Straight talk from local jeweler Scott Bohall on buying genuine gems
Straight talk from local jeweler Scott Bohall on buying genuine gems.
By Scott Bohall
Is a poster as good as a painting? Is a fake designer watch as good as the real thing? Is laminate as good as solid wood? Is microwave pizza as good as the freshly made variety?
The jewelry industry is loaded with gems that are coated, dyed, simulated, diffused, irradiated, lab grown, glass filled, composite, etc. Sadly most people selling them don’t know enough about the pieces to give you a straight answer, even if you ask the question.
Just this week, I have had more than a dozen customers bring in “smoking deals” from Groupon and Internet sources that are 100 percent frauds in the way they are described. I have no problem with selling any type of jewelry from plastic to rare gems as long as it’s described accurately. If you believe that someone can sell multitudes of genuine opal earrings for $10 that are supposedly worth $300, maybe you’ll never know that what you have is plastic that looks similar to an opal.
There are “rubies” that lose their color just by dipping them in lemon juice being sold online and in some department stores every day. One hundred years ago people who were this dishonest were called snake oil salesman. Now this kind of dishonesty is affecting thousands of people everyday and there is no one going after these shysters.
Yesterday, a man came in with a sterling silver bracelet made in India with average color tanzanite stones. The bracelet would sell in most stores for between $1,500 and $2,500. This gentleman paid $5,000 and it came with a certificate from the seller claiming it was worth $12,000! Now the man wanted to turn around and sell it and will be lucky to get $1,000 for it.
Keep this in mind: If you ask a floor sweeper at Walmart to help you select a fine wine, your experience will be quite different from asking someone trained in fine wine. Select your jewelry this holiday season from someone who knows what they are doing and who’ll sell you genuine gems with full disclosure as to how they are treated and graded.
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