Buying gemstones online can be a real gamble, especially if you’re new to buying gemstones. At Laterra Gems, we take gemstones seriously and believe that you should always buy your gemstones from a reputable source. Keep reading to find out if it’s safe to buy gemstones online!
You Don’t Know What You’re Getting
There are many shady dealers out there who will sell you a gemstone at an inflated price, claiming it is high quality. The only way to guard against this is to educate yourself about the quality of gemstones before you buy them and to shop around for reputable dealers.
The four most important criteria for evaluating quality in gemstones are known as the 4 Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. These same criteria should be included in any product description on a website when you’re buying a gemstone online; if they’re not there, look elsewhere. For example, cut refers not only to the shape of the stone (e.g., oval or square), but also to its proportion (how even its dimensions are) and its symmetry (how perfectly aligned its facets are).
There Is No Consumer Protection
Gemstones are just like any other product: if you are making a purchase, you deserve to know that what you are buying is safe. However, when it comes to online shopping, there is no guarantee that the retailer will be held accountable for their actions. Some retailers may be required to abide by certain rules and guidelines due to location; others may not be held responsible if they lie about your product’s qualities.
It’s important for consumers to do their research before purchasing any type of gemstone from an online retailer. There are a few common questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase:
- Does this company have a physical store?
- Does this gemstone have any possible negative side effects?
It’s Hard to Verify Gemstone Quality
How does online shopping for gemstones compare to buying them in a brick-and-mortar store? That largely depends on the retailer and how much you trust their product descriptions. It’s hard to verify the quality of what you’re buying without having it in your hands, and many online retailers use shoddy terminology—like “diamond” instead of “zirconia”—to make less valuable stones sound fancier than they actually are. Gemstones are also often misrepresented: even if a stone is natural (not synthetic), it may be treated or enhanced to look better than one that isn’t, making it difficult to determine its true value.
These factors make reputable sellers extremely important when you’re browsing a website for gemstones.
Retailers Can Get Away With Mishandling Gemstones
- You run the risk of buying from a retailer with minimal expertise and/or poor credentials.
- You have no way of knowing how the gemstones you’re buying have been treated, if at all.
- You can’t be certain that the retailer has chosen to label the gemstones properly or that they aren’t misrepresenting their type (e.g., a glass-filled sapphire may be mislabeled as an unenhanced natural sapphire).
- There is no way to assess how the gemstones themselves were handled by the retailer or how they were stored prior to being bought.
You are taking a huge gamble when you buy gemstones online.
Many online retailers are reputable, but some aren’t. Do your research before you buy
The good news is that gemstones are nowhere near as difficult to purchase online as they were when e-commerce was in its infancy. Still, there are lots of potential pitfalls, so it’s important to do some research before you buy. For example, the Internet makes it far easier for fraudsters to pass off synthetics or imitations as the real thing—and they will take your money and run if you don’t know what you’re looking for.