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How should I go about selling stones?

QuantumStuff

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 6, 2015
Messages
28
I have a large inventory of high quality stones that I inherited recently. I've put several aside for sentimental keepsakes, but I would like to sell the remainder. What is your opinion on how to go about selling these stones? My kids head to college in 3 years, so I'd like to sell at least 50% by that time. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I'm confident the quality of these stones are at or near the top of the scale. As an example, I have:

~500 cts. of Tanzanite
~2000 cts. of Tourmaline (all colors)
~50 cts. of Peridot
~1000 cts. of Amethyst
~500 cts. of Garnets (all types)
~100 cts. of color change garnets
~300 cts. of Aqua
~500 cts. of pink & red spinel
~200 cts. of Imperial Topaz
~200 cts. of Topaz (various colors)
~50 cts. of Merelani garnets
~100 cts. of Rubellite

Seems like it would take a few years to build up a reputation if I created a nice E-commerce site, like FineWater, PrecisionGem, etc. Yet, my gut tells me that Ebay/Etsy isn't the proper venue for stones of this caliber.

And I have at least 2x as much rough...
 

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Coralfish

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
202
I'm presuming you're in the US. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I really don't know, but as a first stop, if they really are that good, get an AGL Grading Report - this will be as firm an index as you can get as to an expert assessment of the quality of the stone - for the following:

If you have Paraiba tourmaline in your mix, choose the best;
Choose the best pink, and best red, spinel;
In your garnet stable, have you any tsavorite? If so the best of that;
If you have a spectacular rubellite, that;
A huge colour change garnet with a strong colour change.

Get the AGL Grading report for the very best single stone in your collection of each of the above.
Transport them carefully - if they really are a big deal, look into Malca Amit or one of the armoured carriers.
Call and chat with Chris Smith of the AGL once your stones have been seen. Get his opinion on how special they are - he's seen it all.
If any warrant a Special Letter or Jewelfolio that is exceedingly good news.

If it was me, I would start there. That document is recognised and respected by the whole industry and is a powerful armament in the shark-infested gem world, as well as a safe starting point when searching for comparables and therefore what you might realistically hope to fetch for them via various avenues as an internet search will then yield. This will also stop you from getting 'taken' by anyone wishing to undervalue your inventory.

Feel free to post a couple of images of one or two of your stones. We cannot by any means make any valid assessments, but we would certainly know the difference between say a serious pink spinel and a nice one.

Also if you want some help iterating down to what actually is, as far as the trade is concerned, the 'best' of each species, let us know and we can point out links or copy pictures here of trade ideal stones and let you know what to look for.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,004
Are most of the stones large or small? 500 pieces of 1 ct tanzanite isn't much compared to 100 pieces of 5 ct tanzanite, presuming that they are all top blue. You might be better off selling them as a parcel rather than individual stones, probably directly to another Trade member.
 

Gem Queen

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
486
Are you allowed to post some examples?
 

PrecisionGem

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
1,644
I would contact some of the cutters who may be interested in buying the to recut, and certainly the rough.
You will need good images and specifics.
There is no need to send them out to a lab for ID, most people in the business have the tools and knowlege to accuratly ID stones. The lab is not going to give you a value of the stone, all they are going to do is tell you the tourmaline you sent them is indeed tourmaline.
The lab becomes important for treatments in sapphire and ruby, as this can effect the value, but you didn't mention these.
For many stones such as topaz, a unheated stone is worth no more than a heated one.
 

QuantumStuff

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 6, 2015
Messages
28
Here's a mid-level example. Actually a sapphire. 4.78 ct with a recent AGL brief. No heat/enhancement of any kind. I call it a padparadscha, based on what I see other vendors calling padparadscha.

Are you allowed to give me your opinion of value? IF so, please do.

pad_2.png

pad_3.png
 

Coralfish

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
202
PrecisionGem|1444598189|3937282 said:
I would contact some of the cutters who may be interested in buying the to recut, and certainly the rough.
You will need good images and specifics.
There is no need to send them out to a lab for ID, most people in the business have the tools and knowlege to accuratly ID stones. The lab is not going to give you a value of the stone, all they are going to do is tell you the tourmaline you sent them is indeed tourmaline.
The lab becomes important for treatments in sapphire and ruby, as this can effect the value, but you didn't mention these.
For many stones such as topaz, a unheated stone is worth no more than a heated one.
Gene, the AGL Grading report with its colour grade and total quality index gives the amateur a much better idea of the value of their stone within a marketplace than just 'it's an untreated tourmaline'. Going through, say, the PS approved vendor list offering stones to recut doesn't give him/her the best chance of i) not getting 'taken' (not saying that you personally would, but surely gem dealers are looking for the lowest price per carat to maximise their own profits) and ii) finding out the true value of their stone on an open market.

OP, you've posted a large untreated peach sapphire. The AGL brief would have named it as a pad if it qualified as one (some dealers try the GIA if AGL comes back a no, then maybe GRS after that, looking for the elusive pad label. But honestly I don't think any of the above would name the stone posted as a pad as I see no pink... granted there are only two pictures). As you know, for instance, the natural sapphire company or wildfish will charge many times per carat than (as an example and even then not always) a private person offloading in a rush on loupetroop.

The best chance of you getting a fair price probably involves going to a few major gem shows, a trade-only one if you can find a way to get into it, seeing what gems like yours are fetching, and maybe making some contacts. (Tuscon?) You mentioned possibly setting up your own site but your inventory will take a while to 'get rid of'. You'll almost certainly need a return policy to engender trust, and need customer service skills, so you'll yield more but it'll cost more in time, effort and initial outlay. You could look into consigning for a fee with an existing seller. Some large companies such as Pala or Gem 2000 will take the lot off you, but probably for the minimum amount. The exchange for a lower yield on your gems could be that who you sell to takes your lesser as well as your better stones and doesn't just cherry pick, leaving you with lower range stones to shift.

I would stand by the advice to get the grading report on a few of your best, research what as many of them as you have time to fetch in a gamut of fora, decide how much time and effort you'll sacrifice to gain what degree of yield on each gem, and go into your forays in selling armed with all that knowledge. I would also go slowly, as you'll make mistakes in your first few transactions you won't want to repeat.
 

KarenD

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 15, 2015
Messages
24
By my experience stones don't sell without grading report as it is impossible to know online if your stone is genuine or not.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
4,766
I'm not an expert but it seems to me like the best route might be finding an established gem seller to partner with who will do the work for you for a cut of the profit, like selling it for you on consignment basically. I'm not sure how you would go about finding such a person.
 

PrecisionGem

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
1,644
Coralfish|1444691738|3937628 said:
PrecisionGem|1444598189|3937282 said:
I would contact some of the cutters who may be interested in buying the to recut, and certainly the rough.
You will need good images and specifics.
There is no need to send them out to a lab for ID, most people in the business have the tools and knowlege to accuratly ID stones. The lab is not going to give you a value of the stone, all they are going to do is tell you the tourmaline you sent them is indeed tourmaline.
The lab becomes important for treatments in sapphire and ruby, as this can effect the value, but you didn't mention these.
For many stones such as topaz, a unheated stone is worth no more than a heated one.
Gene, the AGL Grading report with its colour grade and total quality index gives the amateur a much better idea of the value of their stone within a marketplace than just 'it's an untreated tourmaline'. Going through, say, the PS approved vendor list offering stones to recut doesn't give him/her the best chance of i) not getting 'taken' (not saying that you personally would, but surely gem dealers are looking for the lowest price per carat to maximise their own profits) and ii) finding out the true value of their stone on an open market.
Depending on the size of the stone, a AGL grading report will cost from $350 to $900 per stone, plus shipping each way. This makes no sense for most of the stone the OP has listed, unless the stones are very large and of top gem quality. It sounds like the OP is looking to raise some money, but this route could cause him/her to invest maybe $10,000 or possibly much more into the stones depending on the number of stones.

It's not that hard to look around at various sources and see what $$$'s comparable stones are being offered at.

Karen, most stones sold online are sold with out grading reports. From my experience, I have seen grading reports normally on stone being sold over $15,000. It makes no sense for a Rhodolite garnet, Peridot, or really any of the stones the OP originally listed in the first post, unless they are very large stones. Is the 50 cts of Peridot 1 stone? Or is it (10) 5 ct stones. A 5 ct Peridot may sell for $100 to $150 per ct. the AGL Grading report will cost $500 plus shipping. So now you need to double the price of the stone.
 

PrecisionGem

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
1,644
It's irresponsible to grade a stone from a photo, but if we agree your photo of the sapphire is accurate, then this is how I would view the sapphire: oY(7) 4/1 medium light, brownish, orange yellow. $325 per ct.
 

Coralfish

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
202
Coralfish|1444272159|3936092 said:
I'm presuming you're in the US. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I really don't know, but as a first stop, if they really are that good, get an AGL Grading Report - this will be as firm an index as you can get as to an expert assessment of the quality of the stone - for the following:

If you have Paraiba tourmaline in your mix, choose the best;
Choose the best pink, and best red, spinel;
In your garnet stable, have you any tsavorite? If so the best of that;
If you have a spectacular rubellite, that;
A huge colour change garnet with a strong colour change.

Get the AGL Grading report for the very best single stone in your collection of each of the above.
Transport them carefully - if they really are a big deal, look into Malca Amit or one of the armoured carriers.
Call and chat with Chris Smith of the AGL once your stones have been seen. Get his opinion on how special they are - he's seen it all.
If any warrant a Special Letter or Jewelfolio that is exceedingly good news.
Well, I still stand by my advice as above, which applies to five stones.
I'm making no presumptions about the OP: no idea of his knowledge and no presumption re the size or quality of his individual stones. Also factoring in any reluctance he has to post pics or details of size/quality of the best of his stones. I stand by the above as a not insignificant outlay but in the long term potentially wise investment if he has a 10 carat mahenge or a serious Paraiba vs emailing a couple of gemcutters for an offer. To the person that knows nothing about gems and is reluctant to disclose what they know, or knows just enough to get themselves into trouble (presuming to know more than they do, not saying this is true of OP as have no idea) this seems a pretty ironclad way not to get the mickey taken out of them by the sharper edge of the gem trade. If it was me knowing little about the trade and if I had serious gems in my collection (he/she hasn't been forthcoming so I can only guess) the advice I've given is that I'd want to hear.
 

PrecisionGem

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
1,644
Coaralfish, the grading report will not tell you the selling price of the stone. So if the person is not knowledgeable on stones, they will still have no idea if they are being offered a good price or not for the stone.
Then there is the issue of wholesale price vs retail. Most likely one would end up selling below wholesale, unless they have something really special, and can find a buyer who wants it.

I have always said that gemstones are NOT a good investment. A good investment is something you can quickly turn into cash.
 

Coralfish

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
202
PrecisionGem|1445085695|3939207 said:
Coaralfish, the grading report will not tell you the selling price of the stone. So if the person is not knowledgeable on stones, they will still have no idea if they are being offered a good price or not for the stone.
Then there is the issue of wholesale price vs retail. Most likely one would end up selling below wholesale, unless they have something really special, and can find a buyer who wants it.

I have always said that gemstones are NOT a good investment. A good investment is something you can quickly turn into cash.

Yes, which is why I also mentioned the following


Coralfish|1444691738|3937628 said:
As you know, for instance, the natural sapphire company or wildfish will charge many times per carat than (as an example and even then not always) a private person offloading in a rush on loupetroop.

The best chance of you getting a fair price probably involves going to a few major gem shows, a trade-only one if you can find a way to get into it, seeing what gems like yours are fetching, and maybe making some contacts. (Tuscon?) You mentioned possibly setting up your own site but your inventory will take a while to 'get rid of'. You'll almost certainly need a return policy to engender trust, and need customer service skills, so you'll yield more but it'll cost more in time, effort and initial outlay. You could look into consigning for a fee with an existing seller. Some large companies such as Pala or Gem 2000 will take the lot off you, but probably for the minimum amount. The exchange for a lower yield on your gems could be that who you sell to takes your lesser as well as your better stones and doesn't just cherry pick, leaving you with lower range stones to shift.

I would stand by the advice to get the grading report on a few of your best, research what as many of them as you have time to fetch in a gamut of fora, decide how much time and effort you'll sacrifice to gain what degree of yield on each gem, and go into your forays in selling armed with all that knowledge. I would also go slowly, as you'll make mistakes in your first few transactions you won't want to repeat.
I think we are broadly speaking at similar purposes. But I feel if he explores these venues armed with a couple or a few gold standard reports, he minimises the chance of him getting his inexperience taken advantage of.
 

QuantumStuff

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 6, 2015
Messages
28
Here's another. Unheated 9.5 ct.

I'm curious as to what algorithm you are using to generate the value. Is is GemVal?

bitmap.png
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
12,208
First of all, if that photo is representative of the stone in hand, I doubt any reputable dealer would classify your stone as a padparadscha as it has a lot of brown in it. You say it went to AGL. If so, they would have said on the brief or report if they found it to be a pad; if they call it something else, like "brownish orange" or some similar description, then when you go to sell it, you cannot and should not call it a pad. The price of a light brownish orange sapphire would be much, much less than the price per carat for a pad.

As to algorithms or calculators, there is not any that is consistently accurate to any degree. I don't like gemval and don't know anyone who relies on it for values. There is one source which some in the trade use. Its a quarterly catalogue of colored stone prices called "The Guide" put out by Gemworld International. If you go into a local jeweler specializing in colored stones, they would likely have access to it. But I have found that even the prices in The Guide are not always accurate for the more obscure stones, as its really a matter of the micro market in which you are selling. I have found the best way to gauge prices is to look at comps from some of the reputable sellers on ebay by looking at their sold listings.
 

iLander

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731
minousbijoux|1445368107|3940330 said:
First of all, if that photo is representative of the stone in hand, I doubt any reputable dealer would classify your stone as a padparadscha as it has a lot of brown in it. You say it went to AGL. If so, they would have said on the brief or report if they found it to be a pad; if they call it something else, like "brownish orange" or some similar description, then when you go to sell it, you cannot and should not call it a pad. The price of a light brownish orange sapphire would be much, much less than the price per carat for a pad.

As to algorithms or calculators, there is not any that is consistently accurate to any degree. I don't like gemval and don't know anyone who relies on it for values. There is one source which some in the trade use. Its a quarterly catalogue of colored stone prices called "The Guide" put out by Gemworld International. If you go into a local jeweler specializing in colored stones, they would likely have access to it. But I have found that even the prices in The Guide are not always accurate for the more obscure stones, as its really a matter of the micro market in which you are selling. I have found the best way to gauge prices is to look at comps from some of the reputable sellers on ebay by looking at their sold listings.
All excellent points, Minous! :wavey:

How you doing? I haven't heard from you in a while! Post to one my threads over in hangout, tell me how you are! :)
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,004
I prefer to use the "Guide" but even so, it requires understanding accurate colour grading, and there's some give or take with regards to pricing due to variable such as market conditions, overhead, etc. Your picture doesn't tell us a few things:

1. The background colour is similar to the stone and makes it difficult to assess colour accurately
2. No idea how well or how poorly it holds its colour
3. No proof that it is unheated.

You can look online at other places to get some idea how much such a stone is priced as a start. Again, you are better off selling directly to a Trade person than trying to sell individually to consumers.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,004
AGL brief will suffice as proof of having no treatment.
 

PieAreSquared

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Messages
164
PrecisionGem|1445049369|3939114 said:
Coralfish|1444691738|3937628 said:
PrecisionGem|1444598189|3937282 said:
I would contact some of the cutters who may be interested in buying the to recut, and certainly the rough.
You will need good images and specifics.
There is no need to send them out to a lab for ID, most people in the business have the tools and knowlege to accuratly ID stones. The lab is not going to give you a value of the stone, all they are going to do is tell you the tourmaline you sent them is indeed tourmaline.
The lab becomes important for treatments in sapphire and ruby, as this can effect the value, but you didn't mention these.
For many stones such as topaz, a unheated stone is worth no more than a heated one.
Gene, the AGL Grading report with its colour grade and total quality index gives the amateur a much better idea of the value of their stone within a marketplace than just 'it's an untreated tourmaline'. Going through, say, the PS approved vendor list offering stones to recut doesn't give him/her the best chance of i) not getting 'taken' (not saying that you personally would, but surely gem dealers are looking for the lowest price per carat to maximise their own profits) and ii) finding out the true value of their stone on an open market.
Depending on the size of the stone, a AGL grading report will cost from $350 to $900 per stone, plus shipping each way. This makes no sense for most of the stone the OP has listed, unless the stones are very large and of top gem quality. It sounds like the OP is looking to raise some money, but this route could cause him/her to invest maybe $10,000 or possibly much more into the stones depending on the number of stones.

It's not that hard to look around at various sources and see what $$$'s comparable stones are being offered at.

Karen, most stones sold online are sold with out grading reports. From my experience, I have seen grading reports normally on stone being sold over $15,000. It makes no sense for a Rhodolite garnet, Peridot, or really any of the stones the OP originally listed in the first post, unless they are very large stones. Is the 50 cts of Peridot 1 stone? Or is it (10) 5 ct stones. A 5 ct Peridot may sell for $100 to $150 per ct. the AGL Grading report will cost $500 plus shipping. So now you need to double the price of the stone.
Gene- I admire that you post here at all, seeing what you have to put up with. I have found your professional advice to be spot on.

Coralfish- What makes you think the OP is an amateur? If I understood his question, he is not asking about pricing, he asked how to sell.
If you read his other posts he is freely giving pricing advice to others.

OP- Gene is right, if you want to sell thousands of carats in 3 years, a cutter or dealer is your best bet, who else is going to have cash for that kind of quantity? If you want to sell for top dollar and time is no issue, you will need to make an investment with a professional website; or pay for an ad and rent a booth at the next Tucson Gem Show.
 

Ella

Brilliant_Rock
Staff member
Trade
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
1,262
Please remember that any poster selling large quantities of items for profit are considered trade and must follow trade rules. Asking for advice is fine, but if the move is made towards selling, please read our trade policies and contact us. :wavey:
 

Coralfish

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
202
PieAreSquared|1445875727|3942243 said:
Gene- I admire that you post here at all, seeing what you have to put up with. I have found your professional advice to be spot on.

Coralfish- What makes you think the OP is an amateur? If I understood his question, he is not asking about pricing, he asked how to sell.
If you read his other posts he is freely giving pricing advice to others.
What a bizarre duo of comments

I don't have time to comb through his posting history - a person has inherited a gem/large amount of gems and posts on the CS forum wondering how to best offload them. It's happened before on countless occasions, and it's happening again in this thread. The advice is primarily to make sure they get fair value for their goods (as I've discussed at length in my posts above 'value' is a complex tradeoff) and don't get sorely taken advantage of. Having disclosed nothing of his knowledge or background in gems, and two of what are apparently thousands of gems, the advice, from various people with various backgrounds and therefore offering various perspectives which he can read and choose from ...varies slightly. From his posts on this thread I believe he is an amateur, but hey ho. Given what he has disclosed, I stand by my advice to him. I suspect he has found the advice from both Gene and I valuable, but his posts give away little... But given you've regurgitated both of our recommendations to him in your final paragraph, I think we can safely assume you found them valuable...

I shall leave you to offer your own invaluable musings on the OP's bind
 

PieAreSquared

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Messages
164
Coralfish|1446009691|3942887 said:
PieAreSquared|1445875727|3942243 said:
Gene- I admire that you post here at all, seeing what you have to put up with. I have found your professional advice to be spot on.

Coralfish- What makes you think the OP is an amateur? If I understood his question, he is not asking about pricing, he asked how to sell.
If you read his other posts he is freely giving pricing advice to others.
What a bizarre duo of comments

I don't have time to comb through his posting history - a person has inherited a gem/large amount of gems and posts on the CS forum wondering how to best offload them. It's happened before on countless occasions, and it's happening again in this thread. The advice is primarily to make sure they get fair value for their goods (as I've discussed at length in my posts above 'value' is a complex tradeoff) and don't get sorely taken advantage of. Having disclosed nothing of his knowledge or background in gems, and two of what are apparently thousands of gems, the advice, from various people with various backgrounds and therefore offering various perspectives which he can read and choose from ...varies slightly. From his posts on this thread I believe he is an amateur, but hey ho. Given what he has disclosed, I stand by my advice to him. I suspect he has found the advice from both Gene and I valuable, but his posts give away little... But given you've regurgitated both of our recommendations to him in your final paragraph, I think we can safely assume you found them valuable...

I shall leave you to offer your own invaluable musings on the OP's bind
Huh? "Bizarre"?

Not understanding your sarcasm... I tell Gene, an actual expert here that I value his input, very often when he posts he gets nothing but negativity.

To be quite honest, after your first statement or two I didn't read all your comments in their entirety, I didn't have time, so forgive me for also recommending the most obvious sales venue -Tucson. No personal insult intended.

Sheesh. :rolleyes:
 
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