Buying loose gemstones has many advantages. Loose gemstones are considered to be any precious, or semiprecious stone that is cut and polished, but not fixed to a piece of jewelry. They are ideal if you want to have a piece of custom jewelry made, or if you work in the jewelry making industry.
The Internet is by far the easiest place to buy loose gemstones. There are other options like trade shows, but these involve the expense of traveling, and while you are sure to find quality stones at them, you might not always find quantity.
Five Tips for Buying Loose Gemstones
Of course, the Internet comes with its own set of restrictions. You may have already used it to purchase loose gemstones, and you may have had some mixed results. It is hard to always know what you are getting, but there are a few ways to make sure that your vendor is reputable, and that your stones are of the highest quality and the best value.
1. Research the Vendor
Image by katemangostar via Freepik
Any online vendor is sure to make themselves look reputable. They may have a fancy site, great photographs, and some really catchy blurbs. But, it isn’t what they say about themselves that is important.
To make sure that a vendor is reputable, find out what other people are saying about them. Look for independent online reviews or message boards dedicated to gemstone buyers.
By reading what other people say about a vendor you can get a feel for the kind of quality and service they provide, and you can be sure that if previous consumers have felt scammed or cheated, they will let the Internet know. Usually in all-caps.
You can also search the Better Business Bureau to make sure that the company you are dealing with is accredited, and that it has a good customer record.
2. Look for Vendors With Physical Stores
This is good to keep in mind when buying anything online. If there is a physical location, a brick and mortar store, there is often more accountability. Online retailers can operate in a more fly-by-night way than a brick and mortar store can. After all, you can’t show up at a website and demand service, or answers, but you can at a store.
Having a physical store to turn to is great not only to keep the vendor accountable for the gemstones, but it also means you have a place to turn to for questions, concerns, or cleaning. If an online retailer sells you loose gemstones, their physical store is usually more than happy to provide cleaning when necessary.
3. Look For Authentic Photos
It is easy for vendors to put up stock images of loose gemstones, which means that they are not always providing an accurate representation of what you are getting. You don’t want to see a standard photo of what the gemstones you are interested in look like in general. You want to see what the actual gemstones you are purchasing look like.
To help avoid getting swindled by stock photos you can do a quick Google image search for the particular gemstones you are looking for. If you notice that the image your vendor uses pops up in multiple places that may be a red flag.
If the vendor seems reputable otherwise, you might try emailing them for more detailed information or a raw photograph.
4. Make Sure There is a Return Policy
A good rule of thumb for buying loose gemstones online is to make sure that you are able to return them if you are not satisfied. In fact, you should probably never buy any loose gemstones that don’t have a money back guarantee. This is because you should have the right to inspect your merchandise and ensure that it meets your own high-quality standards.
If you are buying loose gemstones for your own business, then you need to make sure your supplies will satisfy your own customers. Because you cannot use stones with impurities and imperfections, you need to make sure that you can return stones that are unusable for your business.
5. Look For Positive Affiliation
Image by starline via Freepik
Jewelers who deal in loose gemstones are often members of several gemstone organizations. If you can find on their website that the vendor is connected with an organization like the Jeweler’s of America, then you can be rest-assured that you are dealing with a reputable company.
These kinds of associations mean that there is another organization keeping tabs on quality, so that you can worry less.
Find Quality Gemstones Online
Buying loose gemstones online is easy. You can do it from the convenience of your home, you can buy in bulk for your business, and you don’t have to spend extra money traveling to stores and conventions.
The hard part of it is making sure that what you see is what you get, but as long as you do a little research on your vendor and follow these tips, you’ll have gorgeous gemstones delivered right to your door without any headache or hassle.