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Purchasing from Sri Lanka

Discussion in 'Colored Gemstones' started by sapphirehunteruk, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. sapphirehunteruk
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    by sapphirehunteruk » Aug 12, 2019
    F6468882-48B6-4019-B46C-31C204BA79D9.jpeg 07106F15-C5EE-4C78-81BE-2CF61699611F.png Hello! I’m new to this family, but have spent the past week scouring the site for information on buying sapphires direct from Sri Lanka. Please redirect me if there’s already a thread on this, but the best I’ve found has been on recognized wholesalers rather than local shops.

    I’m looking to buy a pastel/ light cornflower blue sapphire around 3-4 carats. I’ve been able to track down some beauties for around $2,500-3,000 USD from Sri Lankan sources that have online recognition, but want to make sure that I follow a good procedure for getting the gems to make sure they’re not fake or switched out for fake/ synthetic ones if they’re listed as being certified.

    So, what procedure do you all follow when buying gems from a foreign source? Is it possible to pay for certification and shipping to your certifying body of choice, then transfer them the funds upon certification, and have the certifying body send you the gems directly?

    Really looking forward to your advice and to being a part of this community. Thanks!
     
    


    


  2. IcePhoenix
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    by IcePhoenix » Aug 12, 2019
    I don't know about buying from Instagram, the colour looks a bit pale for a cornflower IMO but if you like it go for it. Ask the seller if the stone is windowed as it may affect brilliance. For 3k I would get a top certificate like AGL or GRS (consider paying for having the origin on the certificate as it will more likely than not affect the value of the stone) I don't know what kind of certificate it has.
    Pay with PayPal as it is the safest way
     
  3. lovedogs
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    by lovedogs » Aug 12, 2019
    I definitely wouldn't buy that stone. It is pale and grey-ish, and has a huge window. I like some of the stuff from that vendor, just not that stone.
     
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  4. sapphirehunteruk
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    by sapphirehunteruk » Aug 12, 2019
    Thanks for the tips. How could the process of certification ensure that I get sent the stone that’s been certified? (I assume it gets sent back to the stockist before being sent to me, in which case it seems there’s a possibility of it being switched out.)
    Does PayPal insulate you from risk? I’ve noticed that this retailer takes bank transfers, which seems risky if the authenticity ended up being false on receipt of the stone...
    @IcePhoenix
     
    


    


  5. sapphirehunteruk
    Rough_Rock

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    by sapphirehunteruk » Aug 12, 2019
    @lovedogs have you had any experience buying from them? The quality and prices are so competitive I’ve been concerned that it’s a scam, but otherwise love their selection.
     
  6. lovedogs
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    by lovedogs » Aug 12, 2019
    I don't. I dont' think it's a scam, but I do think that some of their stuff is poorly cut and likely pictures are taking in the most flattering possible light so they won't look that good IRL. I would ask for tons of pictures and make sure you get a reliable certification about treatment for sapphires, emeralds, etc.
     
  7. qubitasaurus
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    by qubitasaurus » Aug 12, 2019
    If you are buying off etsy or ebay then yes paypal is going to offer some protection if the stone is missrepresented. I don't know about instagram, in theory that should work similarly but in practice that instagram post you are buying from is so vague that if the gem turned out to be treated then you will have a hard time arguing it was missrepresented in that post.

    Crescent gems (sri lanken gem supplier) sells through mastercutgems who are based in the US. So if you want the ability to return it easily if there is a problem and to get s US lab report then talking to mastercutgems is a good option.

    Otherwise there are some well known labs on sri lanka, you should read up on their local labs and which ones are reputable as there is a good chance your stone will be certified by a local sri lanken lab if you go this route.

    By the way plenty of people here do go this route -- it is not crazy. They just usually build up contacts through many transactions, family members in the trade or gem shows (typically not through instagram) over a number of years and purchases and then use that network.
     
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  8. IcePhoenix
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    by IcePhoenix » Aug 12, 2019
    Some diamonds are laser inscripted, some coloured stones are put in a blister (done also with diamonds) where there's the ID number of the certificate and some of the info mentioned in the certificate (usually the core ones like gem type, natural or synthetic, carat weight and colour). From a rapid search it doesn't look like the lab I mentioned blister their stones. Make sure you get all the info you can from the seller (weight, colour, origin, treatment) and establish that the price is fixed only if those are confirmed by the lab (heated vs unheated are of course differently priced). Check on the return policy and as an extra precaution screenshot the conversation just in case he decides not to honour what he said. PayPal may help you in case of bait and switch (not 100% sure though). Trust is an important part of a transaction especially on the internet. If you don't feel like you can trust the seller even with certificate, good return policy and all I don't think you should buy from him.
    Last thing: sapphire seems windowed so ask the seller about that as well
    I can't think of anything else right now
     
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  9. qubitasaurus
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by qubitasaurus » Aug 12, 2019
    I forgot there is an overseas instagram vendor who is often purchased from here. The name is bayoto gems. As far as I remember they're based in nigeria, not sri lanka. I seem to remember that they werent taking paypal, just wire transfer so no buyer protection. But they are routinely used here due to their sapphires and tourmalines. You should go find the stunning tourmaline icy_jade recently purchased from them.

    You may like this one as well
    https://loupetroop.com/listings/loo...ated-color-change-sapphire-ceylon-aigs-report


    Finally cvb id has been selling off some montana sapphires recently (she is based in the US and csn sell to you through several different platforms so you should have no problems here). They were huge and well priced. This is her latest one
    https://www.instagram.com/p/B1FNR-UHEUy/?hl=en
     
  10. IcePhoenix
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    by IcePhoenix » Aug 12, 2019
    You are absolutely right, but let's be honest, not everyone has relatives or friends in the trade and if they do they may not have contacts with the specific seller and while it is true that trust is built through contacts and transactions how can one start this "relationship" without a bit of trust? What I'm saying is that you can't build without foundations. Last thing: many people will buy 2-5 stones/pieces of jewellery in their lifetime (wedding/anniversary/childbirth/graduation/religious milestones to say the most common) and it's usually not in the same price range therefore not from the same seller.
    There are not many people that can afford something in the thousands of dollars often enough to be considered faithful customers.
    I would argue that these people are an important part of the market and it's in the interest of the seller to be trustworthy from the first contact
    Sorry for the rambling
     
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  11. qubitasaurus
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    by qubitasaurus » Aug 13, 2019
    Actually reciprocal ulturism usually arises under enviroments where there is a lot of repeated interactions. See for instance the litterature on prisoners dilema under repeated itterations

    (I.e. papers will look like this https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519388802194)

    If the majority of interactions are one off then it isn't as favoured as a strategy. This is what worries me about the randomly pulling down instagram vendors off the web with the plan of making a one off purchase straight off the bat with what could be a substantive portion of your available funds (i.e. not under a repeated interaction setting).

    At least with etsy and ebay there is vendor feedback attached to the shop. And there is some sense of requiring customer satisfaction to stay in buisness (although it is lose as if a seller refunds your purchase in full then I am not sure etsy allows you to leave a review?).

    With instagram vendors this pressure will be slightly less. Sure you will still find some great gems from some mainly ulturistic sellers. But it is not something I would straight up recommend to someone who seems unable to spot a window or lack of saturation in the stones they are looking at.
     
  12. IcePhoenix
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    by IcePhoenix » Aug 13, 2019
    @qubitasaurus could you explain the first 2 paragraphs please? I don't think I got them and I don't know if you agree with me or not
     
  13. qubitasaurus
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by qubitasaurus » Aug 13, 2019
    Whoops sorry I was scanning the articles on my phone while writting and seemed to have transposed the language directly out of them into the post.

    I simply mean that the specific situations where it turns out to be optimal to be trustworthy is exactly when there are going to be a lot of repeated interactions (i.e. it turns out to be optimal to be trustworthy when there are many repeated purchases expected). This emerges as the preferred strategy in (simple models) for these situations. When it is a one off interaction there actually isnt much reward bais for the person to be good.
     
  14. icy_jade
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    by icy_jade » Aug 13, 2019
    To be very honest, I’ve only dared to buy from IG mostly for not so expensive gems so far (< $1k) and where I see recommendations from PS folks who have gotten from the IG sellers before. The Bayato tourmaline for example, was really based on PS rec and honestly I was very hesitant but I really wanted the stone... o_O

    I totally understand why you would try going closer to the source... it can be cheaper but depends on whether you can take a bit of risk if the gem doesn’t turn out as expected? Personally I haven’t dared to though I’ve been very tempted...

    And I don’t think the certifying body will send the gem to you directly... at least I’ve never heard of that.
     
  15. pwsg07
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    by pwsg07 » Aug 13, 2019
    I think I have bought from this vendor on facebook before. The stone I bought is a red spinel and it is much darker in person. The stone in real life is very different than the stone in the video. You have to check with their return policy. Based on my experience, I would not recommend this vendor.
     
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  16. LilAlex
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    by LilAlex » Aug 14, 2019
    I had good luck buying from Adamant International in Sri Lanka (n = 1, and it was a lovely good-sized chrysoberyl). Emailed Ivan back and forth a bunch. His photos are lovely and seemed representative. He was quick to send extra (and good) photos and videos in every conceivable light. He was honest and forthcoming in pointing out the compromises and shortcomings in a potential purchase. He's more of a color/lighting connoisseur than any other vendor with whom I've worked -- and I've used more than a handful of the names that pop up all the time here. I think I can say that his stone was my only bought-by-mail stone that was not at least slightly disappointing. I've since asked him to source something for me but radio silence since then, although he did say it would not be easy to find. He's not the cheapest. I have zero connection to him or any vendor.

    There is a weirdness to buying directly from Sri Lanka -- it all goes through the same national process with the dollar-value and size and type of stone stamped on the outside of the package, then sealed with twine and wax, etc. Not ideal for confidentiality but mine was not such a high-budget item.
     
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  17. sapphirehunteruk
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    by sapphirehunteruk » Aug 14, 2019
    6B64F7B4-8CF7-44FF-A94D-E5FCC6316F28.png 7A863BFD-40C2-49B3-ACE3-6FD2AEBE5E3F.png 2736FC0C-CD2D-4253-B88B-1C2E18DA2FD1.png C822F00E-224B-4F78-82F7-AC7F1DB9E596.png 1A56DE4E-2AC8-42D5-962E-4A4CF5AA0758.png Thanks for the vendor recommendations, I really appreciate it.

    I’ve come across a couple stones from starruby.in and aliimrangemsco1 on different platforms, and am waiting to get follow up pictures/ videos to address different potential issues.

    The first stone, pictured above, either looks like it has a gaping window or some serious inclusions. I loved the shape, but looks like the flaws are a dealbreaker.

    The second stone seems to have uneven saturation, which I don’t mind, but also a window that they’ve either concealed in some shots, or that only appears at certain angles. A more serious potential issue is that the certifying agency is “American International GemLab”, which I’ve never heard of, and I’ve also seen some threads in which people have had issues with Thai vendors of Sri Lankan stones on gemrockauctions.

    Since the rink is for personal use, I’m more interested in the general appearance (shape—oval—size, color, and clarity) and could live with a minor window, especially if the color is as listed and I could jump from 3 to 5 cts while staying within my budget of aprox $2,500. For sentimental reasons, I’ve always liked some slight grey undertones in vivid blue sapphires, so no issues there.

    If anyone would like to weigh in, especially about the reliability of the vendors/ certificate, or have any more tips about vendors, I’m all ears.
     
  18. IcePhoenix
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    by IcePhoenix » Aug 14, 2019
    The AIG certificate has the option of having the origin certified and particularly valuable colours (pigeon blood for rubies and cornflower blue for sapphires) and that seems like a big lab thing. I could be wrong though. Colour wise I prefer the gemrockauction one but make sure you have handshots or pics in natural light (it kinda looks like the seller is shining the light directly onto the stone which could be darker irl). The more pastel-y one on eBay has a nice colour as well but in the middle it looks a bit too light compared to the edges.
    Ask about return policy of the gemrockauction seller and if they can get the stone certified by a lab of your choice if you are not sure about that one
     
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  19. sapphirehunteruk
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    by sapphirehunteruk » Aug 14, 2019
    F8045B05-8A92-4235-BD77-38A64AF5CB6B.png I’ve just cross referenced the certification number and the stone comes up on the AIGlabs database. The window is present, which is reassuring since the gem looks even more vivid on the cert report. Heart getting really set on it...
     
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  20. IcePhoenix
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    by IcePhoenix » Aug 14, 2019
    I'm really happy for you, keep us updated :mrgreen:
     
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  21. icy_jade
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    by icy_jade » Aug 14, 2019
    I prefer this one over the GIA one with huge window. The window is small, and maybe will close a little after setting. Are you ok with heating?
     
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  22. sapphirehunteruk
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    by sapphirehunteruk » Aug 14, 2019
    @icy_jade Ideally I liked the idea of unheated, but I really love the color of this stone and wouldn’t be selling it, so I can live with it. Thanks for the input on setting potentially closing the window—good point.
     
  23. lovedogs
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    by lovedogs » Aug 14, 2019
    The Gia one has a horrible window, so I definitely wouldn't buy that one. I'm afraid the other one will be quite grey IRL
     
  24. sapphirehunteruk
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    by sapphirehunteruk » Aug 14, 2019
    @lovedogs I was surprised at how blue it looked in the GIAlabs cert picture given the gray undertones in the wholesaler’s pictures, and the fact that it was classified as cornflower blue. Do you think they’ve been too flattering in their assessment?
     
  25. lovedogs
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    by lovedogs » Aug 14, 2019
    Wait, I'm confused. The GIA one, or the AIG one? The GIA one has a horrible window and don't think it's worth getting at all. There are a million tiny labs, many of which are useless and untrustworthy. I've never heard of AIG, so no clue if they are considered quality or not, but it's important to look into that before trusting their testing.

    From looking at pricescope threads (and other places) about this lab, I don't find it particularly trust worthy. There's just no way that's "cornflower blue". I think there's a reason why all the cheap ebay stones use this "certification".
     
  26. LilAlex
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    by LilAlex » Aug 14, 2019
    Here goes: I vote go smaller and better. You'll end up with a much nicer stone. It's not like a diamond where you can make a tiny compromise in color or clarity and get a relative "bargain." I don't think you can buy an attractive sapphire in your target size for that dollar amount. A "big" sapphire with a reputable report for $2-3K will be disappointing IRL, imo. You're basically selecting for the vendors who most aggressively misrepresent their products -- either intentionally or unintentionally.
     
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  27. D&T
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    by D&T » Aug 16, 2019
    So I bought a spinel from IG... it was $1500 only took Wire or Western Union I took a chance and wired in rupee (Sri Lanka) as my bank only charged me $5 to wire in the exchange rate it would be, the coloring from the video looked nice, however my mistake was not asking for multiple pictures it was the size the color (So I thought), I wired in no cert, I asked specifically to see if it had fluorescent, he said yes... arrived/ no fluro, and darker and no life to the gem and a bit wonky. I was a bit peeved, I won't recommend him, unfortunately... He is very nice, I think he was trying to make it right, I think with a different cut the coloring would be brighter...

    So I asked one of my favorite concave cutter, I've been a client of his many years, he doesn't usually recut outside gems, but he made an exception. I'm waiting on the recut, at least it'll be precision cut and some brllianteering to bring some life to the gem, I like a little bit of life.

    I bought a sapphire from a well known IG dealer in CA, I was charged a $100 plus shipping restocking fee on a $1400... unfortunately I always want to say that most sellers only like to show the best of the gem, and not all lighting condition. I would ask.

    Moral of the story, Gems are hard to buy unless they have a great return and unfortunately some are steep, or the seller takes pictures of them in many lighting condition so you don't expect something else. Good luck, when you buy from IG, I would certainly ask what the return policy is, as many don't have it posted anywhere.
     
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  28. voce
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    by voce » Aug 17, 2019 at 5:29 PM
    IMO Instagram is NOT a proper marketplace; IG can't offer protection to buyers the same way that Etsy or Ebay can. It's true that sellers can avoid paying fees to sell through IG. Unless you already know the seller from elsewhere, you are taking a huge risk anytime you're buying through IG.
     
  29. whitewave
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    by whitewave » Aug 17, 2019 at 6:36 PM
    Gary at Finewater Gems just got back from Sri Lanka, so why don’t you check with him?

    Someone else recommended master cut Gems (I agree), and check with Inken at https://www.etsy.com/shop/EnhoerningJewelry email her and ask what she has.
     
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  30. whitewave
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