The Gemstone Business


The Gemstone Business – Some Stories and Observations…

Zambian Tourmaline/the gemstone business

Ok. What am I talking about? Well actually this subject is a little broad, but basically what I am trying to say here it that there are no short cuts. You or anybody else will have to work hard, educate yourself and invest in any gem stone business or endeavor in the gem world you start. There are no short cuts. You would not believe how many people write me wanting to know just what they think is a simple answer. Ahhh, you guessed there is no simple answer. So what are the questions?

Here are a few examples. Real ones by the way, people have really asked me. Below the questions are the answers I would like to give, but am too polite too usually.

<I am very new to jewelry making and buying. Can I use the Dichroscope on faceted stones to determine if they are real and/or different stones than are advertised?> If you think the stones are not as advertised, why did you buy them and do business with some one you obviously do not trust in the first place? Not very smart… and yes the stones are very likely not as advertised. No the dichroscope is just one of many tools that are needed for gem ID and not enough to be conclusive by itself.

<Is there a fairly inexpensive test device to determine fake from real or differences in gemstones faceted?> No there is not, that is why there are very expensive instruments made specifically for gem identification and entire training and school degrees specifically in and for gem identification. If it could be done reliably for $100 over a weekend there would be no reason for the expensive equipment and schools.

< I am a retired physicist. I feel sure I will be able to use a refractometer as well as a dichroscope.> Yes, both instruments are fairly simple to learn to use. Neither instrument separate or used together will 100% positively I. D. any gemstone. Neither instrument will help you distinguish man-made material from genuine natural (Beryl, from lab Beryl et…). As far as being a physicist? That means you may have some basic science training, but it also means you know absolutely nothing about gemstones and the gemstone business. Do not assume just because you have a technical back ground that it will make any difference in learning about gem stones, especially the gem business.

<I have been buying stones from eBay, India, Bangkok, shopping channel. Would you like to buy them?> Excuse me I feel a laughing attack coming on. (yes people have really asked.) Ok, why would I buy commercial cut stones from you or from any one like you? No offense intended, but. I am in the business and can buy direct from real whole sale suppliers at probably the cost or below the cost of what the people (TV people I would bet) who sold them to you paid. So, no I do not want to buy them from you. Frankly if you believe some sales pitch about buying loose stones from some TV channel and that you will able to sell them and make money. It is not as easy as they make it sound. YOU BOUGHT AND PAID RETAIL, let me say that again. RETAIL, RETAIL, RETAIL.

Yes, you maybe able to sell the stones to customers (provided you have little or no conscience), but no you will not sell them to anyone in the trade. Also what you bought is very likely not as advertised. In other works you had better test the stones you bought to be sure they are real. Value? YOU PAID RETAIL.

<I bought this stone from eBay, India, Bangkok, shopping channel… Will you re-cut it?> So you bought the stone for practically nothing, you are not even sure if it is a good stone, or even if it is real and you want to pay me a little labor to make it pretty and valuable? If you want quality and beauty, buy quality and beauty in the first place. I have zero interest in making you money at my expense and fixing junk you bought some where. This may sound harsh to some people, but think about it. Why would ANY quality faceter want to do this? Any quality cutter can very easily make much more money cutting their own rough and not have the hassle and often false expectations of some… lets say an ill informed person thinking they are going to make a killing on the deal. Or thinking they made a fast end run around some poor faceter trying to make a living to get the quality and beauty cheap.

I could go on a long time with more real examples. What I am trying to say here is. Give me a break. There is no free ride. No you are not going to just start in the gemstone business with no knowledge, no training, and no investment and be able to make money.

THERE IS NO FREE RIDE

That being said. Every one has to start some where. This is a simple fact. Every one should put in time learning about gemstones before they spend any significant money buying them. This does not happen in a lot of cases, which is way this article is named the way it is. Every one will have to put in the time learning and doing in order to become successful. That is how it is.

So the first question to ask are. What are your real goals? What do you want to do? Until you figure out what your real ambitions are, and know what your goals are, you cannot make a plan to attain them. If you do not know your goals, you are wasting your time.

So go figure out what your goals are and what you want to do… Once you know what you want to do, whether it is just buying nice quality stones for personal jewelry or being trained to facet your own stones or trying to make a living cutting stones or being in the gem business. Once you have decided what you want to do and what your goals are then you can get appropriate knowledge, training and help to accomplish your goals.

Gram Faceting Archive of Information
This edited version of an article by the late Jeff Graham is part of a special archived informational series from Gram Faceting. Used with permission.