Contracting Your Own Jewelry Saves $$$$

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.

Engagement Rings, Brokering Your Own Ring to Save Money.

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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 contact@chateauperidot.com , 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.

You may visit the site here Visit Chateau Peridot Site

 

A Blue Gem, Rarer Than Sapphire is Blowing Up!

Vivid blue spinel from Sri Lanka

High Quality, Blue Spinel rough is running low in Sri Lanka due to increased demand for one of the rarest blue gems on earth. Supplies of the quality rough gem cutters need to supply the jewelry trade is almost exhausted due to recent surges in demand for the once untreatable gem.  A gem that is so rare it makes diamond seem common appears to be rarer than people thought.

The new demand for this rare gem has caused the prices to push the 2500.00 a carat range for premium and larger blue spinel gems. It has historically been mistaken for sapphire just as red spinel is frequently mistaken for ruby even ending up in Royal Collections and Museums mislabeled as sapphire and ruby in the past. Now modern techniques can be used to determine if a gem is spinel or sapphire/ruby.

Spinel is literally found right alongside rubies and sapphires making it even more difficult to separate except by trained eyes. A couple of years ago blue spinel demand rose as people began to find out that almost all rubies and sapphires are treated and heated to enhance their color and clarity. Spinels however, had no available treatment since heat did not help the gem and it was considered to always be an untreated gem.

Now, the Sri Lankan’s have almost exhausted the high quality rough they need to cut new blue spinel, which was primarily mined out years ago. They had done cheaper mine cuts on the rare spinel reserving their better cutters for sapphires they found in the same mines/areas prior to the value going up over 400% . Now, the blue spinels with top color and clarity but inferior “mine cuts,” has had to almost all be recut, causing a further reduction in the gem size which also drives the price of blue spinel up. Any blue spinel over 5 carats is considered to be very large.

The M’Gok (Burma,) mines, Tanzanian and Sri Lankan mines are not producing any substantial quantity of high quality blue spinels and the Vietnamese material now sells for as much as 2500.00+ for a quarter carat and is also getting tapped out and considered, to be quite rare.

A few savvy buyers like Ezekiel (Zeke) Loftin XII at Chateau Peridot in Lynchburg, Virginia stocked up on the gorgeous blue gem and now it is a seller’s market. To further complicate the pricing the Sri Lankan’s who are masters of sapphire manipulation have finally found a way to infuse cobalt (cobalt is the element that makes the spinel, turn blue,) into lesser quality blue spinel, so now there is the first available treatment for Blue Spinel called cobalt infusion. The best way to avoid cobalt infused gems (which tend to appear muddier in color and often too dark to hide defects) is to know you are dealing with a buyer who purchased older material, like Chateau Peridot and who deals with the gem regularly. Also only deal with dealers who are happy to send gems for certification from GIA if requested. The report will cost you more but the value of the gem rises more than enough to cover the extra expense.

GIA is a trusted lab. whom can easily detect cobalt infused blue spinel which have much less value compared to non treated spinel. Like sapphires the best material when gone will be replaced with treated and fake gems so the time to buy blue spinel is now before the best gems are gone forever and the only thing left is infused gems. This is what happened with Burmese and Kashmir sapphires which can go for millions of dollars a carat now. The Sri Lankans found a way to “burn,” in Kashmir and Burma type color which is their term for heating inferior sapphires to make them look like the very expensive untreated gems. Heating (burning) will deepen the color of poor colored sapphire to mimic Burmese and Kashmir sapphire which are nonexistent in top color unless you are very wealthy. Even heat treated Burmese and Kashmir sapphires have high prices. Heat treating though not effective for spinel clarity will melt the interior of sapphire and improve the clarity of gems with cracks and inclusions.

If history repeats itself the people who buy non-treated blue spinel now will have some very valuable gems in the future. Beware of synthetic blue spinel and even glass which as with sapphires and diamonds are used to rip people off. And now beware of cobalt infusion.

How I Curated Chateau Peridot

Vivid blue spinel from Sri Lanka

My first fascination with rocks cane from my aunt Sharon who was a geologist for the US government. She would take me all around in search of plowed fields and riverbeds looking for arrowheads and quartz. Then I discovered a meteorite and the fascination in my young mind was unleashed.

 

I have always collected gems and rocks but when I first saw a blue spinel and Burmese peridot I began to covet these gems. Before the price exploded I managed to make an amazing collection of both. Blue spinel I was originally purchasing at 200.00 a carat and now the price has soared to as high as 2500.00+ per carat and I am so glad I bought when I did. When I add a piece to my collection now I have to really haggle.

 

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Royal Blue courtesy Chateau Peridot

I buy these stones from miners and gem agents in Pakistan (Ceylon), Burma, Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. It has taken me years to build the trust and connections I have. No jewelry store in America, I dare say, could compete with me on price should I decide to do so. My collection is large and my gems were purchased very close to the mine and picked up in trade for rare garnet rough I owned. I also have some of the finest and most unusual colored gems but my best material is inn the blue range of sapphires though they are immensely more rare than blue sapphire and the price will continue. Among the most valuable blue spinel are royal blue.

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Peacock Blue Spinel, courtesy Chateau Peridot

Spinel come in virtually every shade of blue. What I love about blue spinel is that unlike sapphire it is not treated in any way or, “burned,” as they say in Sri Lanka by men at high temperature to make the inferior sapphires turn deep blue and melt out the imperfections. It is no longer an untreated stone when that happens and I was shocked to learn that over 90% of the sapphires we buy in America are heated and/or treated gems. If I wanted an ugly rock made beautiful I would burn one myself. This made spinel all the more beautiful to me since the spinel are discovered while mining for rubies and sapphires generally it also holds true that these beautiful blue gems have been mistaken for sapphires for hundreds of years and even ended up in royal collections identified as such.

When I opened Chateau Peridot it was my desire to allow people to buy their gem wholesale and then assist them in the mounting process at a vastly reduced rate so people who are not super rich can have and enjoy this fantastic gem in engagement rings, fashion jewelry or just to own as a collector. Much of the old rough from the mines is used up. The mines are playing out and many are not even producing. This gem will most likely be out of the price range of all but the very rich soon. Ebay is full of fake spinel so, “let the buyer beware,” but seek out blue spinel while you still can. Hold it, wear it and love it because it is a true natural beauty, and truly ultra rare.

I will accept offers on my blue spinel at http://www.chateauperidot.com Just pull up the one you want and and offer tab should appear as you browse the gem. Transactions are handled securely through Shopify and/or PayPal I will have the gem mounted for you near wholesale cost. No other discounts apply should I accept your offer. It never hurts to try, give it your best shot.

 

How To Buy and Mount Loose Gems.

FeaturedBlue, the rarest color in spinel.

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Buying loose gems is a crap shoot. TV gem sellers promote them like used cars jacking the price up and then lowering it to make you think you are getting a good deal, but are you? Why in the world would they claim a gem is 25,000.00 a carat and then magically sell it to you for 1000.00 a carat. Think about it. They even tell you that you are doing a, “good job,” when you buy from them, that is like basic dog training. I have rarely seen good deals off the TV sellers. They have huge expenses for airtime and don’t buy that, “the owner is out of the room so we are going to get in trouble,” you don’t screw your boss or your clients (the people who own the gems they are selling,) and announce it on national TV. That is a marketing ploy like car salesmen use, “Let me talk to the big guy and see what I can do.” I have never found one gem I could buy from someone who bought it on TV they simply paid too much, period. If you want to buy gems from car salesmen feel free but you are going to get what you overpaid for.

We are a small family company, low overhead and we deal direct with the mine owners and yes ruby’s can sell for over a million dollars a carat but we don’t start our ruby at $1,000,000.00 and come down to make you think you are getting a deal. Finding high quality gems is hard work and you have to work fast, have the connections in numerous countries with miners, agents and cutters and wire large amounts of money overseas a risk most jewelers are not willing to take. We are not jewelers.

We are fine gem collectors who buy, sell and trade the best gems we can find at the best pspoz1.42prices. We grab them up before the big jewelers know they exist. We can’t even find gems at the large wholesalers that meet our standards. We use the large mounting houses for diamonds only and to mount gems at wholesale. We know most of the people overseas we deal with. While still risky it is controlled risk and by taking that risk we get the lowest pricing and best gems. If anybody takes a hit it is us not you and we deal in volume so even if you located our contacts they would charge you much more. We pay a fraction of what they list stones for. They know us, we know them. We also buy from some of the finest gem cutters in the world and even if you bought from these gem cutters direct you would pay more than we will charge you for the same material. They count on us for volume and continued trade so they do not undersell their wholesale customers.

How does buying my gem first save me money?

There are three ways to save money buying jewelry. By purchasing your gem first at a discounted price you have made a commitment with us. We will then offer you free basic design service and match you up with one of our gem mounting artisans or companies. We make our margin off the gems and a very small margin off mounting. This is completely opposite of most jewelers who make good money by selling you the gem they bought from a larger gem seller who buys in mass and not necessarily cherry pick the best gems. We make only a small margin off of the wholesale price for mounting your gem we do not double or triple the price of the mounting we make about 20-30% on the wholesale cost so in essence you are paying way below retail on the gem and mounting and getting free basic design assistance. Extended design assistance for custom work is usually a flat fee of 150.00 to 400.00 for gold, platinum and diamond accented mountings. For extensive artisan custom design though you still save it can run as high as your dreams (and pocketbook) can take you.

What if I want to have my jeweler mount my gem or just keep the gem as a collector’s item?

No problem, we want you to be happy the gem will still cost the same and we will happily sell loose gems. And if you do not like that loose gem you have twenty calendar days to return it for a full refund, just call us within 48 hours of receipt to let us know you are returning it. We do not refund any postage and insurance. We will give you a store coupon to offset your postage and insurance costs. Again, we want you to be happy. We do not charge a restocking fee.

What about your estate jewelry?

 

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We buy estate jewelry here in Virginia because a lot of wealthy people are growing old here and their estates are sold by children or their estates and we buy for pennies on the dollar. We pass these savings on to you. We can sell jewelry worth over 10,000.00 often for less than half the price. Ask us about any gems and we will happily send any of our jewelry and gems for GIA certification for a fee you must cover. It does cost more but will raise the value of the gem you buy. If the GIA report does not say the item is what we said it was we will give you a full refund and since we ship to GIA from here you have no postage costs unless the gem passes certification. We will never try to mislead you or sell you inferior or fake gems.