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“Gem hunting” tourists. Good deals are rare.

natural gems

Many tourists decide to buy gems in foreign countres believing to do great deals, but they are often cheated and buy synthetic or treated gemstones. The gemmological certificate seems to be the only sure instrument to help us in purchasing precious gems.

Mr. John Smith has just decided to take a break form job with an holiday in the marvelous Thailand. So, he has bought an economy flight ticket and, after having packed his bags, he has left for the adventure. After relaxing days on the beach and several dishes of Som Tum with papaw, he decides to visit the place doing shopping. At a Bangkok’s shop, Mr. Smith bumps into the deal of the century: he has never noticed before the attractiveness of rubies and it seems that Thailand offers several example sold at optimal prices, the ideal present for that colleague with golden hair who fascinates him so much. So, after a superficial inspection of the ruby, negotiating the price, he purchases it at a very affordable price, and it’s a deal!

At this point, we like thinking that Mr. Smith, returning form holiday, will give the ruby the the woman of his dreams, she will be very delighted and, as they say in these cases, “they will live happily ever after”. However, if Mr. Smith will decide to bring his ruby at a gemmological laboratory for an analysis, he will find put the sad news: the ruby purchased in Thailand is not rare but it is a lead glasses filled ruby. In effect, Thailand is one of the main producer of these low quality rubies, filled with lead glasses to hide the evident fissures created by mother nature. Actually, in Thailand there are also high-quality natural rubies, from local mines or form Burma. These rubies have an higher value that those filled with lead glasses and they can’t be cleared neither by local sellers who know so well their value and rarity.

Mr. Smith does not have to lose heart so much because he is not alone. Many tourists decide to buy precious gem in exotic places believing to make a great deal, but then they are disappointed discovering that their gemstones are synthetic, manly treated or they are not what they believed.

Many exotic bazaars propose gemstones as "deals"

Many exotic bazaars propose gemstones as “deals”

Brazil, for example, is one of the first producer of aquamarines in the world, rare and gorgeous gems with a clear and brilliant hue. Btu, it is not impossible to persuade a tourist – who is dazzled by the precious gem, and also by the sun – to purchase a light blue topaz passed off as an aquamarine.

These two gemstones have similar hues but topaz is less valuable and, in the 90% of the cases, it is also very treated to improve its colour.

However, topaz is really appreciated within jewellery sector, especially if it is an Imperial topaz with an orange-golden colour. So, a tourist in Brazil could decide to buy precisely an Imperial topaz. Would he play it safe this time? Unfortunately, no. He will run the risk of purchase a citrine quartz “disguised” as topaz, whose real value is 20 times lower than the Imperial gem’s one.

Many people are deceived by colour or characteristics’ similitude, moreover there are also other countries, in addition to Thailand and Brazil, that represent a risk for those poor amateur “gem hunters”. Colombia is the main source of the best emeralds and everybody knows how the bight and intense green colour of emeralds can seduce, making this gem one of the most loved in the world. However, who purchases, or believes to purchase, a natural emerald in South America at a very affordable price, often finds out that that gem is synthetic, that is, created in laboratories.

A synthetic emerald has a very lower value and, therefor, the purchase was not a good deal at all. In some cases the purchased emerald can be natural but treated with resins which considerably reduce its value.

Tourists may be really hurt, economically and emotionally, if they find out that their gems are synthetic. Nobody likes being cheated and, in may cases, the cheats happen in relation to one of the most famous and remarkable gemstone: the diamond.

Diamonds can come form different places, but in some nations where synthetic or treated diamonds are produced .

Recently, our laboratory has observed a diffusion of Russian synthetic diamonds for surrounding countries like Afghanistan. The cheat does not happen only to tourists but also to people working in these zones.

These people are fascinated by convenient prices and decides to buy Afghan diamonds to give away or maybe to be mounted on an engagement ring to fulfil a dream returning from a long journey, exactly like in films.

Pay attention! You could do a sorry show with your girlfriend.

Unfortunately, gemmological tests often reveal that these diamonds are synthetic and not natural or they can be diamonds that have a lower value, as it happens with Milky diamonds.

Milky diamond are rare in Europe and they have normal colour and clarity grade, but they appear not so bright, with a milky crystal that makes the gem looks opaque. If seen under strong light, it is difficult for the inexperienced eye to recognize them, and we are generally focused only on the remarkable difference in price in comparison with the jeweleries near home.

Milky diamonds are never supplied with a IGI, HRD or GIA international gemmological certificate, as it is not worthwhile.

Cheated tourists do not have to lose heart so much because it can be really complex to recognize divergences between gems and discover the cheat; only the aid of an expert or detailed analyses can show the differences. For this, Luxedo commits itself to analyse and pre-certificate each example in its catalog, in order to to verify the gemmological characteristics. Moreover Luxedo, as independent laboratory, also issues complete gemmological certificates and everybody can ask an analysis for proper gemstones, in order help you to valorize your purchase and suggest more accurate and wiser future choices.

So, it is evident as cheats at the expense of tourists and buyers of precious gems in the world are really common and it is necessary to trust professional and honest sellers to purchase consciously a gem according to its real quality, avoiding to fall into the trap of “glass sellers”.

And finally, remember that precious gems are rare, but good deals are even rarer.

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