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Lab report for color stones important or necessary?

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
Hi there, I am a bit confused whether you guys buy colored stones with the lab report provided? It caught my attention that lab reports are rarely mentioned of several famous and suggested CS vendors.

How does it work? The vendor does provide reports with each stone, just not mentioned on their inventory list on the website? They only assist to provide that paper upon guest request? Or it's simply not a common practice with lab report (which I doubt?) and consumers generally do not care about that?
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
4,008
Everyone is different in their desire for lab reports on colored stones. Many of us only request lab reports for more expensive colored stones. Some of us rely on the descriptions or reports given to use by the vendor. For example, I am pretty sure if I wanted to sell my Burma red spinel that has a Multicolour gem report that this would be enough for anyone who would buy it pre-loved. They might choose to send it for a lab report, but I do not think they would demand one before purchasing.
 

whitewave

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
10,952
It depends on who the vendor is and how much I trust them and their eye.

I have bought some colored stones with the intention of sending them off myself to get graded, but then Covid hit, so I never did (didn’t want to risk chain of custody issues). Again, these are from trusted vendors.
 

LilAlex

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Messages
1,041
> $1,000 = report always, imo. But that is more a function of how much a buyer can afford to "waste." Also, for anything much cheaper than that, a report is unlikely to be cost-effective for the seller.

There are many levels of reports and you can search other threads for that. Many (most?) reports are of no value and it can be hard for a novice to distinguish between a "real" report and an appraisal masquerading as a report.

Top lab reports -- AGL, SSEF, Gubelin, GIA, maybe GRS and some others -- are not accessible from every vendor's location. The fee and shipping can exceed the value of the gem. So the only gems that are likely to have reports are gems for which it will increase the sales price by more than the cost and effort of the report-getting.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,757
Depends on the price and/or the stone species.

Highly synthesized and/or treated stones are:

Spinel
Sapphire
Ruby
Alexandrite
Opal
Emerald
Aquamarine
Paraiba

For any of the above, especially for an expensive stone, I would want a reputable lab report. Any dealer worth their reputation would not have a problem obtaining a lab report, or they would refund you if the lab report came back different than the stone was advertised as.
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,983
Price for me isn't always a deciding factor. Sooo... I got a lab report on something that cost me under 200 dollars....lol It was what it was supposed to be but.... I'm that person. I sometimes will get it just because.

Certainly @TL is correct; for most get it on something thats hella lot of money, is rare, is treated often and oftimes not disclosed.

You (general you) is the only one that can decide your own personal tolerance level for buying without the report or, even getting one after the fact.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,757
Price for me isn't always a deciding factor. Sooo... I got a lab report on something that cost me under 200 dollars....lol It was what it was supposed to be but.... I'm that person. I sometimes will get it just because.
Yes, I once paid more for a lab report than the actual stone. Peace of mind is priceless.
 

Dee*Jay

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 26, 2006
Messages
13,811
When it comes to diamonds I buy the stone and not the paper, but when it comes to CS I buy the stone AND the paper. For me it's a matter of knowledge (I am much more comfortable in my diamond knowledge than CS knowledge) and also being a purist. I want the documentation that says my sapphire is unheated and my emerald is untreated in any way because of the rarity, especially in large stones.

ETA: I should that I want the paper to come from a well respected lab (GIA, etc.) and not just anywhere. Jim & Gerry's Gem Lab ain't gonna fly for a 5+ ct stone for me, I don't care who the vendor is selling it. And a "certification" from the vendor itself also isn't good enough For Me.
 

jordyonbass

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
1,949
Consistently reliable lab reports has been a perpetual problem for Opal for a long time, the issue is a lot of gem labs don't seem to know what they're looking at a lot of the time. I've seen Boulder Opal and Dark Opal certified as Black Opal and Black Opal certified as synthetic by some of the most reputable gem labs.

Only one person whose opinion most Opal vendor's trust when it comes to Opal, a gentleman named Tony Smallwood. But he doesn't do lab certs as far as I'm aware.

The perpetual problem continues...
 

fredflintstone

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2020
Messages
261
Most gemstones are easily identified by an experienced gemologist. I mean, you can ask for a report on any stone, as it can be something completely different than what you thought you are buying no doubt but reports are expensive and time consuming, not to mention shipping and shipping insurance costs.

Generally, these high end stones need a report:

Ruby
Emerald
High end Sapphire such as blues and Pads, but really any if your are spending a lot of money.
Alex
Paraiba
Neon Cobalt blue Spinel (some of this has been diffused)

All other stones that are mainstream are pretty easy to identify from their synthetic counterparts and fakes.

More important is to make sure the seller has a lifetime guarantee that said stone is the species, treated or untreated and earth mined as stated and that you buy through a third party such as Paypal with that guarantee written into the invoice and pay with a debit or credit card.
 

PrecisionGem

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
1,761
A friend of mine at B&M jewelry store has told me a few times this past year they have had items being shipped into NYC diamond district stolen in the mail. It seems it's an inside postal thing in NYC. They know the zip code for the district (location of AGL lab) and packages disappear. You may want to be extra caution sending a stone to AGL. Maybe use FedEx and make sure you have insurance and a means to verify what you are shipping.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,757
Most gemstones are easily identified by an experienced gemologist. I mean, you can ask for a report on any stone, as it can be something completely different than what you thought you are buying no doubt but reports are expensive and time consuming, not to mention shipping and shipping insurance costs.

Generally, these high end stones need a report:

Ruby
Emerald
High end Sapphire such as blues and Pads, but really any if your are spending a lot of money.
Alex
Paraiba
Neon Cobalt blue Spinel (some of this has been diffused)

All other stones that are mainstream are pretty easy to identify from their synthetic counterparts and fakes.

More important is to make sure the seller has a lifetime guarantee that said stone is the species, treated or untreated and earth mined as stated and that you buy through a third party such as Paypal with that guarantee written into the invoice and pay with a debit or credit card.

Saw synthetic aqua that was extremely convincing, but garnets, tourmaline (except paraiba) are not easy to synthesize, but then if you’re not well versed, you do have to worry about stimulants. Although amethyst is an inexpensive stone, there is lots of synthetic amethyst floating around. They’re also synthesizing even grey spinels, and yes, diffused blue spinel is a real thing.

For less expensive gems, a reputable dealer that knows their source very well, is important.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
Thanks so much for you guys / laddies’ valuable responses! I m digesting all the info. As Dee*Jay said, I found diamond much simpler now~
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
Everyone is different in their desire for lab reports on colored stones. Many of us only request lab reports for more expensive colored stones. Some of us rely on the descriptions or reports given to use by the vendor. For example, I am pretty sure if I wanted to sell my Burma red spinel that has a Multicolour gem report that this would be enough for anyone who would buy it pre-loved. They might choose to send it for a lab report, but I do not think they would demand one before purchasing.

It makes real sense getting the report for more expensive stones, either for peace of mind or assuring the value. And definitely, definition of expensive varies by people, so does how much risk one is comfortable to bear. Would love to see your spinel^^
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
It depends on who the vendor is and how much I trust them and their eye.

I have bought some colored stones with the intention of sending them off myself to get graded, but then Covid hit, so I never did (didn’t want to risk chain of custody issues). Again, these are from trusted vendors.
Thanks and am I right to say the vendors recommended on this CS forum or listed in the suggested vendors thread are all safe to go?
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
5,170
Thanks and am I right to say the vendors recommended on this CS forum or listed in the suggested vendors thread are all safe to go?

I would say that those vendors would not knowingly “miss sell” a coloured gemstone, most are qualified enough to detect synthetic from natural BUT some treatments are very subtle and require sophisticated lab testing to detect. Even Sotheby’s has auctioned imperial Jade that was in fact adulterated. Likewise origin is mostly subjective but can have a huge impact upon price/ value.
For larger value purchases it would be prudent to get an appropriate lab report for peace of mind and trusted and responsible vendors should reimburse you if the gem turns out to be not as stated.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
> $1,000 = report always, imo. But that is more a function of how much a buyer can afford to "waste." Also, for anything much cheaper than that, a report is unlikely to be cost-effective for the seller.

There are many levels of reports and you can search other threads for that. Many (most?) reports are of no value and it can be hard for a novice to distinguish between a "real" report and an appraisal masquerading as a report.

Top lab reports -- AGL, SSEF, Gubelin, GIA, maybe GRS and some others -- are not accessible from every vendor's location. The fee and shipping can exceed the value of the gem. So the only gems that are likely to have reports are gems for which it will increase the sales price by more than the cost and effort of the report-getting.


Thanks a lot. That really provide me more directions and what to consider when making purchase of different stones of different values from different vendors of different locations. Everything counts, and I m the one to decide.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
Depends on the price and/or the stone species.

Highly synthesized and/or treated stones are:

Spinel
Sapphire
Ruby
Alexandrite
Opal
Emerald
Aquamarine
Paraiba

For any of the above, especially for an expensive stone, I would want a reputable lab report. Any dealer worth their reputation would not have a problem obtaining a lab report, or they would refund you if the lab report came back different than the stone was advertised as.

This is a really helpful shortlist! I have more understanding on how trust worthy vendors work~
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
Price for me isn't always a deciding factor. Sooo... I got a lab report on something that cost me under 200 dollars....lol It was what it was supposed to be but.... I'm that person. I sometimes will get it just because.

Certainly @TL is correct; for most get it on something thats hella lot of money, is rare, is treated often and oftimes not disclosed.

You (general you) is the only one that can decide your own personal tolerance level for buying without the report or, even getting one after the fact.

For jewellery, I think it’s always right to do what we feel comfortable, be honest to ourselves.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
When it comes to diamonds I buy the stone and not the paper, but when it comes to CS I buy the stone AND the paper. For me it's a matter of knowledge (I am much more comfortable in my diamond knowledge than CS knowledge) and also being a purist. I want the documentation that says my sapphire is unheated and my emerald is untreated in any way because of the rarity, especially in large stones.

ETA: I should that I want the paper to come from a well respected lab (GIA, etc.) and not just anywhere. Jim & Gerry's Gem Lab ain't gonna fly for a 5+ ct stone for me, I don't care who the vendor is selling it. And a "certification" from the vendor itself also isn't good enough For Me.
I can understand your mindset, surely nothing wrong=)

And I hope CS is as “simple” as diamond~
 
Last edited:

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
Consistently reliable lab reports has been a perpetual problem for Opal for a long time, the issue is a lot of gem labs don't seem to know what they're looking at a lot of the time. I've seen Boulder Opal and Dark Opal certified as Black Opal and Black Opal certified as synthetic by some of the most reputable gem labs.

Only one person whose opinion most Opal vendor's trust when it comes to Opal, a gentleman named Tony Smallwood. But he doesn't do lab certs as far as I'm aware.

The perpetual problem continues...

Wasn’t aware of such issue of Opal, thanks for mentioning this. So is there any widely trusted vendors with expertise on Opal? Would love to an Australian Opal piece in the future, as my wife and I had our honeymoon there and their nation stone is always on our wish list.
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,983
A friend of mine at B&M jewelry store has told me a few times this past year they have had items being shipped into NYC diamond district stolen in the mail. It seems it's an inside postal thing in NYC. They know the zip code for the district (location of AGL lab) and packages disappear. You may want to be extra caution sending a stone to AGL. Maybe use FedEx and make sure you have insurance and a means to verify what you are shipping.

this is good to know. thanks for the alert!
 

Tribalypredisposed

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Messages
40
Trustworthy seller is very important, and a top quality lab report for expensive stones. Do not just rely on the lab report without doing thorough research on the seller. There are, for example, sellers on eBay who will happily sell you a sapphire, "with lab report" from a top lab...but if you look at past sales they have sold an identical stone with the identical lab report multiple times already. Each stone has it's own lab report, so they have made synthetic stones which look like the real one, and they are selling synthetic stones worth $100 for $25,000 and more.

With some stones, even very well respected retailers have been found to be making false claims about their stones. With a sapphire, there is a huge difference in price between heated and unheated, as 95% are heated to enhance color and clarity.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
267
Most gemstones are easily identified by an experienced gemologist. I mean, you can ask for a report on any stone, as it can be something completely different than what you thought you are buying no doubt but reports are expensive and time consuming, not to mention shipping and shipping insurance costs.

Generally, these high end stones need a report:

Ruby
Emerald
High end Sapphire such as blues and Pads, but really any if your are spending a lot of money.
Alex
Paraiba
Neon Cobalt blue Spinel (some of this has been diffused)

All other stones that are mainstream are pretty easy to identify from their synthetic counterparts and fakes.

More important is to make sure the seller has a lifetime guarantee that said stone is the species, treated or untreated and earth mined as stated and that you buy through a third party such as Paypal with that guarantee written into the invoice and pay with a debit or credit card.

Thanks very much for the tips=)
 

jordyonbass

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
1,949
Wasn’t aware of such issue of Opal, thanks for mentioning this. So is there any widely trusted vendors with expertise on Opal? Would love to an Australian Opal piece in the future, as my wife and I had our honeymoon there and their nation stone is always on our wish list.

There's a vendor list pinned to the top of this forum. Search for the most recent comment on the thread and there's a few Opal vendors on there =)2
 
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