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Fakes & FraudsLazurite Crystals for sale on eBay real deal?

23rd Aug 2019 07:44 UTCOwen Tolley

I noticed that there are some very cool lazurite specimens for sale on eBay on auction starting under $10 normally, but when I look at minfind, I see comparable specimens for sale from the Arkenstone etc. for hundreds and thousands of dollars. What’s the difference I don’t see, or are the eBay crystals another look-alike mineral?

23rd Aug 2019 14:22 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

It pays to do comparison shopping.

This reminds me of one of the Tucson shows several years ago.  I was looking at one of the high end mineral dealer's booth.  A German friend of mine walked up and asked "Are these prices or phone numbers?".

23rd Aug 2019 15:26 UTCThomas Lühr Expert

That's a good one Kevin :)

Greetings from Germany

23rd Aug 2019 16:53 UTCRichard Gibson

Welcome to MinDat. Without seeing exactly what you are comparing, it's impossible to really comment on specifics, but when I just looked at some cheap ebay lazurite vs some expensive Arkenstone examples, the differences were the usual: size, aesthetics, crystal nature, and most of all quality. One on ebay was a splash of ragged, fractured blue less than a cm across; one at Arkenstone was huge, well-formed deep blue crystals attractively poised on matrix. And there really is such a thing as "perfection premium" too. There have been MANY discussions here about pricing (search the forum).  I'm constantly seeing something and thinking "why is that so cheap /expensive?" Then - "oh, it's THAT big" or "oh it's really unusually gemmy" or "Ah, it's because it's from THAT locality" and such.  Also, be sure  the Ebay dealers know whether it's lazurite or lazulite - two different minerals. 

23rd Aug 2019 17:16 UTCOwen Tolley

Thanks. I understand, I guess my amateur eye is not so attune yet. Take for example these two specimens. Is the only difference sharpness and the fact that the top of one is either broken or poorly terminated? The size of the actual crystal is 2.4x2.5 for the less expensive and about 2 cm for the more so.

23rd Aug 2019 17:27 UTCRichard Gibson

Well, I promise I'm not especially attuned to some things either!  The big ding on the top is certainly a factor - is it enough to make the difference between $600 and $25? I dunno. Others have much more experience with purchases from Pakistan etc., maybe they will comment. 

23rd Aug 2019 19:25 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

I can tell you that I'm REALLY picky about any damage to a specimen.   I'll definitely spend a lot more for something that's perfect over a dinged crystal.

24th Aug 2019 00:57 UTCOwen Tolley

I was wondering though if the top of the crystal in question was even damaged or if that part of it just wasn’t as pretty as the rest?

24th Aug 2019 02:06 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

To me the ebay specimen looks damaged.

24th Aug 2019 03:47 UTCGareth Evans

I would only buy a specimen if it could be repaired or trimmed. However you can do some amazing things with a Dremel, some resin and a full pallet of colour matching dyes. Museums and some high-end dealers do it all the time. It is even possible to match the refractive index of some resins so cracks, veils and internal blemishes just disappear. Magic I say!!!!!!

24th Aug 2019 07:05 UTCOwen Tolley

Good to know, that’s kind of a scary thought. Still best to dig it yourself I suppose :). As for the Lazurite, however, I don’t see myself going to Afghanistan anytime soon.

30th Aug 2019 19:32 UTCNick Gilly

Some prices do seem to vary wildly. E.g. this ruby-in-matrix specimen thumbnail:

Here's one I bought that is slightly larger:

There's a smaller group of crystals round the back too. This one was a little over $80.

16th Sep 2019 22:17 UTCOwen Tolley

Is there any reason for the wild price on the first one, or is it just playing off those who haven't done their research?

7th Oct 2019 20:22 UTCNick Gilly

It could be because Wildfish Gems concentrate on high-end cut gemstones with high prices to match. With the sort of clientele that attracts perhaps they get customers willing to pay those sorts of prices for gem mineral specimens.
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