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Choosing and Buying Your Dream Gem
One of the biggest ways jewelry stores make money is buying gems from a wholesale broker and then marking them up double or more.
If the average gem changes hands 9 times before it reaches the, jeweler when is the stone best obtained?
Answer: As close to the mine as possible, before it changes hands more than 3 times.
Each time a hand touches your gem the price goes up. It starts with a miner who discovers the gem. The supervisor of the miner sometimes gets a bonus along with the miner when a gem of value is found. For a very valuable gem the miner gives a small percentage to everyone on the crew which encourages the miners to not smuggle out the stone and sell it on the black market. The other crew members are more apt to turn in a fellow miner if they know they will be losing their bonus for being a member of the discovery team. But, mine workers still smuggle out stones which we do not encourage.
Then comes the “true broker,” who buys the gem(s) from the mine owner. The true broker markets the rough, uncut gem to a “buyer,” who takes a group of “rough,” gems to a cutter for grading/cut and then sells the stone(s) to another “wholesale,” broker as cut gem(s).
Either the stone continues changing hands (which usually happens,)or the buyer having paid for the cutting of the stones sells to yet another broker who markets the stones to either an American broker or a flipper who sells the stone to a jeweler or the general public. Sometimes a stone gets flipped multiple times at this point with the price of the gem soaring ever higher.
The average gem changes hands 9 times before reaching a jeweler or flipper and then you. Each hand it touches causes the price of the gem to rise. The way to get quality gems at true wholesale pricing means having a broker who deals with miners, cutters and a true wholesale broker and keep those extra hands out of the sale. This requires having a wholesale broker willing to sell single stones to an individual and who has connections around the world in or near the mines.
This is how we are able to offer you stones at prices your jeweler would not match even if they could find the rare stones we deal in. Jewelers prefer diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies because these are easier stones to obtain from the large gem brokers and they pay for the privilege of not having to send money to foreign countries, track down rare stones and grab them as quickly as they appear as close to the mine as possible. As an avid collector of gems this is what I do. I always try to stay as close to the mine as possible. The only brokers we deal with are very close to the mine and we are offered these gems first, because we buy a lot and have established relationships world-wide. When we cut out hands, we save you money.
This teaberry pink spinel is an example of the gems women are choosing in place of Diamonds. Millennial buyers want rarity, color and value.
Most of the cost of your engagement ring is the main stone, usually a diamond in the past. Did you know engagement size diamonds are not rare, they are a controlled commodity. The huge diamond companies keep them vaulted underground and release them in increments. If they released all of them at one time the cost of diamonds would crash. Like in the movie, Blood Diamonds this would really happen which is why the huge diamond companies wanted the free flowing mines shut down, too many diamonds were flooding the market without the careful inventory control. Think about this. Walmart sells diamonds but never an untreated blue spinel, sapphire or ruby. They are really rare and they are not abundant enough to even fill an order and unlike diamonds the more spinel that hits the market the higher they go because many of the mines are depleted and there are no huge underground warehouses hoarding the excess material.
Blue spinel is an example of a gem so rare that when one buying surge hit the market it depleted almost the entire supply in Sri Lanka, Burma and Vietnam. The price went off the chart and it will rise even more in the future unless they find a new source and currently there is not one. That makes spinel an investment gem. Something you buy now because it may not be there later or be so expensive like Burmese and Kashmir sapphire it will be mined out completely and sell for astronomical prices per carat. And blue spinel was never treated like 99% of all sapphire it was naturally the vivid blues, pinks, violets, purples and reds. Blue is now treated with cobalt which is the natural element in spinel that makes it blue. The treated stones are generally gray or muddy in color and almost worthless and treated spinel is not worth much more and can be detected by the labs like GIA. Ruby can still be found untreated as well as sapphire but if we send the same gem to two labs they can come back as treated from one lab and untreated from the other. Spinel treatment on the other hand is of only one type and can be easily and accurately detected. The bulk of the blue spinel gems we have at Chateau Spinel were purchased prior to any treatment even being available so we have high confidence in our gems and our sources.
Ruby and sapphire even if treated with simple heat only are often much more beautiful than any diamond. Diamonds sparkle and have the illusion of being rare regardless of size and now they can treat diamonds to improve their color and clarity. All treatments lower the value, period. Even oiling an emerald can drop its value by over 10,000.00 a carat! The labs can even detect oil on the gem from the equipment they use to mine the rough.
Untreated good. Treated bad is a simple rule of thumb. Exceptions are simple heat in sapphires. Just assume your sapphire is treated unless you have a GIA cert saying otherwise.
Also, people are now buying synthetic diamonds like Moissanite that are lab created diamonds that will fool diamond testing equipment. Why? Because the equipment only realizes they are a real diamond not that they are manmade. These manmade diamonds are creeping into the market every single day and being sold as natural earth mined diamonds.
People are choosing diamonds as accent stones for engagement jewelry which allows them to add nicer diamonds at a smaller size and then add a ruby, spinel, emerald and even rare garnet or tourmaline as the main gem. Sapphire also continues to be a popular choice as the main gem in engagement rings and blue spinel (untreated, see our blog on buying blue spinel,) is an up and comer more rare than ruby, sapphire and diamond and comes in extraordinary shades of pink, red, clear and the rarest and most beautiful blues.
By purchasing your main gem you can get as much as 300% savings and stretch your engagement budget. Chateau Peridot will allow you to make reasonable offers on gems just like they do their wholesale customers (jewelers) but you have to ask (via email firstname.lastname@example.org , and we generally do not advertise this fact. Chateau Peridot will also allow you to use their artisan and wholesale jewelers to design and build your ring in platinum and gold settings and you can have an original ring for less than the cost of a cookie cutter ring setting. They do not mark up settings by 100-300% but instead offer it as a service for an average 29% fee or less.
Here are some examples of main stone alternates available at Chateau Peridot and you may make offers as high as 50% off on any gem. More than that and your request will possibly be rejected or we would counter. On some gems we have room in price due to our bulk buys and cutting our own rough which we buy direct from the mines or our agents worldwide. Pricing is formulated based on the current value of the gem. I would not make offers on sale items. Below are blue and pink spinel, green tsavorite garnets cut by an award winning gem cutter, and top quality ruby.
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