In our newsletter this month:What You See versus What You Get
Buying anything over the Internet on the basis of a photo can be a scary experience. Will it look exactly like the photo? How can I tell what the color and size really are? What happens if I'm disappointed with the product when I get it? There are so many questions, all to be answered only when the package shows up on your doorstep, days after you've made payment.
As buyers and sellers, we're all aware of the challenges of online gemstone trading. Gems are very small objects and their colors and details are extraordinarily important. So how much confidence can you have in gemstone photos? And what steps can you take to make sure you won't be disappointed when the gems are delivered?
Let's start with the first question. We go to great lengths to make sure that our photos and descriptions accurately represent the gemstones we sell. It's a 3 stage process for us. First we measure and weigh each gemstone, using digital equipment accurate to the hundredth of a millimeter and carat. Then, we photograph each gem from 3 angles, using light sources that emulate natural daylight. We experiment to find the background that works best for the size, color, cut and shape of the particular gem. Then the description and photos are reviewed for accuracy by our quality assurance team. One of the most important things they do is compare the actual gemstone with the photographs to make sure the photos accurately represent the gem, in effect, simulating the moment when you first unpack the gem you purchased from us.
What about the 2nd question - what steps can you take to make sure that you'll be pleased when you receive your GemSelect order? One thing you can do is check your computer monitor to see how accurately it represents color. In our experience some LCD (flat screen) monitors are set far too bright, so that a deep red stone, for example, will appear much lighter on those LCD screens. If you have a digital camera, you can check your monitor by taking some photos of your own gems and see how they appear on your monitor. You might also discover how tricky it is to take good gemstone photos!
Another thing you should do is take careful note of the size of a gemstone before you buy it. When we photograph our gemstones we always try to fill the frame with the subject, so you can see as much detail as possible. But this means that a 50 carat stone will appear the same size as a 0.5 carat stone! Occasionally a customer will contact us to tell us that the stone he received was much smaller or bigger than he expected. It's actually an easy mistake to make, so take care, especially if you're new to buying gemstones online.
In our 4 years' selling online, we've sold tens of thousands of gemstones and we've refined our gemstone photography. At this point we've very confident that we can represent our gemstones accurately. But in the rare case where we - or you - make a mistake, you can count on the GemSelect guarantee.New in Gems
Our buyers are always searching for the best value gems for our customers. Here are some of the excellent buys we've made in the last few weeks:
Each month our staff select some of their favorite gemstones from our inventory. This month we feature some of our recent acquisitions in Nigerian tourmaline.
Gemstones Worth Knowing
Each month we focus on one of the lesser-known gemstones. This month's featured stone is agate.
Agate is a form of chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers and displays a remarkable variety of colors and textures.
Agate is typically dyed to produce interesting color variations. The art of dyeing agate is believed to be an ancient one, dating back to the Romans. Agate dyeing was revived by the Germans early in the 19th century.
First the agate is boiled in a strong bicarbonate solution to remove impurities. Then the stone is soaked in a chemical solution followed in some cases by heating. For example, to produce red hues, agate is soaked in an iron nitrate solution. Green is produced by immersion in a chromic acid or nickel nitrate solution. Blue is produced by a red or yellow prussiate of potassium followed by soaking in an iron sulphate solution.Customer Questions
Every month we answer questions of general interest from our customers. Please feel free to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "newsletter question" in the subject line.
A final note - if you send us email, please be assured that we answer all our email very promptly, 6 days per week. But we sometimes have problems with spam filters on the receiving end, so please adjust the settings on your email account so that you can receive mail from email@example.com.
Happy gem hunting!
Your friends at GemSelect