Gem scams
Blog

Gem scams

The morals of the story is: These gem scams are run by ruthless people who can intimidate, drug, and possibly assault or endanger you. Dont talk to strangers who approach you in public places, no matter how well-mannered and charming they appear. If you plan to buy gemstones in Thailand, go to a respectable shop or a proper source (see future posts).

Its a sad fact that because of official indifference and corruption thousands of visitors to Thailand continue to fall victim to numerous scams. Aside from apart from the Grandaddy of them all, the infamous Gem and Jewellery Scam, they include the King Power Duty Free Scam, the Phuket Tuktuk Scam, the Pattaya Jet-ski and Baht-bus Scams, the Airport Taxi Scam. If its any consolation to visitors, there are many other scams that are targeted exclusively at expatriate residents.I could go on and on.

What to do?

If you are targeted and find yourself trapped in one of these outlets. You could try calling the Tourist Police 1155. But dont hold your breath.

Preparing gold for refining
Blog

Preparing gold for refining

To prepare gold for refining you should first get a jeweller to remove any large and valuable gemstones. Some refineries will dissolve the gold with chemicals and stones will be left behind in the process. They will charge you a token price per stone for handling: about 1 baht per stone. Be sure to count the number of stones and make sure the refiner includes the stones on the receipt, and that you make sure you understand the receipt if it is written in Thai.

The refiner will weigh the goods and give you an estimate for refining based on the amount of fine gold calculated to be in the scrap. They will verify this by testing at the time of refining.

If you are dealing with a small scrap merchant, such as you can find in the MBK shopping complex, you should insist on watching the entire process, from testing and weighing of your scrap to the melting process.

Calculate your worth
Jewelry

Calculate your worth

Before going to a gold scrap dealer, you should ensure you have a fair idea of the value of your gold so that you can calculate whether the price you get is fair. You will need a small set of jewelers or gem scales (inexpensive to buy in the gold district of Silom), and a X10 jewelers loupe. Heres how to calculate:

1. Separate the scrap into groups of the same karat value: Using the loupe look for a hallmark on the item:

10K is 10 out of 24 parts fine gold and will be stamped 461

14K (14/24) will be stamped 585

18K (18/24) will be stamped 750

22K (22/24) and will be stamped 916

2. Weigh each karat group and note down the weight in grams. (One troy ounce of gold weighs 31.1 grams)

3. Find out the current gold price in US$ per gram: check www.24hgold.com or www.kitco.com, or download the iPad App Gold Price which has live prices from www.BullionVault.com

4. Establish the *approximate fine gold content of each karat group of gold scrap: divide the karat value of each group by 24 e.g. 10K /24 =0.416. (For 14K you will come up with 0.585, 18K 0.750, and 22K 0.916). For example, 100gms of 0.750 (18K) gold =75g of fine gold (100 x 0.750 = 75).

5. Then multiply the fine-gold weight of the scrap by the current gold price per gram. If current price of gold is US$1,788.50 per ounce or $57.50 per gram ($1788.50/31.1), then the value of your gold is : 75gm X $57.50 = US$4,312.50 (i.e. US$57.50 x .750 = US$43.12 per gram).

OR better still, you could download the iTunes Scrap Calculator App by JHBC (Jack Hunt Coin Broker, Inc.), which will take all the hard work out of calculating the scrap value of gold of different karat value and quote you total value in the current US$ price.

6. After you have established the scrap merchants fee (it will be either a percentage or a minimum sum, quoted in Thai baht, and it pays to shop around) deduct this from the value of your scrap, after having made any necessary currency conversion. The remainder is what you should receive, but make allowance for a little gold loss. (*Often gold that is hallmarked 750 will prove on testing to contain not 75% fine gold, but a couple of percentage points less).

For the currency exchange you could use the iTunes App xe Currency. And for the current gold price in Thailand there is a simple i-Tunes App Thai Gold Price: currently only in Thai language, but not difficult to understand. It gives the range of the previous days trading, the current gold spot price per gram, and the US$ THB exchange rate.

Remember that the gold price fluctuates on a minute by minute basis, so before you settle on a price for your refined gold you should use your smartphone to check the current price on the Internet. And if you decide to sell gold or send gold scrap for smelting you will need to produce your passport to verify your identity.

Gia Thailand
Jewelry

Gia Thailand

The GIA Thailand offers numerous courses, such as its well-known Graduate Gemologist and Jewelry Design programs, as well as classes in Diamond Grading, Gem Identification, Pearl Grading and Colored Stones Grading. www.giathai.net , www.gia.edu

The courses teach students how to identify and analyse gems, appraise jewellery, and grade diamonds using the 4Cs. It offers hands-on experience, providing access to a collection of 100 jewellery items and more than 1,000 gemstones as well as sophisticated equipment.

Aside from its teaching role the GIA provides laboratory services such as gem grading and certification, and provides reports on a gems geographic origins and distinguishing features as well as identifying any treatments or enhancements the stone may have been subjected to.

For those wishing to make a significant gem purchase in Bangkok the GIA is the go-to laboratory for stone grading and certification. Any retailer which does not already provide certification for its gems should readily agree to send a stone to the GIA for authentication and certifying as long as you agree to pay the cost.

Authority in Gemology
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Authority in Gemology

The 80-year old Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Thailand campus recently opened its shiny new premises at U-Chi-Liang Building on Rama 1V Road, with the GIA President and CEO, Donna M. Baker, presiding over the grand opening.

The GIA has trademarked its slogan The Worlds Foremost Authority in Gemology, and its hard to argue the point. As the worlds most trusted name in diamond grading and gemstone identification, the GIA is perhaps less well-known as the institution which created the famous four Cs of diamond quality in 1953.

Although it is just one of several institutes of gemological sciences operating in Thailand, the GIAs Bangkok branch has played a significant role in the development of the Thai jewellery industry, with many of the leading players having obtained their gemology education at its Bangkok campus, which opened in 1993, and using its laboratory for its technical support. The laboratory in Thailand is one of seven in six countries, and the only full-service lab operating outside of the United States. The new premises house both the laboratory and the teaching facility, which can accommodate 100 students.