Thursday, August 8, 2013

"TOURMALIKE"

I've written before about "fused glass" or "fused quartz" (both are glass) that is manufactured for the jewelry industry, to create very convincing-looking gemstones.  HERE is a website that supplies this glass "rough".  It's very clear, and the colors are spectacular.  Once faceted, green fused quartz looks VERY much like emerald, peach fused quartz looks EXACTLY like Morganite, and so forth.  It's being used nearly 100% of the time in jewelry made in Thailand now, which is very unfortunate because unknowingly, customers are buying what they think are "sapphires" or "apatite" etc. and it's just glass.
Tourmalike on clearance: pretty, but not a gemstone

Ebay is flooded with these pieces, and sadly it's found on etsy as well.  The Thai jeweler that is selling these same items as found on ebay has a couple of negatives from buyers who've had their rings looked at by a jeweler and gave the appropriate negative feedback.  Two out of 100+ feedback comments from buyers.  SAD.  Still, people choose to ignore the negative comments and still insist they are giving someone the most spectacular "sapphire" ring, or whatever.

We're talking about HUGE carat weight stones, like a 16-carat Aquamarine, set in sterling with "topaz" accents for like $100.  Same ring on ebay for $24.99 or LESS.  Obviously these aren't real gems----yet people are always quick to snap up a "deal" which is why ebay is so successful:  the "garage sale" mentality.

Sometimes, on etsy, a seller will "wise-up" and offer fake gemstones at VERY high prices which they think will fool consumers into thinking, "Well, the price is so high it must be real!"   Unfortunately, it's not always true.

There is a U.S. seller on etsy who I won't call out here (but if you ask me, I'll tell you privately!) who is offering a supposed Alexandrite for TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars---which even at that, is a "reduced price"!!  It's supposed to be an Alexandrite, in a very large carat weight (like over 15+ carats!) set in sterling silver (not even gold? Platinum?) that changes from "gold to neon green" and is a "once in a lifetime" find!!

Well, first of all, real Alexandrite isn't even found in sizes that large.  It is also considered THE most expensive gemstone in the world.  But that's beside the point---Alexandrite isn't that color AT ALL!  Alexandrite MUST be purple/red/emerald green depending on the light source.  Never "gold to neon green".  Even *created* alexandrite changes color from purple/red/green.  Over 99% of all alexandrite today is created.  IF there ever were a large natural Alexandrite that is as large as 15 or 16 carats, it would be in a museum or in the crown jewels of a monarchy somewhere.  It would be worth millions of dollars. 

So what exactly is this seller offering?  I'm pretty sure I know now.  It's not any sort of chrysoberyl (which is the gemstone family that Alexandrite is a member of).  It's FUSED GLASS. And it's found on that website, and costs....$12 for 100 carats!!  Here's a picture of their rough:

It looks EXACTLY like the "alexandrite" ring being sold for somewhere in the five-digits (on sale!).  In fact, this particular color-changing glass has a trade name, "Tourmalike" because it resembles a color-changing tourmaline.   They don't even try to say it's alexandrite because, well, it looks nothing like that!

That same etsy seller is also offering a few other pieces of this "tourmalike" as Alexandrite at ridiculous prices, although less than five digits.

I mean, hey, tourmalike is pretty!  It would make a spectacular piece of jewelry!  I would venture to say that a tourmalike ring set in sterling might be worth between $50-$100.  It's VERY pretty and unusual and if it's beautifully cut/faceted and set in sterling, it would definitely make a nice piece of jewelry.

BUT IT'S NOT ALEXANDRITE!  And not worth anywhere NEAR $25,000.  Not $2500.  Not even $250.

I happened to see another item of theirs---a "jade" bangle---that they claim is mid-century because of the "wear" on it.  It's amazing the stories they come up with!!  (Like, if it's "originally from Beverly Hills" it must be real, right?  haha) Okay, first off, it's NOT jade at all as anyone can see, and it's badly carved like someone with an out-of-control Dremel did it.  Second, jade is extremely hard and doesn't just "wear down"!!!  Their "jade" is probably dyed quartzite (it does look crystalline) or saussurite (a feldspar mineral) but it's NOT jade, not worth thousands like they're trying to get.  SO much jade everywhere is fake---HERE is a great website for identifying fakes, one of many many such websites.  My advice: buy jade in person if you are looking for an investment piece, and get it certified.  Do NOT buy jade online, unless you don't care if it's fake and just like it.  (In which case, I'd spend under $100 for it.)   

If you figure out who the seller is, do yourself a favor and google the shop's owner's name---you'll find their Linkedin page.  Same picture.  But their occupation... ????  Not anywhere close to a "jeweler" or "gemologist" or whatever else they claim.    Remember, you never know WHO is behind the computer (buyers OR sellers).   (I recently had to deal with someone who was totally UNHINGED, so you never know who you're dealing with.)  Not everyone who sells jewelry is a trained gemologist (I'm certainly NOT!) and that's okay, but if you claim to be...well that's another story.

Buyer....BEWARE!!

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