I’ve received many emails from military people stationed in Afghanistan or in the general region with questions about Afghan gemstones. Many are eager first-time buyers looking for advice. So I’m writing this article as a thank you to those who serve. Hopefully, this will answer some of their questions.

General Gemstone Buying Advice

No matter where in the world you are, remember this: gem buying is an expert’s game. If you have no experience with the business of gemstones, the odds are not with you. “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Keep that old saying in mind. Buying and selling gemstones is an “anything goes” type of business.

You’ll run into all types of scams and scammers in the gem world. (You’ll even find them at well-known stores and trading areas). Mines in particular seem to attract more cons than any other locations. The miner or seller isn’t your friend. Just because you’re in a mining area doesn’t mean you’ll find good prices or high quality.

Keep in mind that if you’re a Westerner in a foreign country, you might be perceived as a rich outsider. That is, you’re considered fair game. (You’re “the sucker”). Don’t take ideas like “fair…