I wanted to respond to this: I have never seen a gemstone purchased
off of e-bay that wasn't the worst of its type
I have bought some very disappointing stones on eBay, and others
that were wonderful. I bought a sugilite cab that it so vibrant that
people stop me in public to look at it. I've been unable to find
anything to match it, though I just bought some rough (on eBay) that
looks promising, if I can find time to cut it. EBay is also the
only place I have been able to find sugilite, or nuumite, which is
an unusual and attractive stone.
I have also bought some really nice faceted stones on eBay. I would
advise, though, reading feedback comments, and only buying from
sellers who will take returns.