Why You Should Stay Away From eBay

An increasing number of people are discovering the joys of buying gemstones online.

Quite a few of those are looking around on eBay as it is one of the largest marketplaces in the world. eBay is cheap, secure and the choice is virtually endless. So why are we telling you to stay away’

Misrepresentation on a large scale

Diopside cabochon

The amount of sellers that are misrepresenting gemstones is staggering and quickly rising. What do we mean by misrepresenting’

It means that gemstones are being sold as natural when in reality they are synthetic, a different (cheaper) gemstone or simply a pretty dyed rock or piece of glass.

The sellers themselves may not be aware of the problem, but if they are there is just one word for what they are doing: fraud.

For some good insider knowledge take a look at these posts by the user Swishman on the Gemology Online forums: here and here.

Yes, there are honest sellers on eBay, but they are being drowned in a sea of sellers that either have no business in selling gemstones or are borderline fraudsters.

It is increasingly difficult to compete when people are selling the ‘same? gemstones for a fraction of the price. Which is why many legitimate sellers have left eBay or felt forced to start bending the rules as well.

We can hear you thinking ‘I bet I’m perfectly safe buying from a US/UK/CA/etc. seller’.

Unfortunately that is not the case. A large number of these domestic sellers are in fact buying their gemstones from fraudulent sources and simply resell them for a profit. All without actually testing the gemstones to verify the claims of their supplier.

So how do they get away with this’

It is pretty simple actually, most people simply do not have the knowledge or means to test the gemstones they have bought. They receive an amazing looking gemstone or mineral for a bargain price and are happy with the great deal they got. They then leave feedback on eBay about how great the seller is and the outstanding products they received.

So the next person that takes a look at the feedback of this seller will see something like ‘99.8% positive feedback? and thinks he’s dealing with an honest seller. Understandable as they are used to sellers on other parts of eBay where everyone can easily see if they got a good deal or a cheap knockoff that stops working within days.

This is simply not the case for gemstones, the amount of treatments is staggering, synthetics are getting better by the day and altering a stone to represent a more expensive one is widespread.

Why does eBay let this happen’

Due to the low amount of negative feedback the problem does not show up on eBay’s radar. Though some people believe they just turn a blind eye because of the amount of money these’power sellers’bring in.

Still want to buy on eBay’

Amethyst gemstone

If you still want to buy on eBay despite the high risk there are a few things you should be doing to lower your risk.

Buy a cheap stone that the sellers claims is natural. Once it arrives test it thoroughly, if you cannot test it yourself have it tested by a professional.

If it checks out slowly increase the business you do with the seller. Keep testing though, especially if you are reselling these stones. You are fully responsible for any unintentional fraud!

The old adage ‘If it’s too good to be true, it often is? still holds true. Check the wholesale price of rough material and know that roughly 70-80% of the material is lost when faceting or polishing gemstones. If you see a 3 carat amethyst‘it means that between 10-15 carat of rough material was needed.

If the wholesale price of the rough material is far higher than what the cut amethyst is selling for, you can be pretty sure something is not right. Especially when they are selling a large number of these gemstones. Nobody in their right mind is going to go to the trouble of cutting a gemstone when they could be selling the rough material and make more profit.

Never buy an expensive stone without a proper grading report by a renowned institute. For example: GIA, AGS, IGI, EGL and IGL. You should never trust an in-house grading report and you should be very careful when dealing with an unknown grader.

Parting thoughts

What it comes down to is that you need to have an extensive background in gemology to get a good deal on eBay, without being ripped off left and right. If you don’t have this background we urge you to stay away from eBay.

Unless you simply want a great looking gemstone and you don’t care about how it got that way (or that you might receive a piece of colored glass or a dyed rock instead).

If you have any experience with buying on eBay please leave a comment below. Both positive and negative experiences are welcome!