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Fake emeralds, with fake lab certification

My first time on here, so be gentle. Does any organization publish a list, or any sort of information regarding which gemological labs are legitimate businesses? I’m not asking which ones do the best work, or have the best standards, but rather which ones do, or do not issue completely phony certificates. Three cases to illustrate.

This is the certificate that came with a 34.8 ct piece of fractured quartz that was literally dripping green oily dye, and some sort of perfume. I paid $31 for it long ago, and I keep it as a reminder that you get what you pay for. What troubled me most was the certificate.

Then yesterday, a neighbor who knows I facet gemstones, especially emeralds, came to me and said he has a friend who invests in emeralds. He said the friend has decided to sell some of them, so he sent two stones along with their lab certification for me to check out. Here they are.

Other than the color being a little pale, and several facet lines that didn’t meet, they were perfect! Far too perfect. I asked if I could keep them overnight to check them more thoroughly, and that’s what I did.

I first checked the specific gravity, with both stones measuring 2.465 against my control emerald which measured 2.71. Next I used a piece of clear quartz that was shiny from tumbling to conduct a quick scratch test. My emerald easily scratched the quartz, but the other two pieces wouldn’t begin to scratch it, and in fact, the sharp corner along the girdle of the fake emerald was quickly worn away in attempting to scratch the quartz.

I didn’t feel I needed to test any further. I’m not positive what the stones are, but I know they aren’t emerald, or even green beryl. I suspect, based on that specific gravity, that they are worthless green glass. At least that’s what I’m going to report to my neighbor.

I tried very hard to find information on the geological Institute of excellence. There were several Internet hits, which were all positive reviews, but as I looked into them, they were all published by the company itself. Every case I’ve found of labs calling something natural emerald, or natural Ruby, when it was nothing more than a worthless rock, originated in India. All of this bothers me immensely! I dread reporting to this man who has invested in emeralds, that his investments are worthless. Is there anything we can do to expose these crooks, or is the best we can do to remain buyer beware?

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Wow! Sorry to hear that.

I’m not aware of any such lists. It is a case of buyer beware.

I think you’ve already arrived at a verdict, but here are some more tips:

  1. Go to whois.icann.org to find out more about the website owner. A legitimate business website is usually completely transparent with ownership.You can also see when the domain was registered, and a bit of other basic information that may confirm your gut instinct.

  2. Take a look at the website content. Is it finished? Does it seem legitimate? Can the website name be easily confused with a reputable service provider in the same industry?

  3. If they make a claim about complying with a regulatory body e.g. ISO in this instance, you can usually investigate that further. BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) is a member of ISO, found here: https://www.iso.org/member/1794.html

Hope this helps!

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My first clue is…any lab out of India needs to be checked and closely! Most of them are fly by night or just fake! I try not to buy anything from India since I have been all 3 times I purchased from there in the past.
All the best in your hunting adventures.
Otter

I noticed that the first one states under treatment “color enhanced” which means dyed. The other two under treatment say “treated”, which may mean anything - dye, heat, etc. The certificate is only as good as the organization issuing it, but we also need to read the information carefully. That information should have been available before you bought it. You need to look carefully at what treatments gemstones have received, although I think it is also a stretch for the dealer to call it natural emerald if it has received any kind of treatment, they may be differentiating it from lab grown.

Notice all three certificates have the same dragon logo on them.

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I got tricked by the same seller and GIE has got to be fake cause I sent one of mine to GIA AND CAME BACK GLASS. I reported this plus my expenses to ebay over 2 weeks ago and NOTHING BACK! The seller brags he’s sold over 146 pairs already.
Makes me angry when we treat our customers honestly and then this happens to you.
This outfit I believe is situated in INDIA but the mailer
Came from a city in Germany I do not recognize. They also sell FAKE (glass) sapphires——BEWARE

Buyers beware, a few points come to mind from this discussion:

  1. There are a number of very large and very well respected international gem identification laboratories including the most well known, GIA, which has labs all over the world. This is not to say that small labs are not credible.
  2. Gem stone reporting is a subjective art and there will always be room for dispute among differing labs, for example, who decides what the color is, the quality of cut, the grade or the treatment nomenclature. There is in fact no set standard for these criteria. Some labs follow the GIA standards and some labs have their own standards.
  3. Always read the fine print for the standards used and disclaimers
  4. Do not conduct destructive self analysis on stones that you do not own as that will make you liable to someone else for the damage and may void the original certificate.
  5. It would be preferable to purchase stones carrying certificates from the country you are domiciled in as many countries have consumer protection laws in place to deal with misleading and deceptive conduct and will be much easier and cheaper to pursue an action. But the above points should be borne in mind and you would likely need a number of independent reports to the contrary of the suspect report.
    Cheers
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Don’t feel dumb, that is a REALLY GOOD LOOKING FAKE CERTIFICATE!

Between the QR code and foil sticker, it looks pretty ‘real’ to me.

There are ‘real’ certs that look MUCH more ‘fake’ than this.

Anyway, best bet is to look around, figure out labs you trust (GIA/IGI/AGS etc.) and go with those ones.

BUT, and this is a MASSIVE BUT!!! People also make fake GIA/IGI/AGS reports…

Sorry, I wish all this BS didn’t happen!

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Global Gems sell some beautiful and authentic stones AND certificates.
Obviously EVERY corner in life will have its copycats AND fakers.
Yes notice the Dragon on all three top left. Obviously somewhere along the line these FAKERS are linked, or the same Faker.
Please also notice that none of these certs have Authorization Signatures. One way of differentiating between the real and the fake.

It is sad that we even have to have this discussion, BUT it is a serious problem and all of in the business have to do all we can to educate our customers to be extremely cautious with whom they are going to spend their money. I have been in the business since 1978 and have seen this problem many times.

I went to the www.gielabs.com website and the very opening page throws up a big “red flag” to me. Here’s what they say about themselves:

"GIE Labs is one of the dedicated lab to the continuous improvement of the Gems & Jewellery Industry by providing the best possible services. GIE Laboratory was established in the interest to protect consumer & trader’s trust in Gemstone’s Industry, as in recent years the popularity of many Gemstones has reached to a next level due to its medicinal and other benefits thus the frauds, cheatings, treatments and modification with faces of Gemstones have also reached to new scales.

To protect the consumer’s trust and to help a trader to communicate the right details with each piece they sell. GIE Laboratory was established in Jaipur by an expert of alternative medicines and passionately working with Gemstones for more than a decade. In his stint with Gemstones, he has identified many benefits of Gemstones and the unique ways to identify and grade Gemstones without any destructive test."

The above is simply copied and pasted with no editing except the addition of the quotation marks. Sorry, but this would have told me to “Run, don’t walk to the nearest exit.”

It has been and probably always will be a “buyer beware” market. Crooks will do anything to take your money in any market, not just jewelry or gemstones.
Dick Slechter, Sr.

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Also, it has to be said and I have to add this.
A certificate without a signature at the same time, will not always prove that certificate OR that Gemstone to be fake either.
As always, if in doubt, get a second opinion and certificate.
Most basic certificates do and or should, state whether the Gemstone is Natural or Synthetic etc and whether the Gemstone has been heated or treated in any way. As well as the colour cut weight and dimension of course. Also, note that the company disclaimers state that the information on the certificate provided, is of the findings and opinion of the gemologists at the time of grading and registering.
I have to say and I reiterate that the Gemstones and Synthetic Stones that I have purchased from these dealers, have been very beautiful and very true to the certificate confirmation.
I personally have no issue to date with any of my purchases from GlobalGems dealers or any of the other dealers I have bought from. No, I can say that I am happy to date.

What has been said to me also in the past, is…
" that to judge a gem by the eye and the heart is of the most part."
One I always remember before scrutinizing the certificates for possible fraud. : ))

It is very sad to say, but all the stones that I saw with the certificates of these laboratories were fakes. Alas, we need to think about the ethics of sellers.

You actually performed a scratch test on someone else’s cut gemstone until “the sharp corner was quickly worn away in attempting to scratch the quartz.” Oh my, you shouldn’t do that ever. An emerald that size would be hugely included, so no test was required. But before you use destructive testing techniques on other peoples stones, you should send to the GIA for a report.

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GIA reports cannot be faked, that is if the buyer takes the time to look up the report on gia.edu where they have each report available for anyone to look at for free. You just type in the number off of the report and compare.

I can appreciate your concerns, however after two conclusive non destructive tests proved the stone wasn’t emerald, neither the owner or myself felt the need to pay GIA to tell us it was worthless. I think that’s called throwing good money after bad. The destructive test was done with approval, and only as a final, indisputable check of what by then we knew was a fake. GIA is a fantastic, and trusted resource, but so is common sense.

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My grandfather told me once, “If it looks too good to be true, then it is.”. I believe it! I always look for a flawed stone or at least a slightly flawed stone first. Absolutely perfect stones have no character. Always buy from a reputable dealer and know the lab that has tested the stone.
Simple. I have some awesome fakes in my collection with fake certificates just to teach my clients. It’s so funny that they want to buy those stones right off the bat. When I explain to them that these are glass with fake certificates the are mad as all get out. They are so happy to have a stone that my have a tiny flaw in it that may identify it some day. I let them know that it’s unique and can only be seen with an aid. New story. Some truly want one that they CAN see a flaw, feather or bubble in. They say it’s a siguniture. Salt and pepper diamonds are hot in my area right now and harder to fake.
All the very best.
Otter

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I had someone downloading GIA certs from my website, printing and laminating them and then selling synthetic gems with the real certificates.

If you look it up online, the certificate looks real.

Apparently it had been going on at least about six months before I found out about it and only ever did find out about it because someone contacted me asking if an Alexandrite I had was ‘really mine’, I sent him a video of me and the gem at the same time, but, the fact that mine was $15k and the other guy’s was $500 was probably a tip as to who had the real stone.

All I can say is Wow.

That is horrible! I feel bad for the poor people that bought the fakes and now your name will be tarnished in some people’s eyes. I do hope the thieves get caught! What can be done to them once they are caught? It is fraud, theft, possibly and identity theft. If it crosses international lines that makes it an entire new ball of wax. Wow I can think of a few more law they broke. The old attorney coming out in me. It’s nice to be retired. Let us know how it all comes out.
All the very best!
Otter