After looking lately at several posts requesting valuations on “gemstones” which, in the OP’s opinion are valuable treasures, I am posting this guide in self defense. Perhaps it is naive to expect that anyone will read this and follow any instructions, but…
In order to make money in gemstones, you first need to know gemology, so that you can be sure that the stones you buy really are natural, perhaps untreated, etc. You don’t need a $4000 certificate or any certificate at all, really, altho’ they are nice to have, but you do need to study the books and have the equipment to identify typical gemstones. This will take most people a while, perhaps a year or two. There are even a few free gemology courses on line which will help a good deal. The equipment you need, a loupe, perhaps a microscope, a dichroscope, diffraction grating spectorscope, refractometer, immersion fluid and a few filters, need not cost you more than $300 to $500.
Once you have some gemology education, you will need to purchase some gemstones, maybe just cheap stuff, and identify them and evaluate them. You’ll learn a lot about inclusions, colors, characteristics, etc. You’ll also need to do a lot of looking at gems for sale and at gem price guides…if nothing else, you can look at the free portions of gemval.com and see how inclusions and cut quality, etc. impacts valuation. Run some comparison mock appraisals. You can’t buy and sell gems confidently unless you know what is worth (lots of) money and what is not. Is a red garnet expensive? Is an included ruby worth money? An included emerald? Would you make money buying and selling amethyst? Peridot? Tourmaline? Spinel? You need to know the answers to these questions and many more. What is prime color sapphire? What color sapphire isn’t worth much? What size does a gem have to be to net you some money? And so on.
What you do not do if you want to make money in gems is:
- Accept a seller’s valuation of his products.
- Believe what you see on the envelope containing a gem found at your Aunt Hattie’s estate sale.
- Buy gems before you have “done your homework” as detailed above.
4, Think that if something is too good to be true, it still is.
Most of the people making money in gemstones are cutters or long time dealers with access to stones in their country of origin or in the worldwide cutting centers abroad (from the USA and UK). They have incredible knowledge and a marketing presence that brings them buyers. They have the cash to buy in bulk at great discounts to the prices you will be offered for one or a few pieces. If you are to compete with them, you may have to accept a lower rat of return and do a lot of looking to find the rare good deal. Such is not for the faint of heart.
If, after reading all this, you still want to make money in gemstones, good luck! If you just went to work at Walmart instead of putting in the hours of work you’ll need to succeed, in the end you’d probably be ahead…but some with a passion for gems and a lot of energy will do it anyway. It isn’t impossible, it’s just difficult!