Q. I bought a piece of jewelry while on a cruise.  They said it was a good price since the stones are local.  Did I get a good value?

A.  Probably not. We are sorry to tell you that the piece you bought is very likely worth the current market value in the US, or less.  We don’t recommend you buy fine jewelry on a cruise or on vacation (unless you really know from whom you’re buying)!   We know it’s a huge temptation when you’re in an exotic or particularly beautiful location, and the seller is telling you what a great deal you’re getting.  But we’ve seen more times than we can count a customer’s disappointment when a piece purchased overseas is not the “great deal” is was promised to be.

Q.  What are the pros and cons of Natural Stones and those that are Lab-Created?  

A.  Today, precious stones can be created in labs. These stones are identical to natural stones in their structural make up and look as beautiful, if not more perfect, than natural stones.  Many times even a highly trained gemologist may have difficulty in distinguishing the difference.

The upside of lab-created stones is that you can be 100% assured there is a conflict-free, environmentally sound history behind the stone, as well as a lower cost.  The cons of lab-created stones is that sometimes they are too perfect, having no inclusions as do natural stones, and currently their market value is not as high as natural stones.

We appreciate both natural and lab-created stones such as emeralds, sapphires, rubies and alexandrites and are happy to help you investigate the best option for you.