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Gemstone hall of shame

Laurainthesky

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
Messages
238
Bought this 1 years ago. Looked like a decent mandarin garnet and it was very reasonably priced, but I received an unsaturated brown rock!

Vendor image
_1600(1).jpg
My image
IMG_20210120_013917.jpg

I think it is a different stone. The little brown pebble looks like a skinnier oval. Did you get your money back?
 

Adam95

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
78
Yikes. Note to self to avoid!

No, i think it's definitely the same stone. Just a heavily manipulated seller photo, which is common on gem rock auctions.

It was eBay. I've actually had good luck with US, UK, and Canadian sellers on Gemrock auctions, but the Indian and Thai ones tend to be more scrupulous in their photo manipulation efforts. I'm sure there are good and bad sellers on every platform; just my experience.
 

Adam95

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
78
I have a treasure or junk trove filled with ebay stuff from sellers with good return policies and reputations coming in the next month or so. Most of the stuff I am ordering is to set myself with pre-notched sterling silver settings. I'll see if anything I bought rises above DIY quality.

I've heard it's improved but a few years ago, it was really bad
 

SomethingNew

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 29, 2015
Messages
169
Some stones there are fine, but you need to know what to look for and what to watch out for. In this case, the image is heavily manipulated to make a bad stone look nice. If you are considering anything on ebay or gemrockauctions I would ask here first :)

Yikes, that's ridiculous for the seller to manipulate the photos like that! I hope you get your money back, but most of the times you already lost on shipping and that can be a huge amount.

I've seen somewhere a "PS approved" vendor list, do we have a list of vendors we should avoid? I recently found all those old posts about the Natural Sapphire Company, that's pretty insane for a vendor to edit photos like that.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,749
This drives me nuts. Okay the stone is included, but it still could have been a lovely gem if the person cutting it didn’t wear a blindfold while sitting on a unicycle and juggling at the same time.!!

it drives me crazy to see a poorly cut gem that otherwise had so much potential. I’m not saying it has to be precision cut, but the cutlet is off center and the faceting is beyond awful. The window just emphasizes the one large inclusion. The poor vendor is trying so hard to extol its virtues, but that cutting is a crime. Okay, off my soapbox now!

 

Frost

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 9, 2017
Messages
153
it drives me crazy to see a poorly cut gem that otherwise had so much potential.

This is so true.
And what's worse, with sapphires it's often just to save a 20-30 points on a 2.30 carat stone that could have looked glorious had it been cut decently from rough.

It's often the case that something could have been cut properly from the start and retained the carat boundary, but after it was mangled it can no longer be recut keeping its weight bracket so recutting stops being an option entirely.

There are many valid reasons people might choose to do this: fine rough is extremely expensive and often risky so there are cases where it's done to save color, to maximise the spread, to maximise weight (price/carat for 1.20 ≠ price per carat for 1.55) or simply because the target market doesn't mind so much.

Doesn't make it any less frustrating though...
 

Laurainthesky

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
Messages
238
This is so true.
And what's worse, with sapphires it's often just to save a 20-30 points on a 2.30 carat stone that could have looked glorious had it been cut decently from rough.

It's often the case that something could have been cut properly from the start and retained the carat boundary, but after it was mangled it can no longer be recut keeping its weight bracket so recutting stops being an option entirely.

There are many valid reasons people might choose to do this: fine rough is extremely expensive and often risky so there are cases where it's done to save color, to maximise the spread, to maximise weight (price/carat for 1.20 ≠ price per carat for 1.55) or simply because the target market doesn't mind so much.

Doesn't make it any less frustrating though...

I wonder why the target audience would not care that much. I am willing to forgive cheap ebay stones, but I would never spend big bucks for a poorly cut stone. Maybe those stones are sitting under glass as a collector item versus jewelry.
 

Frost

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 9, 2017
Messages
153
I wonder why the target audience would not care that much. I am willing to forgive cheap ebay stones, but I would never spend big bucks for a poorly cut stone. Maybe those stones are sitting under glass as a collector item versus jewelry.

It's basically because in colored stones, fine cutting is still a relatively new and "underground" concept gaining traction very slowly vs. old traditions and massive companies that stick to them.

People think of most places frequented here as "the gem trade" but it's easy to forget that the entirety of the recommended list plus all the companies in threads here make up for a minuscule, tiny proportion of the global gem market. Smaller combined than some of the largest retailers alone.

It's likely that it's going to stay that way because realistically, out of any country's entire gem production, 99% sells as commercial goods to companies who buy and sell commercially made jewelry. Out of that remaining 1%, some go to large single-gem companies who care more about color and clarity than cut, and others go to companies which would like color, clarity and cutting to all be good. Everyone here falls into that bracket but there are very few of us.

Dealers/jewelers/big jewelry companies in countries that mass-produce jewelry like Thailand, India, China, the U.S. tend to try to serve the majority of their market to maximise their selling possibilities. Commercially cut gems get set into jewelry so long as the color is nice and the stone looks decent face-up. Doubly true because once it's set, the focus becomes the jewelry piece itself (rather than the gemstone).

The other part of the same equation has to do with how rough is traded, which then has an impact at every subsequent point down the supply chain.

With finer colors, there's a tremendous amount of price pressure from the mines onwards and competition is huge. The easiest way to justify outbidding others trying to buy the same piece of nice rough is to retain weight when cutting.

In other words, if for example person A offers x because they want to cut a perfect 1.20 carat out of a 4 ct. piece of rough and person B offers 3x because they intend to cut a badly made 2 carat, the second person gets the stone and therefore has a chance to cut it anyway they see fit and sell it. They impact the value equation down the supply chain in favor of reinforcing the status quo.

Person A ends up without a stone, and without having a chance to try and do business with it unless they pay a very high price for their 1 carat finished stone. Which most aren't willing to because the niche market for very fine cuts doesn't broadly support the pricing structure needed for that switch to happen.

We (collectors, enthusiast, gem dealers and jewelers) sometimes tend to forget that there are economic factors at play behind why these things are done the way they are done. It frustrates me to no end too, but it isn't out of spite or malice that it's done - gems simply follow what makes the most financial sense from the mines onwards.

PS ideals (and the ideals of most of us who agree) are still a niche market, it'll take a while for this movement to grow and for the larger global market to get educated enough for real change to happen.
 

Laurainthesky

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
Messages
238
It's basically because in colored stones, fine cutting is still a relatively new and "underground" concept gaining traction very slowly vs. old traditions and massive companies that stick to them.

People think of most places frequented here as "the gem trade" but it's easy to forget that the entirety of the recommended list plus all the companies in threads here make up for a minuscule, tiny proportion of the global gem market. Smaller combined than some of the largest retailers alone.

It's likely that it's going to stay that way because realistically, out of any country's entire gem production, 99% sells as commercial goods to companies who buy and sell commercially made jewelry. Out of that remaining 1%, some go to large single-gem companies who care more about color and clarity than cut, and others go to companies which would like color, clarity and cutting to all be good. Everyone here falls into that bracket but there are very few of us.

Dealers/jewelers/big jewelry companies in countries that mass-produce jewelry like Thailand, India, China, the U.S. tend to try to serve the majority of their market to maximise their selling possibilities. Commercially cut gems get set into jewelry so long as the color is nice and the stone looks decent face-up. Doubly true because once it's set, the focus becomes the jewelry piece itself (rather than the gemstone).

The other part of the same equation has to do with how rough is traded, which then has an impact at every subsequent point down the supply chain.

With finer colors, there's a tremendous amount of price pressure from the mines onwards and competition is huge. The easiest way to justify outbidding others trying to buy the same piece of nice rough is to retain weight when cutting.

In other words, if for example person A offers x because they want to cut a perfect 1.20 carat out of a 4 ct. piece of rough and person B offers 3x because they intend to cut a badly made 2 carat, the second person gets the stone and therefore has a chance to cut it anyway they see fit and sell it. They impact the value equation down the supply chain in favor of reinforcing the status quo.

Person A ends up without a stone, and without having a chance to try and do business with it unless they pay a very high price for their 1 carat finished stone. Which most aren't willing to because the niche market for very fine cuts doesn't broadly support the pricing structure needed for that switch to happen.

We (collectors, enthusiast, gem dealers and jewelers) sometimes tend to forget that there are economic factors at play behind why these things are done the way they are done. It frustrates me to no end too, but it isn't out of spite or malice that it's done - gems simply follow what makes the most financial sense from the mines onwards.

PS ideals (and the ideals of most of us who agree) are still a niche market, it'll take a while for this movement to grow and for the larger global market to get educated enough for real change to happen.

Thank you for the education . The tricolor sapphire I just received was that 1.3ct stone cut out of 4ct. And there was definitely a premium charged for that.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,749
@Frost,
You perfectly explained how this poor gem became a monstrosity, even though it sits in the Smithsonian. I saw it in person!!! It was a sad thing to see. I mean seriously, even if they wanted to retain weight from a large flat piece of rough, the faceting around the edges and the overall proportion of the shape is so wonky. B254A11D-C7A7-49DC-B8F8-176D710F59BD.jpeg
 
Last edited:

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,749
The Hooker Emerald at least has better proportions even though it’s basically almost all window. At least it’s a proper even quadrilateral, and the faceting around the edges seems even. That window though!!

697541A1-A2D2-4CF4-9221-3214D24A7DED.jpeg
 

Laurainthesky

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
Messages
238
@Frost,
You perfectly explained how this poor gem became a monstrosity, even though it sits in the Smithsonian. I saw it in person!!! It was a sad thing to see. I mean seriously, even if they wanted to retain weight from a large flat piece of rough, the faceting around the edges and the overall proportion of the shape is so wonky. B254A11D-C7A7-49DC-B8F8-176D710F59BD.jpeg

I don't even know what it is supposed to be. Sapphire? It looks like glass. I guess commodity vs artform
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,749
I don't even know what it is supposed to be. Sapphire? It looks like glass. I guess commodity vs artform

The other sad thing is that I see some gems that have terrible color, but are cut beautifully. I have a grossular garnet (the same kind of garnet that I posted in the video above) that has a sickly grayish yellow color, but it’s cut so well, and it sparkles to the moon and back, but the color is just awful. I almost returned it, but it was inexpensive and the vendor threatened a restocking fee, so I kept it. I wish it had the pretty greenish yellow of the stone above.
 

Laurainthesky

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
Messages
238
The other sad thing is that I see some gems that have terrible color, but are cut beautifully. I have a grossular garnet (the same kind of garnet that I posted in the video above) that has a sickly grayish yellow color, but it’s cut so well, and it sparkles to the moon and back, but the color is just awful. I almost returned it, but it was inexpensive and the vendor threatened a restocking fee, so I kept it. I wish it had the pretty greenish yellow of the stone above.

You could pretend it is a fancy colored diamond. I've seen a ton of questionable colors which still look nice due to the sparkle.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,749
You could pretend it is a fancy colored diamond. I've seen a ton of questionable colors which still look nice due to the sparkle.

I actually saw the Hope Diamond in person, and the color completely threw me off. I have to say, I didn’t like it, so I don’t think pretending it’s an FCD will work in my case. I can forgive a little brown or gray in gems, but this gem is definitely not the case. It’s weird, because it’s a mail garnet, which has a bit of andradite garnet in it, so it’s very dispersive, but ugh, the color. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll get over it and learn to love it?!
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,749
Here’s my hall of shame gem in question. Now I’ve seen brown in yellow before, which can be off putting if it’s too much brown, but at least it can be a pleasant golden color. I never saw gray with yellow, until I got this gem. Well cut, but the color is awful, especially when you compare it to sunny bright yellows. However, this is natural diffused light, and it’s well cut, and extremely dispersive. It was bright and beautiful in the vendor website, oh well. The color reminds me of dirty yellow play dough.

Feel free to bash it. I don’t mind.

97F8659D-1968-4161-AB0A-59177DD581F1.jpeg
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
10,592
Here’s my hall of shame gem in question. Now I’ve seen brown in yellow before, which can be off putting if it’s too much brown, but at least it can be a pleasant golden color. I never saw gray with yellow, until I got this gem. Well cut, but the color is awful, especially when you compare it to sunny bright yellows. However, this is natural diffused light, and it’s well cut, and extremely dispersive. It was bright and beautiful in the vendor website, oh well. The color reminds me of dirty yellow play dough.

Feel free to bash it. I don’t mind.

97F8659D-1968-4161-AB0A-59177DD581F1.jpeg

For future reference what would you call that colour?

I kind of like it
 
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