Saturday, March 07, 2015

Let's go back to basics...

I was on a buying trip recently, when a fellow dealer made a comment which resonated with me. As he was assessing this large and intensely red spinel in every imaginable light, he discussed with the seller at great lengths about the cut of this $100 000 stone. As we walked back and forth between daylight and the light of the jewelry cases (to assess the stone's color in different kinds of light) he said the following thing: “We as buyers need to have the respect of the seller”. 

Here is an example of a rough red spinel found in calcite (photo courtesy of

It seemed only natural to think this; however upon reflection, I understood that it went further than that. He meant that if we were to spend the sums of money that the gem industry demands, the very least one should have in return, was the confidence of a good buy from a person one could trust. And if disclosure were not willingly given, it is our right to ask the questions that would open up discussion and command their respect. In the case of my fellow dealer, he ultimately walked away from the stone because it did not meet his standards.

Ask yourself this: Have you ever asked the clerk behind the counter if the item you were buying had particular needs or required special care? Or if someone says that an item is synthetic, what exactly does that mean? Questions such as these may help you narrow down your choices. That being said, my first and most important counsel for gem buying is this: Be curious. If the answer to a question is not satisfactory, ask another. Don’t feel bashful about pursuing the issue, since ultimately you will be the one that will own the item. Setting budgets and having a sense for what you are looking for are always helpful starting points, however, being curious will enable you to make an informed decision.

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