Are Gemstones Good Investments?
If you can buy stones at true wholesale values (if you can eliminate as many middlemen as possible), if you can be assured of getting what you pay for, if you are careful in picking high quality stones, if you are patient, if you can find ready buyers willing to pay somewhat more than wholesale but less than retail prices, if you are lucky, if you have a lot of knowledge about the stones and the marketplace, then you might make a handsome profit. If you are able to buy rough stones and cut them yourself, your chances are considerably improved. If you can deal in some volume rather than an occasional stone here and there, your chances are also improved.
Guidelines to investing in Gemstones
Buy the best stones you can find. If you like the color, clarity, and size of a stone but are less than excited about the cut, consider getting a good gemcutter to do some minor recutting to make a more attractive and unusual gem. Never buy stones encased in plastic. You must be able to examine a stone under magnification and to test its refractive index, specific gravity, and other characteristics so that you have a positive identification of the material.
Find a good gemologist whom you can trust to advise you about purchases. If your “gut” reaction to a gem salesman is negative, be very, very cautious. If you get an unsolicited “cold call” for gem investments, HANG UP! Just in case you didn’t get that message, let me repeat it: If you get an unsolicited “cold call” for gem investments, HANG UP! My own motto is “NEVER buy anything based on telephone solicitations.” Believe me, that can save you a bundle of money!
Learn as much as possible about gemology. Ignorance is very expensive.
Be patient. Top quality stones at reasonable prices are difficult to find, as are willing buyers of stones you wish to sell.
Take advantage of good opportunities. Many gemstones do not have steady supplies and appear in the marketplace only sporadically. A pocket of crystals is found on occasion and may temporarily “flood” the market, and then the supply dwindles until another deposit is found. A prime example of this is alexandrite — a good find in Brazil a few years ago temporarily released many new stones into the market, but supplies otherwise are scanty.
If you intend to use your gems in jewelry, be sure the jewelry is well made and designed to protect the stones and care properly for it, and be sure your jeweler is knowledgeable about the stones to be used. Don’t let some two-bit hack damage your stones through ignorance. Get an expert jeweler.
Take good care of the gemstones that you have. If you do somehow damage them, see if a good gemcutter can repair them.
Some gem “investment” dealers offer buy-back guarantees. Inquire carefully into their history and be skeptical of any promises, as very few of them hang around long enough to deliver on their promises. Remember — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Remember to do your research and look at the various choices and dealers available in the Gemstone markets.