How to Spot Fake Gemstone Sellers on eBay and Other Gem Selling Auction Sites

EBay is rife with fake gemstone sellers.   But they are not alone.  Other gemstone auction sites such as Gem Rock Auctions, and others host shifty peddlers, often unbeknownst to a few oblivious site owners.  Although some sites claim to police the legitimacy of their sales, buying gemstones online will always carry risk.  Any gemstone auction site that allows independent sellers is susceptible to fraud.  Unless one has an established relationship with a reliable seller, online gemstone buying via auction can be quickly turn into financial disaster.  Although one may file a claim with eBay and receive their money back on a fake stone, eBay rarely takes action to remove the shifty seller.  There are literally dozens of gemstone sellers who have poor feedback alerting buyers to the sellers’ scams, but they continue to sell with impunity.

Technical innovations in the production of fake gemstones has made it much easier for fraudsters to present well-made glass look-a-likes as the real deal.  For the purposes of this article we will not attempt to differentiate between “lab grown” and “lab created” gemstones.  Although, manufacturers of lab grown diamonds and other gemstones are adamant that their products are in fact “real” gemstones due chemical composition and the barely indistinguishable and minute differences in appearance of inclusions, both will be considered fakes for the purposes of this article.   The good news is that the diamond industry has carefully calculated “green” marketing campaigns to push lab grown diamonds on delusional millennials in order to convince them that a pressure cooked “diamond” is just as good as the real deal and one should feel far superior for having spent $1500 per carat on something that cost $30 to manufacture as one is “saving the planet” in the process.  Therefore, most lab grown diamonds and gemstones are clearly indicated in the descriptions should one care to read the listing details.  But that’s a story for another day.

Just keep in mind that Lab Grown gemstones are readily available to those wishing to pull a fast one on the gemstone buying public.  For instance, TAIRUS is in the business of manufacturing gemstones.  Their website is good place to start should one wish to further their education as to the possibilities.

No stone is safe from the fakers.  We know that lab grown emeralds and lab grown rubies have been around since the turn of the 20th Century and the Russians and Japanese have been producing fake sapphires and fake Amethyst since the 1940s.  Click here to read A Brief History of Lab-Grown Diamonds. Click here to read a brief history of Lab Created Gemstones.  More detailed information is available for those with an inquisitive mind.

The best way to spot sellers of fake gemstones on eBay and other sites is to look carefully at the pricing.  Legitimate gemstone pricing is well established and bench-mark pricing can be found on the websites of legitimate sellers backing their product up with certificates of authenticity from GIA and other trusted testing laboratories specializing in the  the identification of diamonds and gemstones.

On eBay, I have spotted 5 carat Tsavorite garnets selling for as low as $15.00.  This is an obvious fraud to the experienced gemstone buyer.  Tsvaorite garnets are rare above 2 carats and legitimate pricing will start in the thousands of dollars.  Many of the fake sellers are based in India and Thailand.  Others are based right here in the United States.

The Golden Rule of Gemstone Buying:

Rare gemstones generally do not sell for bargain basement prices.  Occasionally, an uneducated fool with a recently acquired inheritance may show up to the market place not knowing the high value of the stone they are selling, but rarely. If you run across one, take them to the cleaners if you are unscrupulous, or take the time to educate them if you believe in karma. 

A list of well established pricing guides made found on the GIA website.  Many are subscription based and used on a regular basis by industry professionals.  Subscriptions costs can be cost prohibitive for some of these publications.  A quick scan of current subscription pricing indicates the following:

A few of the most valuable gemstones that are faked on eBay include:

  • Diamond
  • Sapphire
  • Padparadscha Sapphire,
  • Tsavorite garnet
  • Dematoid garnet,
  • Emerald,
  • Tanzanite,
  • Black Opal
  • Red Beryl
  • Alexandrite
  • Jadeite
  • Musgravite
  • Aquamarine

Others include:

  • Amethyst
  • Kunzite
  • Tourmaline




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