One important step before going to the Tucson Gem Show is gathering some important tools together and learning to use them efficiently the following email came from Gemstone Press today and I thought I would pass it on. Gemstone Press usually provides at least one seminar at the AGTA GemFair show. They are an excellent source for books, info, workshops and tools of the trade.
When you go to buy colored gemstones today, you will find yourself immersed in color—every hue, every shade of the spectrum. There has never been a more exciting time to search for a colored gem because there have never been so many beautiful gemstones to choose from. Yet at the same time, there have never been so many imitations, synthetics, and perhaps even worse, artificially enhanced gemstones treated by techniques that produce temporary results.
Today you will find “new” gems discovered in the past few decades: emerald-green garnets (tsavorite), blue and green tanzanite, and “neon” tourmalines from Paraiba, Brazil, in blue and green shades never seen before. Even natural-color diamonds can be found today in a rainbow of natural “fancy” colors, some at very “fancy” prices. But you can also be duped into buying convincing “look-alikes,” such as Paraiba-color apatite (a genuine stone, but not a rare gem such as Paraiba tourmaline), or a “fancy-color diamond” that has been coated on the underside to appear a lovely fancy color when it is not. (This is of major concern when buying pavé jewelry pieces set with numerous small stones that lack laboratory documentation.) Surface-coated diamonds and surface-coated gemstones (such as tanzanite) are being found with increasing frequency. It is further complicated because such gems are sold not only by unscrupulous sellers, but also by manufacturers, designers, and jewelers who inadvertently buy them and sell them to others unknowingly. Don’t be lured into thinking you’re getting a great bargain at a low price—where gems are concerned, you usually get what you pay for, or less!
The more you know, the more you’ll enjoy searching for lovely colored gemstones. Whatever color you prefer, and whatever your budget, there is a sparkling natural gem awaiting your discovery. If you are seeking an emerald-green stone but can’t afford a fine emerald, you have many wonderful choices today, including green garnet (tsavorite), green tourmaline, chrome diopside, or green tanzanite. If red is your color but you can’t afford a ruby, you might choose from red spinel, red tourmaline, or red garnet. Finally, if you prefer blue, choices now include blue spinel, iolite, tourmaline, and tanzanite. And we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.
Just be sure to keep in mind the many ways that gemstones can be treated and imitated, and why it is so important to know how to confirm the identity and quality of what you buy. Learn what questions to ask, what to get in writing on the sales receipt, and how to find a reliable expert to verify your purchases so that you’ll be able to enjoy your gemstones for generations to come. You may also want to consider obtaining a few inexpensive pocket-size tools that are easy to use and require no gemological or technical background. Many people find that examining stones themselves adds more fun, enriches the overall experience, and most importantly, enables them to easily spot most of the fakes. Spending a little extra time to learn what precautions you can take will help you avoid costly mistakes and help you derive lasting pleasure from your purchases.