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Thread: vintage gemstone suppliers?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Default vintage gemstone suppliers?

    Hello all,

    I was wondering if anyone knows of suppliers of vintage/pre-used gemstones? I'm mainly thinking about diamonds and sapphires & not looking for large or expensive stones.

    I'm using recycled gold and I was thinking it would be good in terms of ethics to use gemstones that have also had a previous life but I don't know how feasible this is in terms of availability & price?

    Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom!
    Elizabeth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    669

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth View Post
    Hello all,

    I was wondering if anyone knows of suppliers of vintage/pre-used gemstones? I'm mainly thinking about diamonds and sapphires & not looking for large or expensive stones.

    I'm using recycled gold and I was thinking it would be good in terms of ethics to use gemstones that have also had a previous life but I don't know how feasible this is in terms of availability & price?

    Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom!
    Elizabeth
    Words of wisdom would be caveat emptor. Many pre-used gemstones are not extracted with the care and attention befitting a 1/2 ct sapphire for e.g. but then again, unless you're buying from somewhere a gemmologist has checked the stones, it might not be a 1/2 ct sapphire and of course if a gemmologist has checked it over, it has to be worth their time!

    I've bought a few with mixed success, plenty of failure, learning as I go.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    829

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    At some risk of mis-identification you could try your local jewellery shops. When they take in scrap items for melt etc they pull out the stones and could have a stash or could hang on to them for you
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk
    @pearlescenceltd
    instagram: pearlescenceltd1

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    99

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    I buy jewellery at auction. Usually from Ewbanks or Bonhams. The lots I bid on tend to be those with lesser stones and most of the other people bidding will usually be after one of the major pieces. Because it is an investment or a business decision when I buy I calculate out what the piece is worth in material terms and will not bid higher than that. I have picked up a number of lovely rose cut and mine cut diamonds this way between 0.25 and 0.75 carat. I have also found this a good way to source opal, rubies, garnets, and other stones. Quite often smaller stones are just described by colour. Make sure you can visit the auction and check the goods first. I also sometimes buy 'parcels' of jewellery which have one or two pieces that I really want then remake or sell the rest at a later date. My original auction hunts started because I was trying to find antique Sciacca coral beads to finish a necklace.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    29

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    That's really helpful, thanks very much for all the advice... and the words of warning!
    I will definitely look into the auction route, perhaps mixing up old with new stones could be an interesting route.
    Ceri - may I ask, do you remove the stones yourself or do you take them somewhere to do it? Thanks again.
    Last edited by Elizabeth; 01-06-2016 at 10:40 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    99

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    I remove them myself. I have taken pieces to a jewellers to do so and lost a ruby and 2 garnets to breakage in the process. I have only ever broken an opal which had a large crack running through it prior to purchase (the other two stones in the ring were the reason for purchase) but I recut the opal as a smaller stone so it was not wasted! I use pliers to release claw set gemstones working methodically on opposing claws to keep the pressure even thus avoiding breakage, snips and pliers to release bezel set gems (these are very tricky and require more patience especially if the stone is very well set) more often I work from the rear of the bezel first so that the stone has wiggle room before I cut the top of the bezel. Gypsy set, use a scorper to remove the metal surrounding the front holding the stone then press firmly using something lower on the mohs scale that the stone itself on the outer edge until it moves...these sometimes pop out with a ping...make sure your floor is clean!!! (I use a pencil to push) and for pave set the process is the same as gypsy set, move the prongs and or raised metail away from the stone and push firmly. for open backed pave push from the rear! Major rules of auction buying; take into account the buyers premium when working out what you are willing to pay and stick to your planned price!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceri View Post
    I remove them myself. I have taken pieces to a jewellers to do so and lost a ruby and 2 garnets to breakage in the process. I have only ever broken an opal which had a large crack running through it prior to purchase (the other two stones in the ring were the reason for purchase) but I recut the opal as a smaller stone so it was not wasted! I use pliers to release claw set gemstones working methodically on opposing claws to keep the pressure even thus avoiding breakage, snips and pliers to release bezel set gems (these are very tricky and require more patience especially if the stone is very well set) more often I work from the rear of the bezel first so that the stone has wiggle room before I cut the top of the bezel. Gypsy set, use a scorper to remove the metal surrounding the front holding the stone then press firmly using something lower on the mohs scale that the stone itself on the outer edge until it moves...these sometimes pop out with a ping...make sure your floor is clean!!! (I use a pencil to push) and for pave set the process is the same as gypsy set, move the prongs and or raised metail away from the stone and push firmly. for open backed pave push from the rear! Major rules of auction buying; take into account the buyers premium when working out what you are willing to pay and stick to your planned price!
    Ceri that is so helpful, thank you very much. Now I just have to be brave enough to have a go (both for the buying & the removing!)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    99

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    It can be daunting but it is also fun...like haggling at a bazaar to get the best deal. Start with local auctions...most will have their catalogue online even if you have to bid in person. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    829

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    Local house clearance type auctions often have jewellery items too. and often no catalogue, just a couple of viewing days
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk
    @pearlescenceltd
    instagram: pearlescenceltd1

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    29

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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    Local house clearance type auctions often have jewellery items too. and often no catalogue, just a couple of viewing days
    Thanks, sounds like another good tip! Looking forward to some rummaging...

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