The internet & eCommerce have heralded the buying and selling of Gemstones with the convenience of the click of a mouse, however is it that easy?
1) The top consideration when buying gemstones online is color. The color should be as pure as possible without a mixing of shades. For example Just Blue is quite different from Bluish Green and so on. Color of a Gemstone is made up of hue, tone and saturation and higher the tone and saturation the better the color.
2) The Top Shades are true colors without any mix of shades. For example a deep red should fetch a higher price than a pinkish red. It is important that the vendor that you are buying gemstone from has spent considerable amount of time, efforts and resources in Gemstone Photography to get you the most accurate photo and video. Since monitor resolutions, color settings, graphics capacity differs from system to system the Vendor should ensure that you get the most accurate picture when buying gemstone that not just emphasizes the beauty of the Gemstones but also clearly indicates clarity characteristics like feathers and inclusions.
3) When Buying Gemstones online always give more credence to video than to photo as a 3-D view gives you a better chance to evaluate cut, color, clarity and most importantly inclusions. Inclusions can have a major impact on the final price. For example an inclusion that is inconspicuous will get a better price than an inclusion that is in the center/ face of a Gem.
* Also note that all Natural Gemstones will have some inclusions even though some may not be able to be visible by naked eye. No inclusions should make your alarm antennas stand.
4) You should have the facilities for comparison of color and price when selecting gemstones online. Gem price per carat is a difficult subject but in general you should be able to compare prices of 2 gemstones in the same weight range. For example you can compare blue sapphire price per carat between 2-3 carats but you cannot apply the same rules to a Blue Sapphire of 3-4 carats. Gemstone prices vary by geometrical progression.
5) It is important when you buy Gemstones online that all treatments are clearly disclosed. The most common treatment when buying Gemstone is heat. Heat treated Gemstones are typically 20-25% lesser in price than unheated ones.
At Colonial Gems we prefer to sell only untreated stones; however there are occasions during processing that a stone can be embedded tightly into the host matrix (rock), and chipping away at the hard stone can ruin the rough gem. To prevent damage the entire matrix will be baked to soften the surrounding stone making it easier to retrieve the precious crystal. This usually has little effect on the stone appearance however it should still be listed as "heat processed" (not treated), and some discounting applied.
6) Origin of the Gemstone is important to some people who are buying gemstones online. Blue Sapphires from Burma, Kashmir and Sri Lanka are the most preferred sources however Blue Sapphires from Tanzania, Madagascar, Australia and Thailand also can be of great quality. The same applies for Emerald, Ruby and Tourmaline.
7) It is also important that when you are buying a gemstone online ensure that the grading report (if supplied, is prepared by a trained professional, i.e; AGS, GIA, ICA, EDL, etc.) Do not put stock into foreign issued certificates, or mass produced gem grading cards from India and Thailand designed to appear "official".
Buy stones from sellers who operate within your home country so you have some level of consumer protection.
8) When buying Gemstones online do your research. Scour the internet and make comparisons, question low-ball prices from websites in India, Bangkok, and Africa. Remember that wisdom should prevail, and if it sounds too good to be true, well then it probably is.
9) When purchasing Gemstones online ensure that the seller has a clear defined returns and refunds policy.
10) A Seller with third party independent reviews is always a great resource since you get independent assessment of the seller without any prejudice. Also ensure that the website is certified virus safe and has the highest degree of security compliance that ensures that your credit card or data can never be misused.
We hope that these 10 tips will help your online buying experience a safe and enjoyable one.