This was initially going to be a lengthy description and story regarding what L. Allen Brown, the owner of All That Glitters, had encountered at four gem, jewelry and mineral shows he attended since April of last year, with the two most recent ones being just within the past two months. Lengthy text tends not to be read and though the stories might be interesting. Therefore, will attempt to cut back the stories as much as possible, discussing observations, conversations and two purchases made at the shows without hopefully being overly verbose.
Northern California, Gem
and Mineral Show, April 2012:
Mr. Brown visited this small show for the first time after contacting the event coordinator of the show indicating that he would attend. One dealer had some Alexandrite, a large blue green Tourmaline and an orange Garnet. The price of the Alexandrite was too low, the orange Garnet didn't look right, and there was a story that the Tourmaline was recut in Germany. They were getting their gemstones from a relative who lived in the Afghanistan/Pakistan area of the world. That story later changed to having a friend there. Germany has been known for their cutting ability, and the Tourmaline that was said to have been cut there, looked as if someone was learning to facet and it was their first project. Too many of the stories didn't make sense, the pricing was off, inconsistencies in the conversation, etc. led to a meeting with the event coordinator. This was the first year that company was at the show. Mr. Brown was promised that the Alexandrite would be sent to a lab for certing - a business card was left but no phone call or email was ever received. The company did not return for April 2013, but was seen at another show about 2 hours further south!
Northern California Gem,
Jewelry, Bead and Mineral Show, April 2013:
At this very small show of maybe 15 dealers, there were only perhaps 2 that were selling gemstones. One dealer's booth caught Mr. Brown's attention because the prices were far below wholesale for gemstones that had a label of Sapphires. When he made an inquiry, he was told they were indeed Sapphires. Mr. Brown inquired as to how they can sell way below wholesale, the dealer shrugged his shoulders. When asked whether they could possibly be Tanzanite or somehing else, the dealer asked the other person in the booth (someone in their early 20s) - and the response came back that they were 'reconstituted' Sapphire. (The term reconstituted is a whole story in itself) Satisfied that the low price was now justified and explained (but the sign didn't say reconstituted, and most likely a receipt wouldn't either), another inquiry was made on another gemstone. Again, with a label, beautiful gems and very low in price. Like pulling teeth as they say, the truth was slowly revealed after another conference was quickly held and the material was deemed synthetic; though the sign didn't indicate that. This happened one more time but it was easier to obtain information, as during our conversation, Mr. Brown had indicated that he was a gemologist and was in the business.
Massachusetts - Gem and Mineral Show, May 2013: Purchased a beautiful Sapphire supposedly from a dealer who had done shows for years, but had since died and this dealer purchased his inventory. Beautiful color, brilliant, many facet junctions chipped, many facet junctions didn't meet well, clean, low price. Gemstone was examined by Mr. Brown and another GIA educated appraiser - Synthetic Sapphire.
Massachusetts - Gem and Jewelry Show, July 2013: Incredibly deep orange color for Morganite (orange or pink Beryl) - so nice, it should represent the species in a book as well as be displayed in a museum. Said to be from Madagascar, heated. Faceted in Brasil - nicely done actually. Dealer said that he bought it from a Brasilian in Tucson of this year. Dealer requested to write info on receipt - Morganite, from Brasil, heated. One hour later and back in the office, Mr. Brown tests the RI of the gemstone and it is far less than what is expected of Morganite. It cannot be Morganite - most likely Madagascan Feldspar. Nice, but sold to a customer at the show and it was mis-identified. It is believed that this person is still selling this material as Morganite.
Mr. Brown purchased the two items noted above because he felt that the material was being misrepresented, not necessarily knowingly, but the dealers had bought something that they themselves could not test or determine authenticity - and mistakes do happen at times also.
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