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Articles from GEMSTONES - LOOSE (254 Articles), GEMSTONES - SYNTHETIC (54 Articles)

Market myths and misconceptions

There are many myths and misconceptions in the gem and jewellery world. Some are found on the internet, some have bizarre origins in history and some, unfortunately, are believed even by people in the industry. Here are a few of the more common ones.
Everyone's heard the story before: A customer will say, "I bought this ruby from a guy in India who said it came from his cousin’s own mine. He promised me it’s natural and that I could even sell it back home for a big profit."

The perception is that great bargains exist "at the source", and that folks there are always willing to sell things for far less than what they’re worth.

At first glance it might look like a good deal, but usually a closer look will reveal why the gem is priced so cheaply – often the gem is a synthetic and worth many times less than its natural counterpart.

It might even be an imitation, such as garnet being sold as ruby, or it might indeed be an authentic and natural gem that has undergone treatment, such as dyeing jade to give a richer colour. Such treatments devalue stones.

Old gems must be natural gems

This is a very common scenario. A customer walks in to a jewellery store with a family heirloom thinking the piece must be valuable just because it is old.

"It’s too old to be a fake," they often say, but paste (glass) was used frequently in Victorian and early-20th-century jewellery to make the items more affordable – in fact, paste dates back as early as the 16th century.

There are also plenty of cases where the real gems were sold and replaced with cheaper ones during hard times, and never disclosed.
Synthetic gems have been commercially available since the late 19th century and an antique alexandrite ring might instead contain a synthetic corundum imitation.

Diamonds are unbreakable
This one's simple. No gem is unbreakable. Diamonds have a physical characteristic called a cleavage plane and will split, break or shatter when hit at the right angle. All gems, even diamonds, are not immune from damage and need a level of care when being worn.

Sapphires = blue, diamonds = white.

Sapphire comes in many colours – pink, purple, black, yellow, orange, blue and even white or colourless.

Sapphire can occur as "parti-coloured", where there are two colours in the one stone. When the stones are red, they are known as rubies.
Diamonds are also found in more than one colour, including yellow, brown (cognac), pink, green and blue. These diamonds are referred to as "fancy colour" diamonds.

Other gem varieties, such as garnets, spinels, zircon and tourmaline also occur in more than one colour.

Something should not be considered unreal just because a retailer may not have seen it before – there are such things as green garnets.
The above is only a small sample. Many more myths and misconceptions abound (when did opals become bad luck?).

Are all types of gems suitable for all types of jewellery? What’s a Biron emerald? (not from Byron Bay!) Can gems really ward off sickness?
Bottom line: it pays to be armed with the right knowledge, especially when trying to win the trust of the customer.

Ellendale Diamonds Australia

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