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Stones around the World

kalliea

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2011
Messages
3
Hello Everyone!

I posted this first in Jewlery Pieces forum, and it was recommended that I post it here instead. Help would be appreciated.

I'm going on a 1 year trip around the world soon. I want to buy different stones from around the world to remember the trip. Can anyone give me some buying tips? Where it is best to buy what jewels? I'm going basically everywhere except South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. I want to buy some lose stones to be made into a bracelet, as well as some individual pieces.

Any advice would be greatly welcome!
 

MAC-W

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 28, 2009
Messages
671
Hi Kalliea,

Welcome to the coloured stones forum :wavey:

I'm in Australia, and would recommend sapphires and opals from our east coast and broome pearls from our west coast.

Also I lived in Germany for 4 years and would recommend that you go to Idar-Oberstein which is a major gem cutting centre. There is a gemstone trail you can do around the Idar-Oberstein area and a gemsone garden at Kempfeld. LINK in englishThe main/most famous gemstone from Germany is probably hauyne.

My husband is from Scotland and if you make up to there (go to the cairngorms), then smoky quartz is the most obvious stone to buy as it is Scotland's national gemstone.

If you are going to be in South Eastern France then contact GemFrance (they are based in Saint Ismier).

The only thing I would add is to be very careful buying gemstones directly in other countries, especially if you dont speak the language of that country. I can see a whole heap of problems in some countries. There are some expert people on this site who will be able to give better guidance than me on this subject.

Also will you be carrying the stones you buy with you? or shipping them back home at various intervals?

Hope this helps and enjoy your holiday

Dont forget to post lots of photos of your travels on Pricescope for all us gemstone junkies

mac
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Be very careful about where and what you buy and above all don't spend more money than you would be happy to have spent on a synthetic/piece of glass.

I've bought stones in the streets in places like Sri Lanka, but then I'm an 'almost' fully qualified gemmologist. I asked a friend what would happen if someone with no training turned up since no one had even tried to show me synthetics or fakes. He said that it was obvious if people had any knowledge and if they didn't look that way they would be shown fakes and if they fell for one then that would be it, they'd see nothing else.

Even the state gems shops in many countries you need to watch out. I've had lovely conversations when I've wandered into them for a look round and been shown lovely irradiates topaz that 'comes out of the ground this colour madam', or been told that citrine is 'golden topaz'.

Don't ever expect to pick up an AMAZING bargain. If it's too good to be true it 99.9% is. Any thoughts of 'they live in the developing world and don't know what prices in the west are' or 'they need to feed their family' or similar... do not even think of believing this. They have been dealing in gems for thousands of years and know exactly what it is and how much it is worth - there are plenty of laptops and iphones in mining areas (and they don't belong to the westerners!)

If you give a list of countries you are visiting then I will try and give a list of stones you could reasonably expect to buy without getting 'done'. Do not even think about buying rubies - evern I'm too wary to buy those at the moment!
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,682
I read your first post and was about to post about being careful because of the number of synthetics and can see that Pandora has beaten me to it! Unfortunately, even if you've been gem collecting for many many years, it's so easy to be duped. What looks like a lovely gemstone may well turn out to be glass or man-made. I went to a gem show in the UK a few weekends ago and unfortunately, even there, there were dubious gems!

I would only buy from recommended vendors but of course this may mean that you pay more but ultimately will have nicer, genuine, gemstones in return.

If you're looking for a fun bracelet to remind you of each country (which is a lovely idea) then perhaps don't worry so much about the above and just buy what you love. However, if you're looking for a piece that will have some value then the advice above stands.

Have a wonderful trip - I'm very jealous!
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
[quote="LovingDiamonds|1305458727|2922233" I went to a gem show in the UK a few weekends ago and unfortunately, even there, there were dubious gems!
[/quote]

LD -- what did you see that was dubious? In what way? Glass? Filled? Irradiated? I'm curious -- would not have expected to see too much of that in the UK. Guess there are shady characters everywhere, though.

OP, Hong Kong is a great place to find gems & jewelry -- but as has been said, you need to be careful about what you're buying. Pearls, of course, in Japan, but you can be overcharged -- which doesn't matter if you're buying for wear & fun & don't break the bank. You'll be offered jadeite out the wazoo in Asia -- much of it fake. Sounds pessimistic, doesn't it? Whatever you get, it will bring wonderful memories & the looking will be tons of fun.

Sounds like a great trip! I wanna come.

--- Laurie
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,682
JewelFreak|1305459484|2922236 said:
" I went to a gem show in the UK a few weekends ago and unfortunately, even there, there were dubious gems!

LD -- what did you see that was dubious? In what way? Glass? Filled? Irradiated? I'm curious -- would not have expected to see too much of that in the UK. Guess there are shady characters everywhere, though.

--- Laurie
Where do I start? :lol:

Rubies sold as "natural" - 2ct being sold for £50 (about $80). No mention of dying, fracture filling, etc etc. When I asked (out of curiosity) I was told they were completely natural! Yeah, right, and I'm the Queen of Siam!

Sapphires sold as "natural" and "untreated" and with a report. I asked to see the report and it was from a lady gemmologist in Sri Lanka (not a lab at all). I asked how she knew it hadn't been BE diffused and was told "she's a gemmologist so can tell from the gemstone". Ok (not).

Sapphires without a report being sold as natural when the colour spoke for themselves! There was a parcel of loose sapphires that you could make into a rainbow sapphire bracelet/necklace that I was told was completely natural! The colours were bright, vibrant and I would stake good money on them being BE diffused but was told by the seller that they categorically weren't. Mmmmmmmm :?:

Opals - no mention of whether they were doublets or triplets (most were but you had to ask to find out). Interestingly a very large amount of Welo opals!

Turquoise - no mention of reconstitution but the price they most definitely were.

Amber - a huge huge huge amount of. I'm always suspicious when people tell me "it's Baltic Amber". I don't know, I'm sure some of it was but if it was all "real" then the enormous conference centre had the equivalent of a small country worth! Also, interestingly, amber with insects in. Now I know how expensive real ones like this are because I bought some a few years ago. The insects in these pieces were perfect (always a giveaway).

I could go on and on and on and on!
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,268
I have to agree with the others, as unless you're buying from a very reputable vendor, you're most likely to get a highly treated stone, or synthetic, simulant, etc. . .

Also, if traveling in Europe, there's not very many gemstones that I know of in Europe, with the exceptions of some very rare exotic gems that probably wouldn't be suitable for setting, and amber of course. The bulk of great gemstones typically lies in South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia which are suitable for setting. Now someone please correct me if I'm wrong, because I rarely hear of European gems for sale, and even gems from the United States are rare, but at least you can find sapphires, emeralds, and several others here. However, I do wish I had the country of Tanzania in my backyard. I think there's more wonderful gems that come from that region than anywhere else in the world.

Too bad you're not going to central Africa, because that's where I would go first on a gem safari! :naughty:
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
Gosh, DS, that's amazing! Sounds like a bunch of carnival barkers. Too bad. I suppose those guys were expecting a lot of easy marks & tourists thinking they're getting a bargain. Probably found them, too!

Seems true, TL, except for people who go to Amsterdam or Belgium for diamonds -- which is as risky as anything else re fakers. One time, coming from Amsterdam to NYC, my luggage got lost. When I finally received it, my face cream in its container was all messy from fingers going through it. I decided they must've been looking for smuggled diamonds. (That was apropos of nothing but I felt like telling it.)

--- Laurie
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,268
JewelFreak|1305471870|2922317 said:
Gosh, DS, that's amazing! Sounds like a bunch of carnival barkers. Too bad. I suppose those guys were expecting a lot of easy marks & tourists thinking they're getting a bargain. Probably found them, too!

Seems true, TL, except for people who go to Amsterdam or Belgium for diamonds -- which is as risky as anything else re fakers. One time, coming from Amsterdam to NYC, my luggage got lost. When I finally received it, my face cream in its container was all messy from fingers going through it. I decided they must've been looking for smuggled diamonds. (That was apropos of nothing but I felt like telling it.)

--- Laurie
The diamonds are cut there, but typically originate in Africa. Is the OP looking for stones native to the country of origin?
 

bluebirrrd

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
Messages
398
You know, that could be a really fun, memorable and affordable project if you're not dead set on finding genuine stones. Fake jade from China, a simulated ruby from Thailand, a gorgeous BE diffused sapphire. You would still have the memories, a cool bracelet, and tons of stories to tell about your experiences hunting for treasure and play negotiating with deceptive gem traders around the world.
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
TL|1305473496|2922331 said:
The diamonds are cut there, but typically originate in Africa. Is the OP looking for stones native to the country of origin?

Of course they don't originate there, but people often assume they can get a bargain buying them "from a cutter." When we lived in Amsterdam there were storefront operators who claimed to be the cutters, offering "bargains." I presume the OP wants stones native to where she's going.

--- Laurie
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,268
JewelFreak|1305481991|2922435 said:
TL|1305473496|2922331 said:
The diamonds are cut there, but typically originate in Africa. Is the OP looking for stones native to the country of origin?

Of course they don't originate there, but people often assume they can get a bargain buying them "from a cutter." When we lived in Amsterdam there were storefront operators who claimed to be the cutters, offering "bargains." I presume the OP wants stones native to where she's going.

--- Laurie
That reminds me, there is a dealer on ebay that sells rough diamonds out of Belgium. Very pretty and very affordable. I would love to see one of those in a bracelet. Perfect octahedral crystals.

http://cgi.ebay.com/E-FLAWLESS-100-...ltDomain_0&hash=item20b94443e2#ht_4533wt_1139

Uli of Osirisgems is from Germany, and he actually imports all his stones for cutting. He mentions on his website, osirisgems.com, that much of his Oregon fire opal ends up back in the country where he obtained the rough for cutting. It goes on a round trip. :))
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,494
The idea of buying gems from a particular locale while continent hopping seems somewhat romantic or idealistic, it is something I do not recommend at all. It is all too easy to get swindled in more ways that one - most people will overpay, the gem is heavily treated, the gem could be a simulant and more.
 

erinl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
741
I think if I were going on a trip to many different locales, I would do a little research on different local jewelry traditions/styles and focus on that. Those are some of my jewelry pieces that mean the most to me-- a silver ring with an engraved petroglyph in the caribbean, conamara marble pendant after studying Irish there, Damascene jewelry from Toledo Spain just for example.

IMHO (and I have not purchased stones or jewelry extensively), it seems like a person can obtain many if not most gemstones in one's own home via the internet, through a gem dealer, or at gem shows to name a few methods. My impression is that people who get good local gem deals (in Asia, Tanzania etc) are in a specific locale for an extended period of time and get to know the people they are dealing with and figure out who is best to work with, or have done considerable networking before they get there. But again, I am new to gem collecting and I am certainly not a gem dealer/cutter/ or specialist in any way. Just an academic who has done fieldwork in multiple places, and I may be projecting that experience onto gem acquisitions.
 
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