I find, too, there is “a thousand ways to fall” in regards to scams and shades of dishonesty and in the gemstone trade…
Without own proper knowledge, I sent out reputable high-end dealers in Asia to certification labs, only for them to come back looking down into the floor.
Speaking of; I see some certificates stating for example “Natural ruby” blahblahblah, and a small remark GF somewhere… now, of course we know what that means, but if you didnt you would belive it was much more valuable than it is.
I often see reputable jewelers without proper knowledge, charging top dollar for stones that is at best crap - even though they source from Switzerland etc… Of course, its not intentional, its just because they lack knowledge in gemology.
My passion for gemstones have made me decide to study this amazing world of gemology and faceting arts for a minimum of 5-10years (probably for the rest of my life)… But im early retired at 40+ with background in tech&mech R&D, as well as product design, so im probably far more interested in the technical aspects to my gemstone collection than most would be.
I wont buy faceted stones anymore without bringing my suitcase of equipment first, but i still buy unchecked rough occasionally online etc.
If its not what expected, it goes to the box “synthetics”, “heat treated” or whatever it falls under.
If its full of inclusions, more that the pictures or statements, its a true treasure chest for my study and future microscope photography hobby, and will be stored in a box with location/source data as precise as possible…
Now, I have no intention or reason to sell/resell gemstones - so it doesn’t matter much with the “scams” i have encountered buying gemstone… the lessons are more valuable than the loss for me in that regard. Painful lessons can be valuable!
The ancient Roman philosopher Seneca two thousand years ago stated:
“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”
Oh well, that was off-topic!
Im just beginning myself, but for everything new I learn, I realize I know so little.
IGS is a truly amazing place to start learning. I think never in my life i`ve seen so much available direct knowledge to such a low cost… Anyway, lets not make my gratitude make me emotional.
My only one take-home here is this:
If you are serious about collecting gemstones, spend significant amount of time everyday to learn as much as you can of gemology, faceting, the trade&market and everything around it. When your knowledge is huge, experience is big, and toolbox is respectable, I think you don`t have too worry too much about scams in obvious forms. If anyone can trick you then, the lesson will be a valuable gem in itself.
If not becoming a life-long student to ones passion, maybe its better doing something else?