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4 ct loose sapphire opinions - jewelry exchange

Acl

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
23
Short version: Does anyone have any experience with the reputability of Jewelry Exchange when it comes to uncertified sapphires or gemstones? I am looking at one that they claim is unheated, but it has no certification and no return policy. Can I trust their word?

Long version:
Thanks to some great feedback here, I've moved on from a 5 ct sapphire I was looking at. I found one that I was able to view in person, and it looks beautiful in person. Great color, my untrained eye can't find any inclusions up close, and the proportions seem nice for the setting I've picked out.

It's a 4.29 ct round sapphire, 9mm round by 4.2mm tall. I've negotiated the price to about $10k.

Here's my big concern: there is no certification with this sapphire, so the grading is only done by jewelry exchange in house. They claim it is untreated but offer no certification other than the fact that they say they mark all their treated sapphires, and since this one does not say "heat-treated", it isn't. Since I'm buying it in person, there is no return policy, only exchange (which I don't want). So, if I buy it, it's hoping it's untreated, in which case it seems like a good price and a beautiful stone, but with the possibility that it may be treated, and if it is I have no recourse. If it's been heated it's still beautiful, but then it isn't such a good deal.

What do you think? I'm not a gemologist so I can't tell by the inclusions etc whether it's been treated. Any opinions about whether they are reputable on this particular area? Would they lie about this? Is it worth the risk? Is there any easy way to tell? Unfortunately they won't let me buy the stone and take it to a gemologist without owning it permanently.

Sorry for the blurry photos. I would say that the pics don't capture the sparkle that the sapphire had in person. It looks a bit darker in the pictures than it seemed in person as well.

20180521_145545.jpg 20180521_145550.jpg 20180521_145422.jpg 20180521_145430.jpg 20180521_145441.jpg
 

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voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
2,122
The Jewelry Exchange is a generic enough name that I don't know if the one I get when I google the name is the same one you get. I'm currently in Boston, and the one located in Sudsbury, MA is only related 2 stars out of 5 by Google users.

If you're ready to drop $10k on that stone, which I think looks nicer than your previous 5ct stone, it's worth it to get an independent lab to inspect for treatments, which would cost $50-$100ish. If you can't return it, offer to pay for the certification by an independent lab before purchasing the stone.

Color looks really nice and the cut looks symmetric, but the color looks uneven in the second from last picture. I wouldn't worry about it just as long as it is certified unheated/untreated. I don't know what beryllium diffusion looks like, but IMO it's worth it to pay $100 to be able to have peace of mind about such a large purchase. I hope that this gem's untreated and you've found the one for her!
 

theredspinel

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Messages
889
Long version: It's mental to spend 10k on essentially something, about which you know *nothing* about. Maybe you have 10k spare to just throw away like that.

Short version: Dont do it. Betting 10k on a strangers promise of it being untreated. It could be glass.
 

PieAreSquared

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Messages
164
If this sapphire is truly natural, unheated, 4.29 cts, 9mm in diameter, and worth $10k, what vendor would NOT have a lab report for it?? That alone would raise a red flag to me.
If they refuse to send it to a reputable lab for a report, RUN.
 

Acl

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
23
Thanks voce. Unfortunately, I offered to pay to have it inspected first, they declined. It's their policy that I can't leave the store with it without buying it. They said they would send it to GIA, but that I could expect it to take over a month, and I don't have that kind of time to wait. I was hoping to just buy it, drive it right to a gemologist appointment, and have an answer within 24 hours whether to keep or return, but that won't be an option.

Jewelry Exchange is a national chain, I'm looking at the one in Livonia, MI, but they are located around the country. Most locations have low reviews. From reading reviews, it seems their overall reputation is marred by pushy salesman. I haven't found any reviews that complained about being sold something other than what was promised, rather just pushy tactics, or selling lower quality diamonds graded by labs known to inflate their gradings. I know they also sell uncertified diamonds, and I've read that they try to convince people that they are nicer than they are. (for example one review stated that the salesman said that the pinkish hue in a diamond made it look "warmer" and nicer compared to a colorless diamond that felt more "cold". I know all this, and wouldn't buy an ungraded diamond, but also know that sapphires aren't typically graded the same way diamonds are, and my understanding is that it's less atypical for a sapphire to be uncertified.

I don't have doubts that it's sapphire, as a national chain I feel that they are probably too big to be trying to sell glass as sapphire, or even drilled and filled sapphire as untreated. I don't think they could stay in business doing things that egregious. I'm mostly just concerned about the heat treatment, since that is so common for sapphires. But unlike reviews complaining that salespeople were pushy trying to sell diamonds that were subjectively lower quality, this sapphire question is binary - it's either been heated or not. They are claiming it's not, so they'd have to be outright lying if it is. I haven't read any reviews that said they straight up lie about their products, but I want to be sure.

I have a call in to a local gemologist who has worked with this Jewelry Exchange location quite a bit, so I'm hoping he can shed some light into how trustworthy their claims might be.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
3,464
$10k is a lot of money.
Unfortunately these days sapphire treatments can include Beryllium infusion which improves colour but only a lab with very expensive equipment can detect it.
If you are buying an unheated, untreated Sapphire you must have certification from a recognised lab that confirms this. Otherwise what proof do you have that it is what they say.
And a no return policy?
Sorry, but an ethical and professional business vendor of valuable gems in today’s market should be providing proper recognised documentation to support their claims AND offer a return policy.
If the sapphire is unheated and untreated and worthy of its $10k price tag you’d think that to facilitate consumer confidence (and this is so necessary these days) and to secure a sale they would have no trouble doing so.
Otherwise I would go elsewhere.
You can’t rely on there being evidence of them being “con artists” because people who are happy to buy an uncertified sapphire are also the ones who will never think or know to get it “tested”. The “truth” usually doesn’t come out until there’s an attempted resale and then a report is done. Many is the person who finds this out the awkward way.
Knowledge people would say upfront “no report, no purchase”.
Their no report but some “oh the guy out back looked at it and says it’s unheated” and their “no return” policy is a red flag to me.
If you do buy it and then get it tested to find out it’s not as stated, it is likely to be a long and difficult process to get a refund possibly even them saying “but that’s not our sapphire, the buyer has switched stones on us”. It happens.
Buyer beware.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
3,464
Here are my two. These are both 9mm rounds like the one you like, except mine are brilliant cut (like a diamond) so their weight is 3 carats each.
These are both uncertified, would you like to buy one of them for say $6,000? (I’m not actually selling them btw)
Of course not, I’m some random person on the other side of the world and it’s just me saying “oh, but they are untreated and natural”.
And another thing when buying a loose sapphire, make sure they allow you to see it outside in natural, normal light.
Those jewellery stores spend thousands on specialized lighting to ensure their gems look amazing, you want to see what it looks like in real life.
705882ED-AD7A-46C8-8973-68193464DD74.jpeg
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
2,122
@Acl If you're trying to get a sapphire fast, I'd go with Natural Sapphire Co. Their website provides a good amount of information on each stone. You can filter for untreated (natural) stones. They have been in business for a long time and respond and ship within 24 hours of receiving an order. They include free FedEx shipping, a 14-day return policy, and all their 3ct+ gems come with certifications. Yes, they are pricier, but I do trust the independent lab certification they offer on some on their gems.

https://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/blue-sapphires/?shape=round&treatment=N&price_min=25&price_max=2000000&carat_min=3&carat_max=5&sortby=&pagesize=40

There's 5 choices when you filter for round shape, 3-5Ct, Blue, and Natural. The one that's 3.14 ct and $7740 is on hold, but they have a 4.00Ct for <$12k.
 

Acl

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
23
Thanks all for the advice. I've been checking out natural sapphire co, and have an eye on the 4ct, though it's a little more than I wanted to spend.

Fortunately and unfortunately I think the advice here is helping me again to pass on this purchase. If this sapphire is what they are claiming, no business in its right mind wouldn't jyst pay the $100 to certify it and charge 30% more for the gem. The fact that they refuse to have it tested in a timely manor without selling it is odd.

I've been keeping an eye on gemsny.com and the natural sapphire co. Anyone have other recommendations I should be watching?
 

qubitasaurus

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Messages
878
I am with Bron, but it seems you understand the risks. There is no way to know whether that sapphire is diffused without sending it to a reputable lab like AGL. So it is really down to how much you are willing to gamble.

Before you buy from Natural Sapphire Company you should read about them being charger with forging court documents

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/natural-sapphire-co-ceo-charged-w-forging-ct-orders-re-ps-others.230719/

Having said this they seem a lot more reputable, than the jewlers exchange company you are currently dealing with.
 

2Neezers

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
974
If you are located near Livonia and are looking to see stones in person, I would give Bill at Pearlman’s in Battle Creek a call. It’s a couple hour drive, I know, but Pearlman’s is very well respected here on the forum. They should be able to call in certified stones for you from their supplier to see in person if they don’t have what you are looking for on hand. Another Michigan jeweler that I would recommend contacting with knowledge in colored stones is Craft-Revival in Grand Rapids, which again would be a couple hours from you, but there is no substitute for seeing stones in person. Especially for a purchase of that size, and please don’t settle for a stone without a certification from a reputable lab. I hope you find the perfect sapphire!
 

Acl

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
23
Thanks, I'll be sure to call both of those places tomorrow.
 

PieAreSquared

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Messages
164
If this sapphire is what they are claiming, no business in its right mind wouldn't jyst pay the $100 to certify it and charge 30% more for the gem. The fact that they refuse to have it tested in a timely manor without selling it is odd.
Good for you!
Your budget is healthy enough you don't have to settle for that kind of risk!
Best wishes in your search going forward.
 

Tourmaline

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,780
That's incredibly shady. And if that is 9mm across, it is way more than 4.2mm in depth. There's major color zoning, but I don't know if that is any indication of treatment or not. As pretty as this stone appears to be, I would RUN, not walk, away from this company.
 

Acl

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
23
The I'd for all the input. I've passed on this sapphire, it faced up really well and was a nice size, but I realized it could have been a nice sized piece of glass for all I know.

This is all new to me, I'm learning as I go. But I started thinking of it in terms of cars, which is the only other purchases I've made of this size that I'm more knowledgeable about. I realized if someone tried to sell me a car and I could only look at the outside, couldn't test drive it, couldn't take it to a mechanic, and they offered no paperwork or title to say what the car even is - I would run away from that deal so fast... so I shouldn't have lower standards for this purchase. No return policy or guarantee of any kind seems like a pretty shady business practice for a purchase of this size regardless of what you're buying.
 

Anne111

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2017
Messages
302
No return policy or guarantee of any kind seems like a pretty shady business practice for a purchase of this size regardless of what you're buying.
To me legal knowledge it is actually illegal for web-sales.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
2,856
To me legal knowledge it is actually illegal for web-sales.
just a fyi: US vendors don't operate under the same constraints imposed upon vendors in, e.g., the UK & the European Union. US federal law permits vendors to have a "no returns, no refund" policy, even for online sales & mail/phone orders where the consumer can't see the item in person before making the purchase.
 

Anne111

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2017
Messages
302
Yes, correct, Europe actually has 30 days minimum return for consumer protection online. No idea what right or wrong?
 
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