Help mindat.org|Log In|Register|
Home PageMindat NewsThe Mindat ManualHistory of MindatCopyright StatusManagement TeamContact UsAdvertise on Mindat
Donate to MindatSponsor a PageSponsored PagesTop Available PagesMindat AdvertisersAdvertise on MindatThe Mindat Store
Minerals by PropertiesMinerals by ChemistryRandom MineralSearch by minIDLocalities Near MeSearch GlossaryMore Search Options
Search For:
Mineral Name:
Locality Name:
Keyword(s):
 
The Mindat ManualAdd a New PhotoRate PhotosLocality Edit ReportCoordinate Completion ReportAdd Glossary Item
StatisticsThe ElementsMember ListBooks & MagazinesMineral Shows & EventsThe Mindat DirectoryHow to Link to MindatDevice Settings
Photo SearchPhoto GalleriesNew Photos TodayNew Photos YesterdayMembers' Photo GalleriesPast Photo of the Day Gallery
bannerbannerbannerbannerbannerbanner

Complete ripoff?

Posted by JJ Bergstrom  
avatar
Alfredo Petrov December 18, 2014 08:00AM
I didn't see any value stated on your certificate, so impossible to judge.
avatar
CR December 18, 2014 08:04AM
also, the "ruby" I bought is different than the one pictured on the "GLA Gemstone Summary" listed with the stone...

Another oddity, the "evaluators" ('gemologists') are from differing organizations, one from GIA, and one from GLA.
The auction for the emerald was over so quickly that as soon as I bid the auction was over; and of course it went from $1.00 initial bid to $1000.00 within seconds! I didn't see that coming, nor would I have bid that on purpose.. it was, of course, the "GLA" 'gemologist' who fetched the HIGHEST and fasted bid of the two.

Here's some more pics... of course I don't have the actual stones yet. I hope I never do at this point. I could find more interesting stuff in my back yard... and that's no joke. I have an AWESOME backyard! smiling smiley
open | download - my ruby b.jpg (42.7 KB)
open | download - my ruby.jpg (42 KB)
avatar
Paul De Bondt December 18, 2014 11:29AM
Hi all,

Interesting topic.

This mean too that, if you dont know anything about minerals and gems,nor what you are buying, stay out of it.
Like another member sayd, when it's unbelieveable to be true, it mostly is.
Would you buy a Picasso or Breughel if you dont know anything about art ?

The " saphire " could be a garnet. In the best case, it's a stony corundum, used in industry as emeril on cutting disks and grinding mills.

And the " emerald " is also a stony beryl. Some white stony beryl can be found all over the world, sometimes as huge crystals, several meters long. If one illuminated crook found the way to dye them, you will get this type of stones. Faceted in India or Pakistan for a few $ and it's done.

Disclaimer : with the following, I DO NOT insinuate whatsoever on the specimens, associations and indivuduals mentionned in this topic. And it is not in my intention to convince people to do such things. It's against all international laws. It is a warning as such practices are frequently used.

Some are using this type of stuff to " clean " money. They sell you a stone, worth on paper thousands of dollars, far under the " real " value. The stone is almost worthless and the money is cleaned. If you want to sell the stone, you will probably sell it to the guy you had it from. These guys are used to this and tell you the price of gems has fallen down and that the stone is almost worthless. But as gentlemen, they will buy the stone back, for the real value this time, and they sell it back with the same mecanisme. It's also a mecanisme to fraud insurances. A worthless stone has been stolen and the appraisal says it's worth $$$$. The insurance will probably refund you a little less that the appraisal value. Easy money.

I think that the little boxes where they are kept in, are far more worth than the stone itself.

I hope this helps.

Take care and best regards.

Paul.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2014 11:51AM by Paul De Bondt.
avatar
Owen Melfyn Lewis December 18, 2014 03:49PM
Ruby is gem quality corundum coloured red by about 1% substitution of the Al by Cr. 'Gem quality' means that the crystal is completely or nearly transparent and has limited flaws in the crystal. What was sold here was certified as opaque/near opaque and should be described as red corundum by any competent certifying body. An auction house is not obliged to know its ass from its elbow.

This trouble started in the USA where trade descriptions become ever laxer. Where it is now thought clever marketing by some to offer red beryl as 'red emerald'.

There is one exception to the above rule. Opaque red corundum appears, in Tanzania particularly, in red opaque blobs or streaks in zoisite.The proper name for this mixed mineral is anyolite but, traditionally, it has been and continues to be sold (at a low price) as ruby-in-zoisite.

Whether or not a fraud has been committed is much harder to say - or prove. LC does not say what price he paid for the necklace (over 100 ct wt!). If he paid around 100 bucks, he got full value for his money. If he paid 1,000 bucks, he got a stupidly bad deal. If he paid 10,000 bucks or more, he may have a good complaint as to fraudulent selling and should talk to the DA.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2014 02:27PM by Owen Melfyn Lewis.
avatar
Doug Daniels December 18, 2014 04:51PM
As far as I remember, any red corundum (as long as it's colored by the Cr impurity) is ruby, whether gem quality or not. The stone shown above certainly isn't gem quality, and even I can tell it isn't cut very well (and I'm not a gem person). It's kinda like a sapphire I bought years ago for $5, since the ad said they were guaranteed to rise in value with time (I knew better, but wanted one just for the heck of it). Unfortunately, I got rid of it. Should have kept it - it might now be worth $6.
avatar
Owen Melfyn Lewis December 18, 2014 06:41PM
Doug Daniels Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As far as I remember, any red corundum (as long as
> it's colored by the Cr impurity) is ruby, whether
> gem quality or not.

That's the road to ruin and misselling - in the gem and jewellery trades any way. The nomenclature should should express important distinctions where there are such to be made. Red corundum has a value above standard abrasive only as it is one ornamental material used for carving in some places (mainly India/the global Indian community). The value of these pieces in in the intricacy and delicacy of the carving and not in the raw material. They would be as valuable if carved in pink granite - but India has *hillsides* of red corundum.

Red corundum is not 'ruby of commercial to fair grade'. *My* rubies are 'fair' grade, are obviously of gem grade (just) and have a value of about 40-50 bucks a carat. Commercial grade is maybe 10 bucks a carat. Extra fine grade, from Mogok, Myanmar? Say up to USD 30,000 per carat.

> The stone shown above
> certainly isn't gem quality, and even I can tell
> it isn't cut very well (and I'm not a gem person).
> It's kinda like a sapphire I bought years ago for
> $5, since the ad said they were guaranteed to rise
> in value with time (I knew better, but wanted one
> just for the heck of it). Unfortunately, I got
> rid of it. Should have kept it - it might now be
> worth $6.

If you want to buy really cheap and seriously good looking sapphire - buy a Verneuil process synthetic. Real corundum coloured by the exact Fe - Ti ion charge transfer process that nature used. Mohs 9. You can buy the rough (retail) in the US (made in Switzerland) for around a buck a gram and have it cut in Sri Lanka for about a buck a carat finished weight. Truly, its nice stuff. that, on the hand or round the neck, your dinner guests can't tell from the stuff at xxxx a carat. And it lasts forever.

Here's a pic of one. This pic is designed to highlight the one classic tell-tale in the Verneuil process stuff - curved growth lines in the crystal rather then straight lines. But, if having straight growth lines is worth xxxxx to you - you are very welcome grinning smiley P.S. There is more of this stuff for sale in high street jewellers than you would believe.... Gemmologists who say things like this have been known to be lynched or - at the very least - excommunicated. But there we are.....





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/19/2014 12:05AM by Owen Melfyn Lewis.
open | download - Verneuil Sapphire 002_03b.jpg (787.4 KB)
avatar
Owen Melfyn Lewis December 19, 2014 06:15PM
CR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> also, the "ruby" I bought is different than the
> one pictured on the "GLA Gemstone Summary" listed
> with the stone...
>
> Another oddity, the "evaluators" ('gemologists')
> are from differing organizations, one from GIA,
> and one from GLA.
> The auction for the emerald was over so quickly
> that as soon as I bid the auction was over; and of
> course it went from $1.00 initial bid to $1000.00
> within seconds! I didn't see that coming, nor
> would I have bid that on purpose.. it was, of
> course, the "GLA" 'gemologist' who fetched the
> HIGHEST and fasted bid of the two.
>
> Here's some more pics... of course I don't have
> the actual stones yet. I hope I never do at this
> point. I could find more interesting stuff in my
> back yard... and that's no joke. I have an AWESOME
> backyard! smiling smiley
>

CR,
Just took a look at your pics above. I do strongly suspect that what you have is not pure red corundum but something else. Ruby that is too flawed to sell in it own right is now filled and supported by a 'scaffolding' of lead glass filler. The glass can be used just as fracture filling or it can even be the major component in a glass/ruby composite stone.

The tell-tale is in your pics. At any boundary between two substances (say air and XXX), light is partially refracted and partially reflected. If XXX is of uniform composition the percentage of refraction vs reflection will be constant at all points, providing that the angle of incidence of the light remains constant. In your pics, we see surface areas where the refraction (light enter the specimen) is far less than the surrounding areas where most of the light is reflected off the surface. This suggests that the clearly defined and more refractive areas are glass and the surrounding areas *may* be low grade ruby, the whole being polished to an extent that only the softer glass 'puddles' acquires a highly polished finish.

There are *tons* of this manufactured composite material in the low end of the market every year. Some people want 'natural ruby' as a bargain basement price. Can't be done, of course, so they end up buying this evil dreck - for which the price is rising. At the Tuscon show, eleven months ago, it was fetching 10 bucks a carat for small stones, up from 1-2 bucks a carat five years or so ago.

Just from pics I can't be certain of what you have but the chances my thoughts are right are real good. If you really paid a grand for this, get a report on it from an *acredited* lab and go for the throats of both the seller and the certifier on the strength of the report you receive. Selling crap red corundum as ruby is one thing; selling glass (undisclosed) as ruby is quite another. if a glass compsite is what you have, your DA should also be interested. It looks like an 'open and shut' fraud.

Good luck!
avatar
Alfredo Petrov December 21, 2014 12:10AM
It looks like a typical opaque red corundum from India to me, right down to the typical metallic inclusions visible as polished blobs of the surface. There are tons of them available and polished slices, cabs, spheres, etc, and crystal "wands" polished at one end and natural on the other, are abundant at big mineral shows. Given the amount of such natural corundum available, cheaply, from India, why make a composite? Which is not to say that nobody does. But I think C.R.'s stuff is natural, just typical low-grade corundum from India.
avatar
Owen Melfyn Lewis December 21, 2014 01:55AM
Alfredo,

Look at the well polished 'windows' in the second pic where light enters and leaves the stone. They are randomly shaped and not complete facets and also seem quite transparent. This appearance is accounted for by the stone being a composite of two materials of different hardnesses and different refractive indices. What those materials are, only proper testing can say, but two substances is pretty certain, in my opinion.

Look too at the centre of the stone in the second pic. See any straight edged fragments in there? I do. The material is not opaque/near opaque as is untreated massive red corundum but translucent to transparent in parts.

The selling of 'ruby' (in particular) that is glass filled, some even to the point where glass may be more than half the volume became a major scandal about four years back, focusing on a class action against Macy's for selling it without disclosure of what it is. Large quantities are sold annually. Look for it in Tuscon next month and you will find it on sale, openly described for what it is. I have a reference piece of just over 1ct, bought (knowingly) from a street seller in Tucson last January for ten bucks (it could not be found for less last year). When new, it usually can't be distinguished (other than by testing) from ruby that has not been so treated but:
(1)The glass is easily scratched, chipped and even etched by common weak acids.
(2) It is often used not for fracture filling bit to fill large voids and even to hold together separate pieces of corundum, the whole being cut and polished as one stone. Such stuff is inherently fragile and may come apart in normal use.
(3) Unlike traditional and accepted minor fracture filling practices with oil or wax (not capable of use to stabilise a rotten and unsaleable grade of material) the glass treatment is permanent and cannot be removed.

Sadly, there is a place for selling this stuff to folk who want the ruby look (which opaque/semi-opaque red corundum can never give) but can't afford the price of good quality unreconstructed natural ruby. The responsible trade (FTC regs-compliant in the USA) insists that the stuff is now described as a composite stone.

Would be buyers of this stuff are better off in every way to buy decently cut Verneuil process synthetic ruby, as suggested in my previous post. But, in the US at least, trade protection in the gem trade backed by sympathetic FTC regulation has, for many years, cast synthetic gems in the role of the devil incarnate that, through implication is to be outcast as 'fake' 'imitation' and 'cheap look-alike'. None of which is true. Synthetic gems are as real, genuine and as good/better looking as any nature can offer. But in their place, the retail trade in the US and elsewhere find it preferable to offer their bargain-hunting gem buyers 'natural ruby composite' stones. It's an actual inversion of what good sales practice should be about, IMHO.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2014 02:21PM by Owen Melfyn Lewis.
avatar
LC December 21, 2014 11:57AM
CR,
Just unperform the bid.
avatar
Rock Currier December 22, 2014 03:41AM
It sort of reminds me of the original Barnum and Baley Museum in New York City. It was full of all sorts of freaks of nature, some of them even real. Sometimes the crowds, many of them tourists from rural areas would fill the museum to an uncomfortable level and what the management did to thin them out was to post a big sign with an arrow on it that pointed to a door. The sign said "this way to the egress". The rubs would of course want to see the egress and would go through the door which would shut behind them and was locked from the outside. The outside was the sidewalk on the city street. The egress was just what it said it was, namely an exit. What did your certificate say other than the absolute truth? How many others walked through the same door or got the same certificate? We all have one way or another.

Just take you lumps and keep your low grade gems with their certificate as a reminder of how you were suckered (as we all have been), and as a reminder that this is the way the world works and that there will always be a few people out there looking to screw you. Did you ever buy a used car from a used car dealer?

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar
K Drews July 08, 2015 09:15PM
The only reason they have named their "company" Gemological labs of America is so that it's close to Gemological Institute of America. They (GLA) are a total hoax. Gemological Institute of America on the other hand, is the #1 appraisal company in the USA and by using a name extremely similar, this fake company gains for customers, trust and $$$$$$$. They ought to be incarcerated for their lies and fake appraisals.
avatar
Rock Currier July 09, 2015 07:22AM
The GIA does not give an appraisal for value. They will however tell you is it is a real natural stone and often if it has been doctored in some fashon.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar
Sandy July 13, 2015 02:15AM
Hi there...this is a super interesting forum!

I just made my first online auction purchase and based on this thread, I likely may have been ripped off...but am grateful that my lesson was not as expensive as for other newbies!

I bought an aquamarine bead necklace from an auction called "Kingston Galleries" through the website Invaluable. It is my birthstone, and was an impulse buy. :)

I saw another bidder that was about to win it and my competitive spirit got the best of me! I think it is lovely and will wear it, but also a, wondering if I was crazy to pay what I did. The necklace cost me $250 for the bid, plus I think up to a 23% fee to the auction house and will be $25 shipping.

My GLA certificate actually gives a retail replacement value vs. a "not to exceed" value. Is that something I should feel relieved about?

I am posting photos...again I think it is truly in style and the color is very pretty...plus it is my birthstone so I like that...but should I have paid as much as I did?

Thanks and I love reading about all you folks know! Fun stuff!


avatar
David Von Bargen July 13, 2015 03:17AM
You probably overpaid a bit. The GLA price is the crazy, I got to have it, custom made locally price. Sort of like buying an automobile by buying all the parts locally and paying someone to put them all together.
" The Fair Market Value reported is the price that would be paid by the greatest number of willing buyers from willing sellers. Estimated Retail Replacement value can be defined as the maximum replacement cost of the item described on the card whereby the item would be custom made to replicate the item and gemstone would be replaced by a jeweler within the area appraised."

A similar piece (may not have facets?), but the size and quality of the beads seem to be alike.
http://www.firemountaingems.com/itemdetails/h20a2680cl
avatar
Bob Harman July 13, 2015 04:22AM
Just a few weeks ago another "winner" showed me, in person, her online purchase. The necklace was either plastic or a cheap unimportant stone. The "certificate" was meaningless and all the auction charges, fees and winning price when added together = an absurd ripoff. Folks that waste time watching this stuff on cable TV or looking at online sites in the first place deserve what they get. As has been stated many times previously "another sucker is born every minute!" CHEERS…….BOB
avatar
Owen Melfyn Lewis July 13, 2015 10:49AM
Hi Sandy,
First, may I say that I think you have a striking piece of costume jewellery that I'm sure will give you give you years of pleasure. Of course the aquamarine is only 'bead quality' and clouded, not clear as aquamarine of gem quality need to be. It's impossible to say from your pic but the likelihood is that the stones have been heated to change a greenish colour to the light blue that is all that most of today's market will buy as aquamarine.

You paid around 30 cents a carat which may be, as David said, a little too much but without seeing the stones under a glass and assessing the material and quality of the clasp, its not possible to be sure. You are probably 'in the ball-park' anyway.

When gem quality aquamarines are well made into a necklace with solid gold fixings, price at auction start at about USD 1,500 and can go as high as USD 6,000. Though I admit I prefer other gemstones, aquamarine has long been a fashionable gemstone and shows every sign of continuing so.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/13/2015 06:26PM by Owen Melfyn Lewis.
avatar
Sandy July 17, 2015 03:01AM
Thanks Owen, David and Bob!

I do hope of course it does not turn out to be plastic! I have learned a valuable lesson. I am not sure I would agree that anyone deserves to be swindled or misguided when spending their hard earned dollars, but certainly it is clear ow that buyers must check out their sources much more than I did prior to buying at auction! I fully acted on impulse, but I will happy if I end up with a pretty piece of costume jewelry as Owen has kindly stated. I know that no one I know has one just like it and I anticipate lots of compliments. :) I am pretty sure I will never delve into the online auction world again. C'est la vie!
avatar
Owen Melfyn Lewis July 17, 2015 10:46AM
You will know the moment it touches your skin whether the material is crystalline or plastic. Plastic at room temperature feels neutral to the touch, in terms of temperature. Crystals tested the same way (especially when cut and polished ) feel cold on first contact. By touching to ones lips, it's possible with just a little experience to get a fair indication whether glass or crystal.

The colour and translucency of the stones in your necklace seem right for that low-grade aquamarine that ends up in the bead market. I have a good net-friend who is a bead seller and, as a favour to her, I checked the authenticity of the labelling of some 50 or so type samples for her before she put the stuff up on her website. There were authenticity problems with about 20% of the type samples but her aquamarine was authentic - just low grade.

Don't give up on internet auctions - it's possible to make some good buys - but, if intending to spend big bucks, always check carefully what your rights are if what is sent to you has been materially misdescribed. Buy gems/jewellery direct from a good dealer and they will give you your money back 'no questions asked' if you return you purchase, typically within 14/30 days) Buy at auction and you never have a right to return a purchase simply because you don't like it. But, if it has been described as (say) rock crystal and it proves to be glass, then you should indeed expect your money back. Check the terms of sale carefully *before* any bidding. Some auction houses value their reputations highly but not all of them do.

You can end up spending quite a lot on having stuff properly checked if authenticity is a concern for you (it isn't to everyone). But it's much more satisfying to learn all about gem identification and, eventually to be able to check all your stuff fro yourself.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/26/2016 07:15AM by Owen Melfyn Lewis.
avatar
mmm May 25, 2016 09:59PM
I believe they can be sued for fraud, GLA, with the statue of limitations 5 years.
avatar
know1ukno June 23, 2016 07:18PM
I have been to these so-called Labs, and I believe they are schills for a few jewelry sellers. I h cert. from someone else, and they ave been collecting for over 35yrs., ,but just wanted a cert. from dealer, but they did not even do the little tests that most real jewelers know to do to verify.
Go to 550 S. Hill St. 12th floor, or FIA, but they are expensive now.
avatar
LFL November 17, 2016 06:42PM
Really like the postings before. Thank you for the education. I just bought a tourmaline necklace on line. What's the difference between pink tourmaline and rubilite? I found some website use it interchangeably. What ar the ways to enhance tourmaline to make it looks better, and therefore more than it worth?
avatar
Owen Melfyn Lewis November 17, 2016 07:14PM
LFL Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Really like the postings before. Thank you for the
> education. I just bought a tourmaline necklace
> on line. What's the difference between pink
> tourmaline and rubilite? I found some website use
> it interchangeably. What ar the ways to enhance
> tourmaline to make it looks better, and therefore
> more than it worth?

Rubellite is a gem name for a red to pink tourmaline crystal. Some, including me, think pink as a watery red.

For the story of tourmaline enhancement (and more), you need to do some serious reading. As a start. try a library for a copy of 'Gemstone Enhancement' by Dr Kurt Nassau.
avatar
LFL November 17, 2016 10:38PM
Sounds good. Thank you.
avatar
Alexander Ringel November 26, 2016 08:30AM
Red and Purple Tourmaline is very often irridated because this is the most expensive color. There is almost no simple way to detect this. When these tourmalines are still on a matrix of on quartz crystals, the quartz becomes often black.

http://www.mindat.org/forum.php?read,55,356304,357145
Your Email:


Spam prevention:
Please, enter the code that you see below in the input field. This is for blocking bots that try to post this form automatically. If the code is hard to read, then just try to guess it right. If you enter the wrong code, a new image is created and you get another chance to enter it right.
CAPTCHA
Your message:
Attachments:
  • Valid attachments: jpg, jpeg, gif, png, pdf
  • No file can be larger than 9.38 MB
  • 3 more file(s) can be attached to this message



bannerbannerbannerbannerbannerbanner
Mineral and/or Locality  
Mindat.org is an outreach project of the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Copyright © mindat.org and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2016, except where stated. Mindat.org relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.
Privacy Policy - Terms & Conditions - Contact Us Current server date and time: December 4, 2016 08:18:31
Go to top of page