When buying faceted briolettes..What to ask the seller

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1.  Are these drilled?  Where is the hole drilled? 

Top Drill is best and should carry with it a higher price.  Briolettes are also drilled through the stone from base to top and I would not buy this style unless I had a clear plan in my head about what the stones were going to be used for.  An anklet with dangles that are faceted and tear-drop shaped would be an excellent reason for purchasing the briolettes that are drilled through.

Ask to make sure that there isn't any chipping around the drill-site hole.  The cut should be smooth and the whole stone intact.  The stones are trash and only worth wrapping quality when there are chips around the drill-site.

Wrapping quality Top-Drilled Faceted Briollettes should be buckets cheaper than the precision cut ones.  By wrapping I mean running a length if sterling, gold or copper wire through the hole. securing a threading hoop and wrapping the wire down to the stone and over the top.  There are many ways to cover the top of a stone that is flawed.  You most likely own a pair of earrings that dangle out of some metal enclosure.  And I would be right in saying that you have never seen how those stones are secured inside the enclosure.  Well, unless you are like me and taken ever bit of your jewelry apart like a watch maker.

2.  Are these "genuine" stones?  Real. natural gems are plainly labeled.   If there is allot of word usage going on in the title description, ask for clarification.  The seller with something to hide will not respond to your honest questions about the validity of their stones.  Don't worry about bidding before you get an answer, the world is full of rock!  You will get what you want for the price you can afford, you just need to be patient.  If it helps, imagine you are hunting the stones and that that particular bunch is diseased and will give you a terrible stomach ache if you kill and eat it.  Wait for the gems you really want and for the price that you can pay.  You don't want to end up telling people that you have purchased "technibond protoplte rubitica memonite fumonade" it just sounds horrible.  Rather tell people that you spent so much time and that these stones just struck you as something special, different and really beautiful.  No gimmick?  Likely the VERY REAL item.

3.   Starting bids can be low and the shipping costs high.  That doen't mean that you are likely to get ripped off or that the retailer is shady. 

  It is very true that starting prices for a string of faceted briolettes are usually around $10.  And starting your bid out to cover the stones for at least a dollar each is very smart and still affordable if the stones are quality.  But there are Sellers who feel more of a thrill when there is allot of action going on around their items.  The only way to make sure that both items are the nicest of product is to ask "are these stones genuine ruby?"  or "are these stones "genuine ruby colored?"  They could be quartz or jade.  The term "ruby" isn't accurate because there are synonyms:

1. ruby (noun) -a transparent piece of ruby that has been cut and polished and is valued as a precious gem
 Synonyms:  deep red, crimson

2. ruby (noun)  - a transparent deep red variety of corundum; used as a gemstone and in lasers
Synonyms:  deep red, crimson

3. crimson, ruby, deep red  (noun) - a deep and vivid red color
Synonyms:  crimson, deep red, ruby

4. red, reddish, ruddy, blood-red, carmine, cerise, cherry, cherry-red, crimson, ruby, ruby-red, scarlet (adj) - of a color at the end of the color spectrum (next to orange); resembling the color of blood or cherries or tomatoes or rubies
Synonyms:  ruby, sanguine, rubicund, flushed, cherry-red, scarlet, reddish, red-faced, violent, red, blood-red, reddened, florid, carmine, ruddy, crimson, cherry, cerise, ruby-red  (synonyms.net)
  "Language is a virus" (Laurie Anderson).  There are so many ways of getting around the "telling the truth".  Under the link "The gemstone ruby"  we are given a list of false names for stone with a passing color commonality:

Arizona Ruby, Australian Ruby          Ancona Ruby - rose quartz
Adelaide Ruby, American Ruby         Alabandine Ruby - almandine garnet
Siberian Ruby - red tourmaline           Spinel Ruby - red spinel
Bohemian Ruby, California Ruby      Balas Ruby - pink to pale red spinel
Rocky Mountain Ruby                          Ruby Spinel - red spinel
Colorado Ruby, Elie Ruby                  Geneva Ruby - synthetic ruby
Montana Ruby, Cape Ruby                Garnet Ruby - garnet
Brazilian Ruby - pink topaz                 Copper Ruby - cuprite

And Where I believe a name is a name, many buyers find themselves convinced of the authenticity of a stone because of the addition of the term "ruby".

It is important to remember that your friend "Rose" doesn't smell so great after running 6 miles.  And that she is rarely "petal fresh" at 6:00 AM.

4.  Ask the retailer what country the stones originated from.  Allot can be learned from a small bit of information.  Africa is a continent.  The countries within the African Continent differ as the planets in our Solar system do, the grounds are extremely varied and the minerals always unique to the soil.  Australian Opals and Ethiopian Opals are very different stones.  Carnelian is an agate but isn't called carnelian in some countries.  Lapis Lazuli from Egypt looks near black when compared to it's brother from Afghanistan.  Sapphires from Thialand can be an unreal yellow near translucent and just as hard as their famous sparkling, teal-green sisters that originate from Tanzania.  And almost as precious as the deep blue stones that  are scattered around the globe.  Just make sure you are assured of the highest professional and ethical standards available.

5.  Make sure you are assured of the highest professional and ethical standards available.  Ask where the stones were mined.  Two birds with one stone, so to say.  You find out if these are rocks from the ground or if they are grown in a lab. 

   I buy natural quartz for completely different reasons then I buy grown quartz.  The lack of flaws in the grown quartz attracts different retailers to different pieces of jewelry that I make.  Some like the price tag and the brightness of the lab stones, their kitschy clarity.  And some retailers desire the truth about the stone and really dig the fissures and the flaws and the play of light in the gems.  Quartz is not desirable when it is glass.  Unless you want to make bright-red Fourth of July earring clusters that nearly everyone can afford.

  But even glass beads are preferable to child and slaved mined gems.

6.    Ask how the beads arrive.  How are they strung for transport? 

  The cheaper the strand of briolettes, the greater the space between the gems.  Really cheap rocks will have plastic spacers and very valuable ones often have a metal spacer.  There are "ready made" necklaces stung and fastened with sterling findings, some with silver beads in-between the gems, available for purchase and at auction.  I like to take these apart and Frankenstein the pieces.  Often times you get a much better deal when you buy this way.  I find that the ct weight is higher and the stones are better matched.

7.  Then make sure that the size of the briolettes is what you need.  Ask how many are on the strand.

  Don't try and count the number of gems in the picture.  You can be unaware that the photo is not of the exact article of stones you are bidding on.  Really honest dealers will be upfront in their description write ups and tell you that the photo you are looking at is that of the items you are bidding on,  I am sure the honest dealer is out there who just didn't think about the nature of the photo's importance.

  Either way the number of stones and the exact ct weight is extremely important if you are buying Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby, Tourmaline or Tanzanite briolette strands.  If you are envisioning creating a delicate fine silver wrap around 6 mm garnet briolettes, and the rocks are actually 12-mm, your creation is going to be morbidly obese.  4 mm is usually a ct, 6-mm will approximate 1.5 ct. and so forth.  Not an exact science, but it helps when you have to think fast, bid quickly and mentally charge your retailer at the same time.

  But make sure you have the dealers "boyscout honor" about the number of stones and the exact ct weight.  If they can't give you that information because of their huge stock numbers, then you should take into consideration the obvious non-exquisite quality of these stones.  Think "dress off the rack".  And bid for a "dress off the rack" and not your future spouse's anniversary gift.

8.  What is the cut of the stone called?

  Israel cut is a very popular term right now.   But what does it mean to all gems?  "Direct from a leading gem cutter in Israel - the world leading country in high quality gemstones."?   Maybe, but from one retailer I was told that they had their "Israel cut" performed on site in India, I guess they could have imported their own Israelites to cut the Israel way.  Then I found other dealers who admitted that only rondelles could sport that cut and that "briolette"  is a cut all it's own.

9.  Ask about the shape of the stones.  Are they "pillowed", full round, tear-drop, conical or flat?

10.  ask if the stones are heated, dyed,  oiled or waxed.  What treatments, if any, have these stones undergone to enhance their natural beauty, or cover up their massive and regrettable flaws.  To bid on a treated stone and an untreated stone should differs as much as playing the slots differs from playing tables.   You might want to sit down for the one game.

I'm sure I left out something very important, but now I want to go look at all the pretty briolettes.

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