The Funniest Things Heard at the Gem Show

The Funniest Things Heard at the Gem Show

The Funniest Things Heard at the Gem Show


Reasons to Be Very Very Careful When Buying From Unknown Gem Vendors


Our buying team has recently returned from a trip to one of the biggest gem shows in the world, where we bought many thousands of dollars worth of beautiful gem beads for your buying pleasure.  The shows we attend are only open to professionals in the industry, and they draw vendors and shoppers from all over the world.  You’d think, then, that everyone there would be educated about gems, completely honest and coming from a place of integrity.  Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.  We hear the craziest stuff at these shows. It’s important to do your own research, because you can’t always trust the people who are trying to get you to buy something.  Thankfully, when you shop with Bead World you can know we’ve done our very best to label every bead appropriately with accurate information.  But sometimes we’ve had to translate “sales speak” to the truth! Here are a few of our funniest (and scariest!) stories from the gem show:

You can just tell people it’s aquamarine! We were at a booth at a major gem show, looking at some beautiful strands of light blue semi-translucent gems.  Wondering if they were dyed jade or pressure treated celestite (sometimes called angelite), we asked the vendor what they were.  She said, “Angelite, I think. But it looks just like aquamarine.”  We said, “Yeah, it really does.  But we need to know what it actually is for our labels.”  She said, “You can just tell people it’s aquamarine! You can sell it for more that way!”  We said, “We don’t do that.  We would never do that.” She said, “People totally do that. Every day.”  SCARY!

fake malachite magnasite beads

Totally natural malachite!  At a recent show, we were looking for malachite beads, those naturally banded green beauties that we all love.  Bailey spotted a strand of malachite and asked for the price.  “$3.00 per strand,” came the answer.  “Um, is it real?” she asked, looking a lot more closely now.  “Yes, totally natural malachite.”  No. No no no no no.  Natural malachite 8mm round beads of good quality should retail for $60-$100.  Which means they should wholesale for AT LEAST six times the price she was quoting. The picture above is magansite dyed to look (sort of) like malachite.  Don’t fall prey to unscrupulous vendors!    Check out this article on how to differentiate real malachite from fakes!

blue topaz nuggets

This gem is natural, has never been dyed or treated! Okay, we’ve heard this from dozens of vendors, hundreds of times.  We’ve heard it in instances where the dye was actually rubbing off on our hands at the moment.  We’ve heard it in circumstances where we could SEE the mystic coating. We’ve heard it about colored stones that only exist due to heat treating, pressure treating or irradiation, like green amethyst, pink amethyst, some blue topaz tones and various shades of tourmaline.  Here’s the scoop, kids — unless you are laboratory trained, it’s virtually impossible to detect some of these treatments.  It’s okay to buy treated stones, as long as they are accurately represented and priced accordingly. But get out of there at the first sign of dishonesty!

large tanzanite rondelles

This is your last chance to get this stone.  It’s mined out.  Yes, there are some stones that are becoming more rare.  This does affect the price over time.  But I can tell you that we’ve been hearing about Sleeping Beauty turquoise, tanzanite, apatite and so many others that are “mined out” for over ten years.  The prices have slowly climbed, but we can still get the stones.  The stones pictured above were purchased more than 9 years after I was first told that we were running out of tanzanite.  Never feel pressured to buy gems right this moment because you’ll never see them again.  It’s simply not true.  You may pay a bit more later, but you’ll be able to find that gem again.  Basically, any time they try high pressure tactics, RUN!

This is natural blue rutilated quartz! Which doesn’t exist.  While there is some rutile that is blue, it’s extremely rare. Natural blue rutilated quartz beads would sell for hundreds of dollars per strand.  The strands in question were selling in the $3.00-$5.00 range. Nope. Oy! Buyer beware!

Bottom line: Buy gems you like, at prices with which you are comfortable.  Never let yourself feel pressured.  If it feels like something isn’t right, trust yourself! You know more than you think.  Just read up con the gems you love. (Google is your friend! So is your Bead World E-magazine!)  Shop from vendors and stores that you trust, and your gem buying experience will be lovely every time.

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4 comments on “The Funniest Things Heard at the Gem Show
  1. Melanie says:

    What a great article! I notice misinformed sellers all the time. My favorite is this turquoise that nooo one else carries. How is that possible if it’s a genuine stone? Keep up the great work!

  2. Kathy mcsparran says:

    How can I get notifications of your upcoming classes, especially in bead weaving? I am an e-mail and Pinterest person, but only check Facebook occasionally and never use Twitter or Instagram.

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