Buying gemstones on vacation

Rubies from a vacation in India, sapphires from Sri Lanka or lapis lazuli from Turkey – many gemstone and jewelry lovers like to buy gemstones or even jewelry with gemstones directly in the countries of origin while on vacation. Often these are advertised as a bargain or particularly favorable opportunity, but when examined by jewelers and gemologists at home, it usually turns out afterwards that the item was overpriced. Gemstones from vacation are therefore suitable as souvenirs, but when buying high quality gemstones, especially in investment quality, it is better to trust experts at home.

Authenticity and origin are difficult to verify

Counterfeiting happens – but is a much bigger problem when buying gold and jewelry abroad than with gemstones. First and foremost, it is difficult to check the quality of gemstones when buying them on vacation, even if they are genuine. Laymen cannot determine for themselves what treatments the gemstones have undergone, whether the stones have been fired, for example, to improve their purity. In general, the quality can be determined according to international criteria only by recognized laboratories and gemologists. Also, only an expert can determine whether the stated locality is correct, for example, by looking at inclusions typical of the locality.

Dealers abroad often meet the doubt with certificates issued by them. Internationally recognized certificates, however, come from renowned gemological laboratories. In the case of colored gemstones, Swiss certificates, such as those issued by the Swiss Foundation for Gemstone Research (SSEF), Swiss Research Gemlab (GRS) or Dunaigre, have the best international reputation. Only an internationally recognized certificate ensures the value and is also crucial for reselling a gemstone.

Advantages of buying gemstones at a trusted dealer at home

What speaks in favor of buying from gemstone dealers at home is that they offer professional expertise, internationally recognized certificates and reputable advice. In addition, when buying gemstones, you should allow enough time to compare prices and offers. Reputable dealers also offer to buy back gemstones and they provide advice and support on storing gemstones. Especially when buying in the high-price segment, it is therefore better to trust expertise and experience instead of cheap offers and opportunities.

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Dr. Thomas Schröck
The Author:

Dr. Thomas Schröck

The founder and managing partner of THE NATURAL GEM has been active in international gemstone trading for 30 years. As a doctor of economics and a certified gemmologist in Switzerland, Germany and the USA, among other countries, he is one of Europe’s leading experts on naturally-coloured, untreated gemstones and investments in them.

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