Gem I.D. Cards - Here's the scoop....
There are only a few labs (if that's what they are) using Gem Cards as a selling tool and/or offering out their services to sellers of jewelry. First, knowing who owns "whom" is one of the big mysteries.
Does the seller of the jewelry who hawks these cards - own the lab? If so, the fox is guarding the chicken coop! However, it's not against the law to have two business working hand in hand to pick your pocket.
One particular labs offers Gem I.D. Cards for up to $50.00. It's plastic and it's value (according to the lab) is ZERO. You heard right! ZERO!
The ZERO Value can be found in their terms and conditions. They state they are not recommending that the value they state is a valid reason for purchase. In other words, buy the item with a Gem Card and it's not good for anything. There are NO warranties or Guarantees made by the lab on behalf of the value stated.
The stated value on the card is only an "indication" and/or "estimation" of high retail replacement value for insurance purposes. However, they reiterate that the value they place on the item is NOT the actual value of the item. Now, I have ask, just what insurance company in world would even agree to insure anything of value based upon such a preposterous idea?
Everything stated on the Gem Card is a matter of "opinion" and every possible disclaimer is mentioned concerning that the value of any item they grade is based upon some number out of the air (as far I can tell) and the buyer of the card releases them from all liability and/or misrepresentation imaginable. This disclaimer also extends to anyone offering the card to the general public.
I guess anyone selling jewelry can open a lab, hire someone (maybe a gemologist - maybe not) buy a machine, which spits out pretty plastic cards and grade their own product for public consumption and charge $50.00 or more for something which has no value.
There was a time when jeweler's turned only to GIA or at the very least, a certified lab, which they knew was certified and housed certified gemologists. Those days are long gone.
The days of regulatory control over such labs has fallen to wayside, as those in the grading industry have only expressed their "opinion" and have forever released themselves from all claims or misrepresentations via legalese.
Where's the harm?
Think about it this way. The Gem Card states some "pie in the sky" value and how can a buyer resist? They see a piece for sale with a Gem Card, which has placed a value in the thousands and they get the item for a few hundred bucks. Where's the harm? Take the item and the Gem Card to your local jeweler and he either tell you "you got what you paid for" or, "the item is not worth what you paid - no matter what the Gem Card states".
The harm is industry wide. Don't rip people off using some fabricated piece of plastic to sell goods! Those who buy on eBay to resell are most at risk! They buy based on the basic notion of "buy low - sell at a profit". Good idea and it works most of the time however, throw a Gem Card into the mix (with a pie in the sky value) and the reseller will get hurt. Hurt them enough and they go out of business.
What's worse is when a reseller buys a piece of jewelry with a Gem Card and then realizes they can't make a profit (let alone resell the item for what they paid) and then they get hit with huge restocking fees and shipping costs. Enough is enough!
Those who use this method of selling know who they are and should stop before doing any more damage to resellers, consumers and the industry as a whole.
Other guides relating to jewelry and gemstone buying which you may find helpful are as follows: