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Why Are Some Gemstones So Cheap? You Should Know This

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You might see some gemstones for sale through online vendors or elsewhere that may seem too cheap to be true. Given how expensive some gemstones are on the traditional market, there’s got to be a catch when you find such a good deal on gemstones, right?

Gemstones can be found cheaply online because the sellers can easily misrepresent the actual value of stones with their appearance and certifications. Online markets are full of cheap gemstones of questionable value since glass gems that are almost identical to real gemstones in a photograph can be created.

Gemstones can be found for reasonable prices online, but collectors must be careful not to get swindled. Read on to learn more about why gemstones are found so cheaply online and where you can get real gemstones of value for a good deal.

Why Are Some Gemstones So Cheap
Why Are Some Gemstones So Cheap

If you want to buy beautiful gemstones, you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).

Be Careful Buying Cheap Online Gemstones

Gemstones can be found cheaply online, tempting new collectors into risky purchases. If you see a buy that seems too good to be true, it is more than likely a scam. Because of the questionable value of some of the gems for sale, getting real gemstones online is always a gamble.

Many gemstone collectors, especially if they are collecting gemstones as a financial investment, may be drawn to the cheaper gemstones that can be found online or in bulk.

Investing in cheap gems may seem as good of an idea as buying stock when it is selling low, but gemstones are a much different financial commodity than stocks.

If you’re just interested in buying gems for jewelry making that won’t break the bank, cheap gemstones abound online. But if you want real, valuable gems for investment, it’s best to keep up your guard.

Reasons Gemstones Are Cheap Online

There are several reasons that gemstones may appear cheap online, and these reasons can trick buyers into purchasing a gem that is much different than the one they intended to buy.

Here are some of the ways that gems are misrepresented in cheap online sales:

  • Misrepresentation of color: Photography is a master illusionist’s trick, and a photograph of a gemstone can be altered to make it look brighter, more colorful, or more sparkling than it looks in real life. Many sellers will try to get around this by putting in some kind of disclaimer to the effect of, “The gemstone you receive may appear slightly different than the gemstone in the photograph.” Do not buy a gemstone based on a generic sales photograph.
  • Misrepresentation of size: While many online sites force sellers to put the physical dimensions of the stone for sale on the sales description, this information is often hidden amongst a lot of other diverting text, or the stone is not shown to scale against another object. This can lead buyers to end up with a stone that is much smaller than what they anticipated they had bought, especially if they have a hard time visualizing metric measurements.
  • Misrepresentation of real value: Some online auctions for gems may have fake gem certifications or falsely claim that a group of gems is “investment grade.” The truth is that there is no standardized investment grade—this is just a trading term for getting buyers to purchase cheap gems for investment purposes, and there’s no way to accurately determine whether a gem claimed as an investment grade is genuinely a good investment or not.

You would think that as long as online marketplaces have been around gemstone buyers and sellers would have figured out how to avoid the bad vendors online when it comes to cheap gemstones. However, gemstone-specific scams are rampant in the market.

But very few people know how to ID a gemstone or determine its real value correctly, so many people who purchase fraudulent gems online may be perfectly happy with their purchase and give the vendor a high rating, not knowing that the vendor ripped them off.

TIP: Turquoise is one of the most popular gemstones among rockhounds. Do you know what the real value of this beautiful gemstone is? Find it out in the article below:
3 Key Factors of Turquoise Value: Is It Worth Any Money?

What Are Investment Grade Gemstones and Can You Find Them Cheap?

One piece of trader’s description from online vendors that might trick buyers into accidentally purchasing cheap gemstones of little value is the term “investment grade.”

While this might try to persuade buyers that the gemstones they are buying cheaply are still worth spending money on, the reality is that “investment grade” is a commercial term that means very little in the open market.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) frowns on using the term investment grade to describe gemstones, and there is no valid certification that guarantees a gem you purchase sold as “investment grade” will hold any kind of investment value.

Here is what you’re often purchasing when you buy most gems cheaply at online vendors:

  • Gems that are faulted or flawed in some way
  • Rough or loose gems of poor to mediocre quality
  • Synthetic gems
  • Gems that have been misidentified

Many of the gems sold online as loose gems are far too small and too low in quality to be considered a good investment.

While these gems might perform beautifully in a piece of homemade jewelry, investors should stick to larger, rare stones for investment purposes.

Quality gemstones can be purchased online, but finding them means more skepticism and careful comparison shopping than clicking on the first pretty gemstone photograph you see and like.

You may end up with gems you enjoy that way, especially if you’re only interested in them for crafting or casual collecting, but they may have very little real value past what you paid for them.

TIP: Geodes are one of the most common gemstones that can be found in the US. Find out if geodes are valuable rocks in the article below (and you will find you may own some fortune at home already):
The Value of Geodes: Are They Worth Anything?

Should You Invest in Colored Gemstones?

Colored gemstones, especially colored diamonds, can be a good investment if you want to invest in gemstones. Unlike stocks or other financial commodities, gemstones tend to hold their value and can be sold off quickly in most circumstances if they need to be liquidated.

Humanity has sought precious gems for thousands of years, and in almost all cases, the demand for them far exceeds the supply.

If you want to buy gemstones for investment, buying them cheaply online is not a good idea. It’s too difficult to grade the quality of these gems before purchase, and it’s too difficult to return them in most cases (or impossible, depending on the seller’s policies) should you be disappointed with your purchase or find out that the gem is fraudulent.

Most of the gems you find online for cheap are not what would be considered investment-grade gemstones, and many may not be gems but pieces of colored glass.

Since the average person cannot tell the difference between a sapphire and a piece of dark blue glass that has been beautifully faceted, this allows unscrupulous merchants to get away with a lot of false advertising.

However, if you’re just a rockhound looking to expand your collection, you can get an excellent deal on semiprecious stones to round out your rocks online, provided you’re willing to look around a bit and ensure that the vendor you’re dealing with has a good reputation.

BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):

Buying Cheap Gemstones Is A Risky Decision

Unless you’re a professional jeweler with a loupe and a trained eye, it’s always a risk to purchase high-value gemstones on the cheap open market online.

However, many semiprecious gemstones that are of fair to high quality can be found online, and these are a much safer purchase for collecting.

Stick to physical markets if you want to buy valuable, rare gems. But if you want to get a good deal on a semiprecious stone, plenty can be found.

TIP: So you already know why some gemstones are so cheap. But do you know how to recognize valuable rocks and minerals? I wrote a complete guide on this topic, so feel free to read it here:
6 Signs That a Rock Is Valuable + Examples & Location Tips