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diagem

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Barron's Penta | SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2011 False Promise
By SUSAN M. NEIDER
How a gem expert wound up with a fake, and what you can learn from her experience.
Article Comments


"....To the AGL's retired founder, Cap Beesley, however, the lesson was clear. "Unfortunately, there are some people who still believe that GIA stands for 'God In Action,' " he said. "Laboratories need to realize that arrogance has no place in the gemological process. Gem buyers need to be more vigilant about protecting their interests, rather than relying on PR, marketing hype and dealer rhetoric."


Full article:

http://online.barrons.com/article/S...9922.html?mod=BOL_article_full_more#printMode
 

yennyfire

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Wow, that's scary! The average consumer would never know that they had purchased a synthetic stone. Ouch!
 

lbbaber

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Wow, I have never seen a real Alexandrite....I bet its beautiful! Too bad for the jeweler that got stick with a fake.
 

pixies

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Interesting read!

This should be shared in the CS forum as well.
 

yssie

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Interesting.. I've been reading some threads in CS about how to verify with AGL recently.

Diagem can we copy this thread over there, agree w/ Pixies that's the most useful place for it?
 

diagem

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Yssie|1306699979|2933242 said:
Interesting.. I've been reading some threads in CS about how to verify with AGL recently.

Diagem can we copy this thread over there, agree w/ Pixies that's the most useful place for it?
IMO gem buyers need to be wary of all Labs..., not necessarily GIA only. I would say the same goes with AGL et al.

Sure Yssie..., feel free to copy the thread.
 

denverappraiser

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Lab work is not a matter of psychic powers. Everybody in this story did it right, especially the jeweler. If consumers are going to place a huge price premium on an attribute that’s fantastically difficult to detect, in this case natural origin of an alexandrite and even what mine it came from, they MUST choose their advisors wisely. As a shopper, the attributes you’re looking for about the lab, not the stone. GIA is a good choice, but they aren’t perfect. They’ve got an attitude problem, and that aggravates the whole issue, but overall their record for accurate grading seems to be pretty good.

The jeweler did good here. They chose the world’s best regarded lab to authenticate the piece and they offered a refund when it was shown to be incorrect.

The consumer did good here. They checked the veracity of what they counted as important using their own chosen expert. Trust, but verify.

AGL did good here. They stood up to the 800 pound gorilla because they were confident in their own work. Way to go Chris.

Even GIA did pretty good. They screwed up to be sure, but when confronted they re-examined the stone agreed that they had screwed up and issued a corrected report. What else would you have them do?

This is not a scandal. It’s not even a disaster. It’s perhaps an endorsement of AGL, it’s definitely an endorsement of that jeweler, and it’s a warning to consumers that ‘facts’ in the gemstone business can be far more subtle than they would like to believe.
 

Pandora II

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Agree.

I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by Chris on rubies last year and was really, really impressed.

I'm intrigued about your description of AGL as the world's best regarded gem lab. It would 100% be my lab of choice in the USA.

For someone like me, living in the UK, with all the problems and expense involved in shipping a stone to the USA how does AGL stack up against somewhere like Gubelin or SSEF? These are easier in terms of tax/duty as they are within the EU, but would I be compromising?

I am referring purely to coloured stones here - in particular corundum and big emphasis on light element diffusion testing.

Lbabber - Alexandrites are IMO an acquired taste. They are a type of colour-change Chrysoberyl coloured by chromium - ideally they are a teal-green in daylight and a bright red in incandescent light. Ones with an exceptional change are extremely expensive and as rare as hen's teeth especially in large sizes. Almost always the colours aren't pure (as neither is the light) and so they can easily look very muddy most of the time. Loving Diamonds over in CS is the resident expert and has quite an incredible collection. For me, they are interesting but I can easily live without one! There is a recent thread from someone who is buying a serious Alex for his gf's e-ring if you want to see photos of the best examples on the market - but prepare yourself for sticker shock!
 

diagem

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Pandora|1306788738|2933903 said:
Agree.

I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by Chris on rubies last year and was really, really impressed.

I'm intrigued about your description of AGL as the world's best regarded gem lab. It would 100% be my lab of choice in the USA.

For someone like me, living in the UK, with all the problems and expense involved in shipping a stone to the USA how does AGL stack up against somewhere like Gubelin or SSEF? These are easier in terms of tax/duty as they are within the EU, but would I be compromising?

I am referring purely to coloured stones here - in particular corundum and big emphasis on light element diffusion testing.

Lbabber - Alexandrites are IMO an acquired taste. They are a type of colour-change Chrysoberyl coloured by chromium - ideally they are a teal-green in daylight and a bright red in incandescent light. Ones with an exceptional change are extremely expensive and as rare as hen's teeth especially in large sizes. Almost always the colours aren't pure (as neither is the light) and so they can easily look very muddy most of the time. Loving Diamonds over in CS is the resident expert and has quite an incredible collection. For me, they are interesting but I can easily live without one! There is a recent thread from someone who is buying a serious Alex for his gf's e-ring if you want to see photos of the best examples on the market - but prepare yourself for sticker shock!
With Colored Gems..., my primary choice would be Gubelin..., in the US or elsewhere. But again, this is based on my personal experience.
 

denverappraiser

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Pandora,

The store chose GIA, which is who I was describing as the worlds best regarded lab. Mind you, I'm not saying they're the best lab, just that they have the best reputation. They're the largest by a significant margin, they're the most widely recognized brand, again by a significant margin and they generally do good work. If I was running a store in the US wishing to demonstrate the authenticity of what I were selling, that's almost certainly who I would choose for documentation on this kind of thing. They still are, even in light of this incident.

The consumer chose AGL as the arbiter, and yes, I think it was a fine choice. There are other fine choices as well, including both Gueblin and SSEF.
 

Pandora II

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denverappraiser|1306790033|2933915 said:
Pandora,

The store chose GIA, which is who I was describing as the worlds best regarded lab. Mind you, I'm not saying they're the best lab, just that they have the best reputation. They're the largest by a significant margin, they're the most widely recognized brand, again by a significant margin and they generally do good work. If I was running a store in the US wishing to demonstrate the authenticity of what I were selling, that's almost certainly who I would choose for documentation on this kind of thing. They still are, even in light of this incident.

The consumer chose AGL as the arbiter, and yes, I think it was a fine choice. There are other fine choices as well, including both Gueblin and SSEF.
Oops, sorry - should read more slowly!

I can see the reasoning on GIA over AGL when it comes to sales.

Would you pay the premium to send a stone to GIA rather than SSEF or Gubelin if you would be potentially selling said stone in Europe where GIA only really holds a cachet for diamonds/or if it was a stone for your personal collection but that was sufficiently rare and expensive that you needed a report?

DiaGem - thanks for the vote of approval for Gubelin.
 

diagem

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Pandora|1306791005|2933920 said:
denverappraiser|1306790033|2933915 said:
Pandora,

The store chose GIA, which is who I was describing as the worlds best regarded lab. Mind you, I'm not saying they're the best lab, just that they have the best reputation. They're the largest by a significant margin, they're the most widely recognized brand, again by a significant margin and they generally do good work. If I was running a store in the US wishing to demonstrate the authenticity of what I were selling, that's almost certainly who I would choose for documentation on this kind of thing. They still are, even in light of this incident.

The consumer chose AGL as the arbiter, and yes, I think it was a fine choice. There are other fine choices as well, including both Gueblin and SSEF.
Oops, sorry - should read more slowly!

I can see the reasoning on GIA over AGL when it comes to sales.

Would you pay the premium to send a stone to GIA rather than SSEF or Gubelin if you would be potentially selling said stone in Europe where GIA only really holds a cachet for diamonds/or if it was a stone for your personal collection but that was sufficiently rare and expensive that you needed a report?

DiaGem - thanks for the vote of approval for Gubelin.
I would wonder what % of the total gems submitted to GIA are non-Diamond?
 

denverappraiser

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Pandora|1306791005|2933920 said:
Would you pay the premium to send a stone to GIA rather than SSEF or Gubelin if you would be potentially selling said stone in Europe where GIA only really holds a cachet for diamonds/or if it was a stone for your personal collection but that was sufficiently rare and expensive that you needed a report?
I’m not an expert on how to best sell things in Europe so I can’t give you a straight answer to the first part but I would choose the lab based on how I felt their credibility, and by extension MY credibility, would be taken by the majority of my prospective customers. Who know, I might decide to get both in order to appeal to more potential buyers. The ‘premium’ associated with submitting to GIA isn’t really the heart of the question. I might pay it and I might not, but either way it would be for completely different reasons.

For my personal collection I would choose Gueblin. Then again, my personal budget doesn't currently support a collection of high end color so I haven't had to address this problem yet. I would be happy to have such problems.
 

Karl_K

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Wow that is scary, it shows once again it really pays to do your homework.
 

denverappraiser

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Pandora|1306788738|2933903 said:
For someone like me, living in the UK, with all the problems and expense involved in shipping a stone to the USA how does AGL stack up against somewhere like Gubelin or SSEF? These are easier in terms of tax/duty as they are within the EU, but would I be compromising?
Pandora,

This comment intrigues me. I’m a little bit surprised that there’s a tax/duty on lab services at all but even then it seems tiny. 15% on a $200 job is still only $30 in tax. If it’s evaluating a $10,000 stone that might be a $50 stone and the document is going to make or break the deal, this seems paltry. Presumably you paid taxes on the stone itself already and you don't need to pay again if you ship it out for inspection by an overseas lab, do you? I understand that on lower end goods the lab fees can become a significant issue in terms of cost and taxes are ALWAYS an irritation but these things don’t seem all that related. What am I missing?
 
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