend and because of the far
distance the package has to travel it will take longer than the 2-3
days for my customer to receive the package. A claim cannot be made
until 30 days after the package has been sent. I only feel comfortable
sending my packages through the post office. Diane still closing jdfindings.