The word CABOCHON in the gem business is often used wrongly, to the point that some people miss the actual meaning of it especially here in Tanzania. If you are in the gem business make sure you use this word correctly.
The word CABOCHON explains the cutting style of a gemstone not the quality of the gemstone as many think. You will find that some miners and even gem sellers use this word to define the quality of the gemstone.
In the Gem cutting, there are styles which are famous, we will take a look at few of them.
Is a gem cutting style with many sides well cut and polished. The gem has to be transparent in order to cut as a facet. E.g. Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire or any other transparent gem. Above is facet image.
Cabochon is a smooth rounded polished gem has a domed top with a flat or curved base. Above are cabochon images. The good example is chalcedony, chrysoprase, coral or opal
This is another style of gem cutting, where as a gemstone is cut to design a desired figure or shape. E.g. map figure, car figure, animal figure etc. The good example is ruby zoisite
I hope that you have understood the meaning of word “CABOCHON”. Let me remind you once again, it is a cutting style and not the quality of the gemstone.
There are some gemstones that to make big money, you must sell many kg even tons. When I say lump sum, I mean US$ 100,000 and above per piece of the gemstone. You can’t sell gems such as citrine, red garnet weighing 1 - 10 grams for US$1,000 to US$100,000 per piece.
Below are some of the gemstones that can command big prices;
1. Ruby Ring 8.26ct Cushion shaped Sold at Sotheby for US$ 8.6 million
2. Burmese Ruby 6.04ct Sold at Christie HongKong for US$3,331,380 May 2012
3. Sapphire Ring 27.54ct Step cut Sold at Sotheby for US$ 5.9 million
4. Burmese Ruby 29.62ct Oval cut Sold at Sotheby for US$7,338,462.HongKong April 2014
5. Kashmir Sapphire 27.54ct Step cut Sold for US$ 5,984,474
We are in the information age, whereby you can buy many thing without any geographical hindrance. There are couple of things you should take note of while buying gemstones online. This will help avoiding of one to be conned.
It’s good to identify the website you want to buy gemstones from if it is b2b or individual companies. In b2b, some companies or individuals advertize their products and people either visit or shop online.
These websites are not concerned with the quality of the products advertised. It is the responsibility of the seller to produce sufficient information of the products.
That is to say if you are buying from b2b make sure you are satisfied with the product before buying it. Some of the b2b websites are; “Alibaba” ,”Amazon”, “ebay”.
These are companies or individuals that you can see b2b websites on the internet.
But sometimes reaching them is the bit difficult, and even if you manage to find them the assurance of them is very little.
Why? Because you are not sure whether you buying from peson or company.
In order to avoid loss while buying the gemstones, it’s good you understand the gem terminologies or the gem language. Such as cabochon cut, opeque , v1v2 , translucent or treated. There are so many gem terminologies or languages, your assignment is to understand the language used on displayed gem before purchasing it especially online, where you can’t ask questions.
Don’t be carried away by the picture displayed, rather get the details provided. If you do not know the language used, go and find out first the meaning before you buy. One may ask, where can I get such information on gemology? There are so many institutions across the world such as GIA which can provide such information, but you can also visit some website for meaning such as “www.google.com”.
Make sure the company you visit on web has a physical location address in case of anything you can easily follow up. Precaution!do not purchase online from the company you do not sure of whereabouts its location or base. You can find such provide phone number and email address only no physical address attached to it.
Make sure the company you want to deal with provides a company email, because some websites have the contacts without providing their company emails. Be wise do not fall on such traps. The company should put the visible company email for the customers to access easily for both purchase and enquiry
Also the company should provide a phone number, for customers to reach them out for clarifications
The company should put the picture of either staff team (management), C.E.O, or business owner etc., this is very important for it gives the assurance to customer.
This is another way of getting legal information of the company from the authority of the legal documents provider. It could be the ministry, revenue authority, licensing authority, gemstone boards etc.
Know the payment mode used by the company and see if it’s convenient for you before purchasing. For instance not every country use “PayPal”, check the one provided if can help you buy.
Since gemstones are precious, you won’t give the postal address for delivery. Use courier companies to deliver your parcel such as;
it is easy to follow up on them.
You get to know the movement of your parcel from one point to another.
Get to know if the company has a “return policy”. In some countries the return policy is difficult to implement. For instance here in Tanzania, you have to pay for every gem you export as well as import, even if the gemstone exported is return for one reason or another, you will have to pay for it again.
Make terms of agreement when the gemstones sent to you are contrary to what you ordered, on return policy issue.
First of all you save transportation money which could be used to go where the gemstones are. Instead the US$1000 that you could have used for air ticket can buy a gemstone instead.
Likewise the money that could be used to board a hotel during your stay on particular country, can also purchase the gemstone up to a US$500 for a five day hotel pay.
I therefore recommend you buy online once you know the procedure of buying
It shows two colors while it does not have two colors.
The second color can be seen while you use an incandescent light.
For instance the gemstone will change from green to red once is put under the incandescent light.
Nowadays we have a mix-up concerning the color change gemstones, multicolor gemstones and bicolor gemstones. Especially when handling the rough gemstones.
For you to see the color change on the gemstone you must have two types of light sources. That is “fluorescent light” and “incandescent light”.
This one can be obtained by getting fluorescent bulb and even the sunlight can do the work just as good as the fluorescent bulb.
This can be obtained by using an incandescent lamp which has incandescent bulb or candle.
The principals are the same, even if it is a synthetic sapphire. The same principals are applicable for all gemstones. Just take a gemstone that shows the color change, then put it under the fluorescent lamp, take for instance sapphire.
To see the second color, take the same gemstone put it under the incandescent lamp.
Then you will see the second color.
By this procedure the sapphire which appeared green under fluorescent light will change to red under incandescent light.
And once taken away from the incandescent light, it will return to green again.
The multicolor gemstones are not the change color gemstones, such as tourmalines is the multicolor and not the change color. Especially sapphire gotten from Tanga region here in Tanzania has more than one color. And this does not make this type of sapphire to be the change color, famously known as “Umba sapphire”.
The amazing thing is the colors can be seen while under the fluorescent lamp only, this confirms to you that it’s a multicolored sapphire or a bicolored sapphire NOT change color.
Here are some color change gemstones
Take note since you are in the gemstone field, it is good you have those two types of torch or lamp. That is fluorescent lamp/torch and incandescent lamp/torch.
A blind purchase is a purchase made without adequate knowledge on the product you are buying. This kind of purchase sometimes can be on the both sides, the buyer and the seller.
If you are a customer and you want to buy jewelry from a jewelry store, make sure you have enough knowledge on what you want to buy. If you think you are not sure of what you buy, ask the seller about the gem or jewelry you intend to buy, may be a ring, earrings, necklace etc.
It’s good to have enough information on the product, such as in which occasions the item can be worn. Or what kind of chemicals or solutions were used to process the product, to know how to treat while cleansing it. Is it water only used to wash? or is there any special chemical to wash it or cleanse it.
And if you are a jewelry retailer used this opportunity to explain your products to your customers, such as which ring to put on in which occasion or in daily routine.
There is a wrong belief about gemstones, to the point that many people are afraid to do gemstone business or learn about gemstone. We will be looking for some reasons why is it so.
Powers of darkness
Many have connected the gemstone business with the powers of darkness. Many have been forced to believe that for one to do the gemstone business successfully, one must do some rituals to appease some spirits. Some who own mines have been made to believe that, for the mine to produce they must sacrifice to some spirits. And if you take a closer look, you will discover these rituals and sacrifices are not that fundamental. Just follow the principals to get the business done profitably
If a mine collapse, check if the safety regulatory protocol was followed during the mining process. If you use equipment either of poor quality or less effective, be rest assured the digging will take a long time before you get any minerals, or the tunnel has gone a long distance.
Also if you dig for a long time without getting anything, it is very possible you have missed the rock targeted. We have discovered that, here in Tanzania foreigners come to do mining business and getting gemstones without even using the powers of darkness (rituals and sacrifices) one thing you will note about these foreign miners is, they come with modern equipment and good experts in the mining industry.
Simply because gemstones are mined from underground, so some people conclude that they are demonic. Let me ask about petroleum products such as diesel or petrol we use in our cars, are they demonic? because they extract petrol under the sea thousands of meters below sea level, yet we use it in our cars unquestionable. Therefore gemstone is just as good as any other product; the best we can do is to learn about it.
Fear of Frauds & Swindling
Many believe that gemstone business is full of Fraud and Swindling, in either selling or buying. Now the issue of Fraud & Swindling is found in many areas of business not in gemstones only, and I can’t deny the fact that it does exist. What is important is that get enough information about the gemstone business, as well as the gemstones products.
Not every red stone is a ruby, not every blue stone from Umba is a blue sapphire. It could be a blue scapolite or lolite. Get the knowledge of gemstone and the use of proper tools for identification or you can use a professional to help you, they could be a dealers, lab technicians, and gemologists.
Some have been made to believe that once you have the gemstones at home, you can be invaded with armed robbers.
These concepts are irrelevant when it comes to business. What you are supposed to do is to take necessary security measures in order to avoid attracting thieves and robbers. And during business transactions just take all the precautions necessary.
In finishing, I would like to say that the three misconceptions I have mentioned are irrelevant. These gemstones are the same that God created in the times of Adam, they have not changed.
Look around you, are there gemstones? go and learn from those who have succeeded in this business, how did they do it to reach where they are today.
Blemish is an irregularity that is confined to the surface of a polished gemstone, while Inclusion is enclosed within the gemstone or reaches the surface from the interior.
In other words inclusion is an irregularity in the gemstone, sometimes within the gemstone or sometimes starting from the surface going to the inner part of the gemstone. Most of the time when gemstone has an inclusion, it is not easy to remove it. If you try to remove it by force you will end up reducing the weight of a gemstone.
Blemish is an irregularity on the surface of a gemstone, which means is easy to remove during gem cutting.
Some of the blemish occurs during the gem movement. Gemstone blemish can also happen after cutting if there is a poor handling.
It is advisable to pack well to avoid scratches which can lead to blemish, so pack well and differently.
But one uniqueness about inclusion is, it can help identify the gemstone if is natural or synthetic.
When it comes to identify gemstones, you must know your motive. Whether a natural or synthetic, neither cut is or rough gemstones sometimes they confuse when it comes to distinction. For instance a blue sapphire looks very much like a tanzanite, or pink spinal looks like pink tourmaline. Like brown zircon and brown citrine. And because of that you need gemstone tools to identify and differentiate them.
Let us look at the essence of gemstone identification, and what you should know
Color is one of the properties used in identifying a gemstone. Some of them by looking at their colors you can easily identify them. For example, the colors on the opal gemstones are different from the color on the agate gemstones. Some of the gemstones can be identified by the combinations of their colors. Such as amethyst and citrine becoming ametrine. In other case when we look at the gemstone and discovering that it’s a sapphire red in color, then we call it ruby.
Let us look at another example, how the color can distinguish a gemstone from another. When Beryl is blue in color, we call it “aquamarine”, simply because it is blue in color. When Beryl is yellow in color we call it “heliodor”, if it is green we call it “emerald” but it’s the same Beryl gemstone.
I hope you have seen how helpful the color is in the identification exercise.
This is another property in gemstone identification; you can distinguish between one gemstone from another by its hardness. When a blue sapphire is put together with a tanzanite, they look very much alike.
But hardness can distinguish them; the hardness of sapphire is 9 while the hardness of tanzanite is around 6 to 7. This can be done by using gemstone testing tools. Please take note, do not use hardness test to distinguish between the natural and the synthetic gem,because both of them have the same hardness.
What is RI? It is a ratio of light speed in the air to the light speed in a medium. We have a single reflection(SR) and a double reflection(DR). The instrument used here is called Refractometer. Through this instrument you can know whether the stone is SR or DR. even when the gemstone is unknown to you, by using Refractometer you can identify it. Gemstone Refractive Index is like human fingerprint and RI is most useful method in identifying gemstones.
This test is also very helpful especially to unknown gemstones, and in this whole exercise there is what is known as “specific gravity testing set” which have normal scale. But the scalemust be “legal for trade scale”.
For “Gemstone identification”, you either get qualified personnel or go for training on gemstone identification.
Your eyes are tool number one in gem identification. Some may not agree with this truth. You can’t identify any gem without using human eyes. Your eyes can bring good result in rough gemstones.
There are other tools you must have them in gemstone identification like