Review of The Gem Trader, via eBay


Nov 23, 2015
For me, one of the most useful functions of PS has been the availability of many, many reviews of all kinds of vendors/lapidaries/appraisers/etc., positive, negative and neutral. In that vein, I'd like to write up my own experience with a vendor to possibly help anybody else doing research later down the line.

On Jan. 21 I won the auction for the giliate quartz posted by TGT on eBay. I had just been poking around online, saw the listing and thought it looked cool, and hit “bid.” There was still a fair amount of time left on the auction, several other people were bidding, and I really didn’t expect to win. It was definitely an impulse buy, and I know many PSers definitely wouldn’t buy based on a single photo, but even with shipping the cost was less than $30.

The original estimated arrival date was Jan. 27. On Feb. 1, I opened a request, as I hadn’t heard anything from the seller, let alone that the item shipped. The payment had definitely gone through, as it showed up both on my bank statement and PayPal account on the Jan. 21.

It arrived a couple days after that, on Feb. 3 (though still without any communication from TGT), and I was fairly excited when I opened the package, having already started thinking of possible settings. As soon as I saw the gem in hand though, I knew it would have to go back. While artfully concealed by careful camera angle in the eBay listing, it had two huge cracks running width-wise across the face. There was no mention of this in the listing, the only inclusion there was “giliate inclusions,” but it was in no way suitable to being set in jewelry. I was shocked it even made it to me in one piece, as it was just in a little plastic baggie and not a case.

I started a return that day, and it was approved right away, but a return label wasn’t created for another six days, until Feb. 9. I shipped it back a couple days later.

I just received notice of a partial refund today, Feb. 24. and still have not heard a single word from the seller themselves through this entire process.

cracks somewhat visible on ebay listing, but definitely requires more than a casual look to see them

fairly obvious in hand

the middle one runs nearly all the way through the stone

Now I’m torn. He has some really cool stones listed, but at this point I’m quite uncomfortable spending any more money on them, after the fiasco this “tester stone” has been. I’d love to believe that this was highly anomalous, as there are no negative reviews on eBay, and he certainly has a following on PS, but I was disappointed from start to finish.


First off, I would file a claim with ebay via their buyers protection policy. Second, I would never purchase another thing from this seller. I have not had good luck with ebay purchases myself. However, many on this PS sight have.


Oct 15, 2013
TGT specializes in rare and unusual stone. Many of them are more appropriate as "specimen" stones for collectors, and aren't appropriate for setting in jewelry. I think in this case, your expectations might have exceeded what is realistic for the stone.


Mar 5, 2013
Bex|1456378561|3995401 said:
TGT specializes in rare and unusual stone. Many of them are more appropriate as "specimen" stones for collectors, and aren't appropriate for setting in jewelry. I think in this case, your expectations might have exceeded what is realistic for the stone.

Mmm, possibly true about the expectations. However, if he was going to disclose any inclusions (which he did in the listing per the OP) he should've also noted this significant bad one - not just the "good/interesting" type of inclusion. I've seen many gem sellers (Chris Auletta comes immediately to mind, as an example) who are quick to point out that a particular gem may not be suited for setting, but rather collection only. I don't think it's unusual to expect a seller to give info like that about a stone that is too included to set. It's something I would expect to know.

I also think that the utter lack of communication, slow turn around time, and only sending a partial refund are all terrible business practices. I understand that it was a small amount to spend on a stone, but I've purchased similarly priced gems in the past and still received excellent service from many vendors. For example, Kosnar Gems always does truly excellent packaging even on *very* cheap gems.

But I've never purchased from TGT, so I don't know if this is the norm or not. I've tried a couple of times at something from a drop, but either heard nothing back or got what appears to be his standard "You're second in line!" reply (regardless of where you actually are). So I really don't know - but I do appreciate hearing the OP's experience.


Apr 14, 2013
I agree with Bex and we've all had our expectations left dangling at times, when the pkg arrives. The other possibility is that the cracks grew while being shipped---which wouldn't be a first for gems in transit (damage of some sort). I'm not sure what the OP means by partial refund. Was it the price of the gem minus shipping charges? If so, that is common practice. Sorry the OP had this experience but I don't think Brad tries to set people up...........there are missing pieces in this story, most likely from both sides.


Apr 22, 2004
The auction items generally have issues, hence the extremely low price and only offered on eBay. His higher quality items are on the main website.
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