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Complete ripoff?

Posted by JJ Bergstrom  
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 09:27AM
Everything in the GLA report seems to be ok, with the exception of the valuation (which, to be fair, it says value NOT TO EXCEED - and $20 does not exceed that value)
Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 12:15PM
In general, this might be of interest. I found it on the "World Gem Society" website, I hope they don't mind me presenting it here. A very good website by the way.

Ten Things Consumers and Dealers Need to Know About Gem Lab Reports

If a gem lab makes an error or is negligent, the dealer or jeweler using it has to pay for it.
Lab reports do not cover you in the event of a lawsuit. Even if the report was in error, you will bear the cost and liability for damages caused by the lab’s error.
In the event of a lawsuit regarding a claim you made based on a lab report, the labs will not show up in court to stand behind you. You are on your own.
The labs do not guarantee the accuracy of the information in their documents. In fact, they specifically state just the opposite. No lab guarantees the accuracy of their lab reports.
The labs cannot accurately identify the origin of colored gemstones to a legal standard.
Diamond graders in major labs have been caught selling higher grades on certificates.
It is common that diamonds graded by one lab will grade totally different in a different lab.
It is known that a diamond graded by one lab can be submitted to the same lab at a later date and get a different grade.
All diamond grades are subjective opinions.
The AGTA GTC, GIA GTL, and others who issued erroneous certificates regarding Tibet andesine will never be held liable for the errors in their

Regards Rolf
Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 12:42PM
I'll be a bit less insulting than Owen and Steve. They're right that the stone is poorly cut and far from gem quality, but it's big for what it is, and some people like big. It is conceivable that you'll get back what was paid for it, or even a bit more, but this is hard enough to judge in person, let alone on a photo.
Duncan Miller
Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 02:38PM
There are more of these big rocks hitting the market. See here for more examples, comment and discussion. Duncan
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 03:38PM
There has been a lot of dyed material coming out of India for quite some time, low grade beryl and corundum cut into large stones.

Alfredo is right, some people like big and there might be people out there willing to pay a little extra for that, however not as much as the prices in the appraisals, they are wildly unrealistic.

Good luck with your efforts.

stephanie smiling smiley
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 03:47PM
Alfredo, I had no intention of being insulting. Evaluations are highly dependent on opinion. My opinion is that these pieces are worth very little.
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 03:50PM
You have a generous heart, Alfredo smiling smiley

For the benefit of JJ who doesn't know about stones, let's set out a few facts.

- Emerald is a variety of the crystalline mineral species called Beryl, with the chemical formula Be3Al2Si6O18 for all varieties.

- In its pure form, Beryl is colourless and this colourless form has the varietal name of Goshenite in the gem trade.

- Other atoms in very small proportions can be trapped in the Beryl crystal lattice and cause the whole to show some weak to strong colour. There are six to eight coloured varieties of Beryl, known respectively at Red Beryl (Bixbite), Aquamarine (light blue/green), Maxixe (dark blue), Emerald and Green Beryl (two types of green Beryl), Heliodor and Yellow Beryl (two shades of yellow Beryl). These are gem trade distinctions and are not all distinctions used by mineralogists. Each colour has a different market value, all else being equal. Goshenite is the cheapest and Emerald is the most expensive variety of Beryl.

- Until the 1990's, only gem quality Beryl that was coloured green by the trapping of Chromium ions in the lattice was called Emerald. All other Beryl coloured green by any other chromophore ion was simply known as Green Beryl. Stones categorised as Green Beryl sell as a heavy discount to those of the same size and general quality that are sold as Emerald.

- In the 1990's large amounts of very good quality green Beryl were discovered in Brazil in particular. This green Beryl was coloured not with Chromium but with Vanadium ions. Market forces drove the GIA to use its clout to obtain gem trade acceptance of Vanadium coloured green Beryl as Emerald. And so it now is, through most of the world. This bust the fence around the Emerald definition and has latterly resulted in a broad - but not yet quite universal acceptance as Emerald any green Beryl of gem quality that is not too yellow or too blue. If you sense imprecision resulting in the definition of what is arguably the most valuable of all gemstones, you'd be right! sad smiley

- You note that I use the rider 'of gem quality' this means that, apart from being pure green Beryl, the crystal must have beauty, being mainly transparent or (in worst case) translucent. and containing (as a cut stone) no really serious flaws. Again, this is - to a point - a matter for skilled judgement.

Now we can turn to your stone and its certificate.

- Simple gemmological testing for refractive indices, birefringence, optic sign and specific gravity will confirm whether it is reasonably pure Beryl or not. Even with an opaque stone, further and advanced testing should determine the chromophore ion.

- In the case of your stone let's say that it basic-tests out properly as Beryl. It's very unlikely that GLA determined the chromophore. From colour and opacity, I incline call it Green Beryl. Whatever, its a bottom grade stone, just about of saleable quality at any price (think 99.99 as a curiosity if the buyer is not to be ripped off).

- The problem with the GLA appaisal (for insurance purposes only), is probably in the misapplication of the value multiplying factor on grounds size - and category of size - (see earlier post). In terms of quality, GLA has correctly (IMHO) grade the quality of your stone as 'junk status'. The mistake is then to multiply up, firstly by carat weight the $ per ct rate for 'junk' Green Beryl. Junk 1,000 times larger is simply *not* 1,000 times more valuable than the small junk - a problem in the mechanistic application of a formula without application of a critical faculty. This mistake has probably been compounded by the mis-application of the 'size category multiply factor on top.

People who buy junk quality - sorry, commercial grade (meaning sellable) - Green Beryl are those who can't afford a decent Emerald. That's most of the gemstone buying public in this world and is why a lot of commercial grade stuff is shifted in the market. However, most is shifted as small cut stones of somewhere in the range of 1-2 cts. To maximise the cash realisable from this stone it might be best to have it cut up into such smaller stones.

A 'back of your beer-mat' calculation might look something like this. Cut and polish the chunk into 1-2ct 'gems' for jewellery setting and a 1,000 ct bulk might yield you 250-500 such stones, the remalnder ending up as dust (with you might also try to sell to a synthetic Emerald manufacturer - if you could ever make the connection). a mix of 1-2ct stones of bottom-end of commercial grade Green Beryl might sell, wholesale, for an average of five bucks each (on a good day). This would give your stone a realised cash value of around USD 1,250 - 2,500, from which you have to deduct the costs of the lapidiary and selling............

OTOH, you might find some punter who fancies a gamble and would pay USD 1,000 at auction for the single piece - but if it were me, I would not be holding my breath whilst waiting; such don't come along very often. Or keep and use it as a paperweight on your office desk - a great conversation piece.
Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 04:33PM
i agree with everything Owen wrote above (even the bit about my generous heart winking smiley ), except the part about a creeping imprecision in the definition of "emerald" when vanadium-coloured beryls were accepted as emeralds. As the use of emeralds predates the discovery of the element chromium by many centuries, it is impossible for "chromium as the chromophore" to be part of the definition. That was a case of attempted imposition of unjustified over-precision by one group of producers attempting to protect their market.
Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 04:41PM
I'm probably mostly just rehashing bits of what others have said, but the discussion reminds me of the mineral specimens many of us have purchased, and then somebody says "you paid WHAT for that?". The value could be said to be about $1,000 because a person paid that much for it, and that's almost all you can say about it. Several have mentioned that the appraisal is bogus, but it's just a misapplication (perhaps deliberate) of a gemstone calculation. It isn't a gemstone, it's a "collector's item". I don't think there aren't a large number of people collecting those kind of things, maybe some rockhounds who are into lapidary work, but maybe there are more than I think. Steve's estimate of what it might fetch at a rock show, flea market,or rock shop, without spendinng a lot of time and effort, may be about is kind of a pretty paperweight, and people sometimes pay several hundred dollars for those...(but no thanks, I have plenty of rocks like that. I'm looking at a giant transparent, but quite waterworn, topaz crystal holding down all the work I should be doing, I should do a per carat estimate of it's value sometime, but luckily someone just gave it to me because they got bored with it. It's sat on my desk at work for years and I don't think any of the cleaning people have ever had any interest in it).
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 05:48PM
GLA also doesn't stand behind the color being natural.(they would take a stab at that with some more testing)
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 05:53PM
Alfredo Petrov Wrote:
> i agree with everything Owen wrote above (even the
> bit about my generous heart winking smiley ), except the part
> about a creeping imprecision in the definition of
> "emerald" when vanadium-coloured beryls were
> accepted as emeralds. As the use of emeralds
> predates the discovery of the element chromium by
> many centuries, it is impossible for "chromium as
> the chromophore" to be part of the definition.
> That was a case of attempted imposition of
> unjustified over-precision by one group of
> producers attempting to protect their market.

smiling smiley

There is, as you say, more than one point of view here (not the place to thrash it out perhaps). If you are attanding the Ste Maie aux Mines exhipition in June, its something that we might enjoy taking further over a bottle or three of Gewurtztraminer smiling smiley

For the time being, please let me add this. You are quite right that lovely, transparent and green stones were traded for centuries as 'Emerald' before science was applied to market regulation starting in the 19th Cent. First chemistry, then mineralogy and finally, in the 20th cent, gemmology, were applied in an attempt to build sensible rules for the useful, honest and consistent description of gem materials - including Emerald.

I don't argue that arbitary varietal division of species has some overwhelming logic to it. But - as I think it did with Emerald - it need not too fiercely overturn what had existed historically in any event and it has helped make the market more transparent and honest. Busting the fence around the Emerald definition has not (IMHO) improved either market transparency or honesty (turning to nod at JJ's pics and GLA certificate). Similar science-based discrimination caused the largest Ruby in the British crown jewels (for some hundreds of years) to be reclassified as a red Spinel.

But, I agree, right is not all on one side in this discussion. The real problem, it seems to me, is the extent to which market sentiment will value a gem with one name so much more highly that the same gem sold under another name.
Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 06:20PM
I'll take you up on the Gewurtztraminer smiling smiley
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 28, 2012 11:09PM
Muy bueno! You're on, I'll PM you nearer the date to arrange meeting up.I'll be staying in Colmar for the nights of 21/22/23 June.

Best, Owen
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 29, 2012 07:32AM
It sort of reminds me of those sets of fancy silver and gold coins that some private mints put out commemorating famous American Indian chiefs or a number of other topics that they sell to doctors and others in fancy presentation display holders. When it comes time for the family to sell them to raise money, the coin dealers throw them on the scales and pay scrap silver prices for them.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 29, 2012 01:42PM
You're not wrong, Rock.

People will pay good money to buy a dream. But, come to sell your dream and you find no one else wants it.
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
March 29, 2012 04:06PM
And (to add to Rock's comment) until there is a run on the beryllium market, scrap beryl is worth even less than scrap silver.
avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
April 03, 2012 07:40PM
I think Steve's assessment is pretty spot on...ditto what he said!
Re: Complete ripoff?
April 04, 2012 10:32PM
If you need to sell those pure gold or silver coins in a hurry, then a dealer might just weigh them for the bullion value. But if there is no hurry, then imprinted coins have alot more value then just bullion. Yes, some silver and gold minted coins are purchased for their bullion value only (ease of transport and exchange) , but others are bought for the impressions on the coin and the metal value .Try buying the annual commemorative presidential silver coins that are only two years from the mint date. Some have doubled in value.

But careful, some tv commercials try to sell coins that are only capped in silver or gold. They make it sound intriguing, but these are basically worthless.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/04/2012 10:34PM by Jerry Petryha.
Re: Complete ripoff?
April 06, 2012 07:51AM
Thanks so much to all of you!

I am putting it on ebay, and do not expect you to bid. winking smiley

avatar Re: Complete ripoff?
April 06, 2012 10:46AM
Good luck, will be interesting to see how much it goes for!

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