What to look for in an online gemstone dealer

There are many websites offering gemstones for sale. The attraction of purchasing online is similar to that of any other product; buyers are looking for the best possible quality at the best possible prices and fast.

Buying gemstones online can be a risky business.  Photographs of gemstones are often misleading because the extremely important details such as colour and clarity are difficult to capture on camera. Buying a fine gemstone on the basis of photographs and descriptions can be tricky but the risks are in most cases outweighed by the rewards.

Reputable gemstone dealers can offer up to 25-50% less than retail shops or your local distributors. There are meaningful savings to be found from many online gemstone dealers who are reputable, honest and reliable and who offer quality gems at great prices.

Online customers must be aware of less conscientious dealers who are often located in places where it will be difficult to obtain legal recourse if you have a problem. So if you're thinking about buying gemstones online, choosing a reputable dealer is the most important decision you'll make.

  • Buy from a dealer who has been in business for at least a 5 years
  • Buy as close to home and as close to the source to cut out middlemen whenever possible.
  • Ensure the dealer carries significant stock
  • Make sure the dealer operates a comprehensive online business by checking to see how current the website content and stock availability is.  Look for gemstone information, references and educational material that can help you make the right decision before you purchase online.
  • Every gemstone must have an actual photograph and full description (stock photographs are only  acceptable when the items for sale has a high level of repeatability, such as smaller calibrated sizes or synthetic stones). 
  • Does the dealer disclose information on gemstone treatments? 
  • Is there a FAQ section and is the dealer knowledgeable about gemstones and gemology? Does the dealer belong to credible gemstone and industry associations?
  • What are your payment options and is there sufficient and reasonable consumer protection and transaction security. 
  • Is there an option to “view before you buy” for high-priced gemstones?
  • Does the dealer have a returns and refund policy? If the dealer doesn't have a "no questions asked" return policy, buy from someone else. A money-back guarantee means he's very confident that you'll be happy with your purchase.

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