Scam 10: South Africa Emerald Scam

Africa is a source of virtually every gemstone in the world. After diamonds, emeralds are probably one of the most famous gemstone exports and with South Africa being one of the most visited tourist destinations, that where the scammers go to prey on innocent holiday making victims. Whenever buying diamond jewellery or gemstone rings, please be careful you are not falling victim to any of the scams mentioned in this series of posts.

As a gemstone dealer with over 15 years of experience buying gems and diamonds around the world, I am constantly amazed when I hear stories from friends (and in some cases family), or read in the press about people being ripped off when attempting to buy gemstones or diamonds on holiday. If you're seriously thinking about buying a ruby, sapphire, emerald or diamond on your next holiday, please read this series of guides. It is written with the holiday maker in mind and isn't full of jargon or technical information, just straight forward advice.

How the Scam works

South Africa, namely Zambia, are is one of the top 5 emerald producing countries in the world. Unfortunately however, for decades now there have been reports that gem scams are taking place here, with the sale of fake stones, or treated stones etc. And these scams are getting more and more prolific and sophisticated. There is no discernible rule that this particular scam operates with as there are so many scams in South Africa centered on emeralds. There are hundreds of reports of jewellers and fake dealers, selling fake or low grade emeralds, painted quartz and passing them off as emeralds, painted glass, and coated stones.

How to avoid this scam

Gem scams have been taking place in South Africa for many years and you are advised to get an independent Laboratory Certificate rather than relying on the jeweler's certificate.

If you've had first hand experience of this gem scam or you know of any more gem scams you can warn people of, leave a comment below and we'll spread the word.. Thanks

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