Compiled by Sharon Elaine Thompson
The Gemstone Price Index is limited to gem rough available to amateurs and semi-professional cutters at shows, on the Internet, and from wholesalers. For this reason, it does not include rough such as emeralds, ruby, exceptional quality blue sapphire, or imperial topaz -- materials that are not readily available except to professionals.
There are a growing number of online merchants buying close to the mines, and their prices may be very good. However, when buying from this sources for the first time, always check payment options, guarantees, and return policies. Overseas shipping, insurance, and credit card charges may not be refundable; you may have a very short time in which to examine the material; and you'll have to pay return shipping. Remember that photos and grading terminology may not be accurate. If you decide to buy, always make a small purchase first to verify quality of material and veracity of seller. As always, caveat emptor.