Spotting a Fake: Do Your Gems Come from a Legitimate Source?


Online shopping is slowly becoming a staple of everyday life, with everything you need at the touch of a screen.

Blake Morgan of Forbes writes that the percentage of consumers in the US doing their shopping online has increased compared to mid-April of last year. With most people trying to avoid leaving their houses, online shopping provides these consumers the same quality of goods accompanied by the promise of convenience and safety. Even businesses that initially stood as brick-and-mortar stores are making the transition to e-commerce by creating catalogs on online sales platforms.

One sector making this change is the jewelry industry. Businesses like these benefit from going digital, as they can establish themselves on multiple channels to widen their target market. Using analytics helps them collect data from the current and potential customers they otherwise would not have obtained.

While shopping online may be convenient, others might be hesitant about getting luxury items like gems online. If you’re itching to buy one for yourself or someone you care about, here are a few tips that could help you score a quality gem and avoid getting scammed:


Whether you’re buying gems online or in-store, it’s important to remember the 5 Cs. However, the first C you can examine is color. The best way you can do this is to visit multiple sites and compare the gems’ colors in the pictures provided. In addition to this, if you’re using a laptop or computer to do your shopping, you can calibrate your monitor to give you a more accurate representation of the color.


Jewelry usually has both intrinsic and extrinsic merits. The former refers to the jewel’s materials and craftsmanship, while the latter refers to value from more external factors like its origin. Of course, not everyone knows how to determine these merits. While online businesses often find ways to see if their customers are trying to hide their identities (such as hiding one’s IP address) by using geolocation tools to detect fraud, shoppers can also seek out accredited gemologists who can give a helping hand to those who don’t have time to do their research or are too anxious about getting their gems online.

Visiting Different Sites

The internet offers a wide array of shops for you to choose from when buying your gem. Use this to your advantage by comparing the price, quality, and customer reviews of the websites you’re browsing through. By doing this, you will be able to see through scammers who are trying to trick you by using stock photos or photos from other websites for their catalog. Make sure that these sites can show you high-quality photos and 360° videos of their items.

Contact Information

One thing to remember when verifying online sites is to check their contact information. Double-check if the business has a store address, contact number, and e-mail address. If this information is not readily available on their site, don’t risk it! Legitimate businesses should always provide their contact information. If the website contains this information, try to contact them and make sure that you get a personal response or talk to a real person. If the seller is difficult to get in touch with, move on to the next one.

woman holding gemstones

Credibility and Reputation

Credibility is important when you’re looking to buy expensive items. If the site barely has any reviews and is not recognized by a national organization like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), chances are they might be out to scam you. Reputation is important, too; if you have friends or family who have repeat transactions with an online jewelry store, that might be your best bet for buying your next gem. You’ll be able to ask them for information about their visit to the site and their purchases, and you’ll be able to find out whether they recommend the shop or not. Additionally, a sign of a legitimate jeweler is one who provides certificates alongside their gems.

Return Policy

What if a gem falls out of your necklace days after purchasing it? What if the gem is bigger or smaller than you imagined? Make sure that the site you’re browsing through has a clear warranty and return policy. If possible, try looking for online jewelers that offer wide inspection periods accompanied by their return policy. If the site offers them, then they can generally be trusted to follow through on their promise.

Provides Full Service

You don’t want to buy from a store that only sells jewelry. You’ll want to look for a jeweler that does more than sell. Go for places that and provide services like custom designing, repairing, and resizing. You’ll never know when you might need it, and it’s better to get these services from the same place you got your gem.

These helpful tips will serve as a guide for your next big gemstone purchase, whether it’s for yourself or your loved ones. Be vigilant and do as much research as you can before buying anything online. Happy hunting!

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