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Please Note: This is a best practice guideline created by the Gemstone selling community on bidorbuy. It is not a bidorbuy policy document.
This guide was drawn up by the Gemological Society of SA and is intended to increase consumer confidence and encourage buyers to do repeat business on bidorbuy. It serves as a way of 'levelling the playing field' between sellers so that the same standards apply to all and all have a fair chance of success.
This guide is intended for but not limited to all gemstone and jewellery articles including articles made from precious metals. The guide is an outline of the basic rules of conduct for these sales and is based on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC): GUIDES FOR THE JEWELRY, PRECIOUS METALS, AND PEWTER INDUSTRIES. In the case of any queries with regard to the information provided herein, the FTC document shall be referred to.
It is deceptive to misrepresent the type, kind, grade, quality, quantity, metallic content, size, weight, cut, colour, character, treatment, substance, durability, serviceability, origin, price, value, preparation, production, manufacture, distribution, or any other material aspect of an industry product. Such practice is forbidden.
1.1 It is deceptive to describe the colour of the stone in any way that misrepresents the colour of the actual stone. (Colour charts will be provided to give the exact hue, tone and saturation of the gemstone, details of which can accompany the seller?s description).
1.2 Diamond colours should be given according to the internationally accepted GIA colour grading scale. Colour grading should only be attempted by trained individuals using a master colour grading set.
3.2.1 It is deceptive to state false grading values for gemstones - including precious and so-called semi-precious stones whether mounted or loose.
3.2.2 Gemological Institute of America (GIA) clarity gradings are permissible, but are intended for use after examination of the gemstone by a properly trained individual under magnification of not less than 10X.
3.3 Standard gradings with no type distinction (Non-GIA accepted international grading) are as follows:
If sellers do not have the necessary tools or training to facilitate the above grading, it is admissible for them to use the following gradings using the eye, unaided by any form of magnification.
Eye-clean: For stones that display no inclusions when viewed in a face-up direction without magnification.
Moderately included: For stones that display small, or slightly visible inclusions when viewed in a face-up direction, without magnification.
Heavily included: For stones that display heavy and obvious inclusions when viewed in a face-up direction without magnification. This can range up to slightly translucent stones.
4.1 Gemstones (with the exception of pearls which are measured pearl grains - p grain) are measured in carats.
4.2 A Carat (not karat - this is a measure for gold purity) is a unit of weight and not one of size. 5 carats = 1 gram.
4.3 The weight of gemstone is measured in carats.
4.4 A carat can be divided into 100 parts, called points. E.g. 1.00 carat = 100 points.
4.5 The correct and accurate weight of gemstones must always be displayed clearly in all advertisements. Gemstone weights should be accurate to at least 0.05 of a carat.
4.6 For job lots where there is a possible variance in size between units, this variance must be specified and strictly adhered to.
5.1 The cut of the gemstones must be accurately described.
5.2 Tables will be attached explaining various common cutting styles including so-called native or step-cutting.
5.3 Important aspects to be conveyed to buyers are the overall symmetry of the cut as well the presence of any "windowing", "bow-tie", "read through" or "fish-eye" effect and the quality of facet meets.
5.4 It should also be made clear whether or not the pavilion and crown are cut deep or shallow.
5.5 The quality of the facet surface or "polish" should be indicated.
5.6 Any chips and/or scratches must be clearly and prominently indicated.
6.1 Any treatment or enhancement procedure a gemstone has undergone must be clearly indicated. In cases where it is unknown whether or not the gem has been treated the seller should state: Treatment/enhancements: Unknown.
6.2 In the case of corundum (Ruby and Sapphire) unless information has been furnished to the contrary gems treatments should include the phrase: Heated.
6.3 With emeralds, unless information has been furnished to the contrary gems treatments should include the phrase: Oiled.
7.1 It should be stated clearly in both the body and title of a sale how many items are to be included in the sale.
7.2 Where the total carat weight is given for the combined items when they are to be sold individually, an indication of carat weight and size must be given for the individual items.
7.3 If there are ten items or less, individual information should be supplied on each gem stone.
8.1 Written valuations/appraisals should be performed by independent third party jewellers or Gemmologists. Jewellers should not be used to value gemstones unless already set in a jewellery piece and then only on the value of the piece as a whole based on what they believe the stone to be.
8.2 It should be noted that most jewellers are goldsmiths or jewellery designers and do not have the necessary training to accurately identify gemstones. In such a case the appraisal is on the item as a piece and not on the gemstone.
8.3 The appraiser should be clearly identified in the listing and details of certificates to be provided given.
8.4 Where the seller is properly qualified to issue gemstone identification reports/certificates it is permissible, however appraisals/valuations will be frowned upon (and if reported, compared against comparative goods, to establish whether or not the price is legitimate) unless issued by an independent third party. It is unacceptable for sellers to make up their own value estimates or attempt to guess at or inflate any estimates at any time. Any attempt at such will be viewed as gross misrepresentation.
8.5 Value estimates should be undertaken using the standard provided estimated value chart or from the web based value estimate provided by Gemval. The valuation estimates must be marked clearly as such in the advertisement with any criteria entered in to come to the results.
8.6 The standard provided estimated value chart will contain estimated values only and will be available for buyers to examine for more information on the listing. It will also include ratios of certain gems to establish their value after having undergone certain treatments (e.g. Be treatment of sapphires).
8.7 It must also be stated that the estimated values are for reference only and are based only on the data which was entered, any of which could have an impact on the price if incorrect.
8.8 Any valuations/appraisals should indicate whether they are market (trade), wholesale or retail value.
9.1 Synthetic, refers to gems (including pearls) that have been synthesized and have the optical, physical, and chemical properties of their natural counterpart.
9.2 "Synthetic", "cultured" (in the case of pearls), "laboratory-created", laboratory-grown" and "man-made" are terms which can be used to describe synthetic gems. These words must appear in the main title of the advertisement.
9.3 Simulants are imitations of the actual gem and do not share the chemical make-up or properties of their natural counterpart. The word "simulated" or "imitation" must appear in the main title of the advertisement.
9.4 It is misrepresentation and fraudulent to attempt to sell either synthetic or simulated stones as their natural counterparts or to fail to disclose that they are not natural. It is also a misrepresentation to claim attributes to any synthetic or simulated stones which the actual article does not possess.
9.5 In the case of diamond simulants it is permissible to use the terms "diamond-like", "imitation diamond" or "simulated diamond". This must also appear in the main title of the advertisement.
9.6 The following phrases are misleading and are therefore not permissible: "Diamond CZ", "Diamond Moissanite", or any other phrases which imply that there is an actual diamond being advertised.
9.7 With all simulants the phrase, "this/these is/are an imitation of their natural counterpart/s and should not be confused with the genuine article" should be displayed prominently in the advertisement.
9.8 With all synthetics the phrase "this/these is/are man-made versions of their counterpart/s found in nature and while they share the optical, physical, and chemical should not be confused with the natural article" should be displayed prominently in the advertisement.
9.9 It is deceptive to use the word "real", "genuine", "natural", "precious", "semi-precious" or similar terms to describe any industry product that is manufactured or produced artificially.
9.10 Use of the word "gem" with respect to synthetic stones should be avoided as few possess the necessary attributes to properly be termed "gems".
9.11 Simulants should never be described as "gems".
10.1 All above gemstones rules apply so diamonds with the following additions:
10.2 Diamonds are to be graded using the internationally accepted GIA colour grading system.
10.3 The colour of a diamond refers to the amount of yellow, brown or gray body colour that a stone possesses. The G.I.A. scale starts at "D" and goes through "Z". "D" being colourless, and "Z", having a light yellow brown or gray colour.
10.4 Diamond colour gradings should be performed by properly qualified persons only using a master diamond colour grading set.
10.5 Any other colours are known as "fancy colours" and require specialised grading.
10.6 As above, all treatments and enhancements (including but not limited to all treatments mentioned above as well as HPHT treatment, laser drilling and glass filling) must be disclosed as these can dramatically affect the value of the diamonds.
10.7 No simulated diamond (Glass, CZ, Moissanite, Paste etc) advertisements should use the word "diamond" in their main title and at no point should they be referred to as such. Where weight is given as the equivalent diamond weight, the actual weight of the simulant must also be supplied.
10.8 The cut used in diamonds should be correctly described as this can directly impact on the brilliance and dispersion qualities of the stone. The preferred cut for diamonds is a round brilliant.
10.9 For stones over 0.5 carats in weight, proportions (or measurements) should be given for the table, girdle, pavilion and culet. When possible, it is preferable to also state the table and pavilion angles. These all affect the value of the diamond.
This guide will have additions added as the information becomes available or international standards alter because of new findings or for any other reason. Any additional submissions will be posted on the forum for full display to all parties and opportunity given for comment thereon after which they will be added to the rules on the agreement on the majority.