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Gemstones Shops in Siem Reap

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Gemstones Shops in Siem Reap

We went to Siem Reap in February 2006 and enjoyed our trip visiting Angkor Wat etc and also had a chance to go to some of the shops selling precious stones as well as gemstones & souvenir Shops. As usual our group (regular travellers) always like to get something popular in that particular country so the guide took us to some of the shops saying that blue sapphires & rubies are from their country. Each of us spent a few hundred USD on the stones and found out later when we got back home that they are all coloured stones! We felt cheated and called the Embassy in our country and was told that there is nothing much they can do! So, please beware, don't buy anything from them, just visit Angkor Wat!

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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1. Re: Gemstones Shops in Siem Reap

You had the stones appraised by jewelers back home? What size ruby or sapphire could you get for a few hundred dollars is what I want to know...What kind of colored stones were they? You can't "color" a stone like you can dye jade, but you can heat-treat stones to give them color(most blue topaz and rubies/sapphires are heat treated and this is acceptable) or were they cheaper, yet authentic colored gemstones like blue topaz, aquamarine, tourmaline or rubellite? I am interested as I often purchase stones in Asia(not diamonds, emeralds, rubies, or sapphires as those are much too pricey!).

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2. Re: Gemstones Shops in Siem Reap

Hi Maneki, I know about heat treated yellow sapphires etc but do they heat treat ruby & blue sapphire too? The ones that we bought is about 2 carat (tear-drop shape) USD360.00. It looks just like the normal blue sapphire we have back home. Have no problems with the blue sapphires & rubies I bought in India & Thailand! Can you tell me how to differentiate them?

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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3. Re: Gemstones Shops in Siem Reap

That's exactly the problem- heat-treating is an acceptable process for most gemstones, and, unless you are a well-trained gemologist you will not be able to distinguish this , nor any of the other 'enhancement' processes a gemstone may be treated with (irradiation, oiling, waxing, dying, bleaching, diffusion treatment, etc). Did you have your stones set while in the country? They can do it in several hours if the workshop is nearby. I always have them set when I'm there as labor and gold(18k) are very cheap. Incidentally, paying a few hundred bucks for a sapphire is a steal. Think about it.

Again I repeat my original question- did you take the stones to a jewelry store to have them appraised? How do you know they are fakes? The dealers in SEA often sell authentic stones, just not rubies or sapphires(like I previously mentioned) and may well be worth the several hundred dollars you paid for them back in your own country. Incidentally, the cost (retail, US)of a blue sapphire from 1/2- under 1 carat runs from $250-$2800, 1-under 2 cts $600-$8000 and 2-under 4 cts $1200-$14,000. The prices all depend on clarity, color and cut and if you figure you are paying the above price at a retail place in the states, then you can get a stone(if you know what you are buying) for up to 1/10 the cost if you buy at the source(no middlemen involved). I would still advise against the purchase of rubies and sapphires as it is very hard to distinguish the real thing. HOWEVER- if you like the shape, size and color of a particular stone, and want to have it as a keepsake and made into a piece of jewelry that will remind you of your travels, thaen a feww hundred bucks is not a total waste of money! Happy shopping!

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4. Re: Gemstones Shops in Siem Reap

I bought some set rings & pendants while in the country but brought back the stones thinking of setting it here because I did not like those standard designs. I shall take your advice because the setting cost me quite a lot to do it back home.

I sent my stones to a jewelry store to have them set and it was then they told me that it is not the real sapphire and when I questioned his judgement he assured me that he can tell by his experience. I like your last sentence and it made me feel very much better and in fact when we were contemplating about the reality of the stones we did tell ourselves that we shall just keep it as a constume jewelry since we like it and shall make it into a piece of jewelry that will remind us of your travels.

Thank you. Are you a dealer yourself? You are very knowledgeable about stones!

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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5. Re: Gemstones Shops in Siem Reap

It is indeed good to have items set abroad as it is much cheaper(labor is at LEAST half the cost of the states) and you can get better grade gold(up to 22k)and even have fun designing your own pieces. I am not a dealer but it is a hobby of mine studying/collecting gemstones and jewelry(to wear, of course!)and one can get some lovely items if one does not shell out a lot of money & does a little homework before ones travels.

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6. Re: Gemstones Shops in Siem Reap

Thank you very much Maneki, I learnt a lot from you now and like my husband told me once when we were in a foreign country that whenever you see something that you like just get it and don't stop to think whether you can get it cheaper in a later stop or whether it is worth the money you paid! Chances of going back to the same place is almost nil since we mostly travel on pleasure. So don't regret of what you did not buy or what you have bought! I am a much happier person now, thank you and have a good day.

Brunei
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7. Re: Gemstones Shops in Siem Reap

about 75 per cent of gemstones are not real and or are synthetic (man made) even experts can be tricked.The best advice i can give those thinking of buying is its a risk,you have to take.If your eyes are great or you take a magnifying glass look into the "stone" and try to find faults or inclusions.Curvey ripples can sometimes be seen which is an idication that the stone is fake.Inclusions probably mean its real,they can be faked but I doubt they would bother in such a tiny town.

Ironically rubies and emeralds and some saphires do come from this area but are usually bought of the beaten track by the Thai merchants.If only we could find out where these places are!!Hope this helps.