Forums Cutting Material and Identification Trusted Rough Sellers

  • Trusted Rough Sellers

    Posted by OpalAddict on July 7, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Hey Everyone
    I have seen so many articles, forums and blogs where people order rough material online and then don’t get what they are paying for. I was wondering if you all have trusted sites or sellers that deliver what you pay for. I appreciate your time and help!


    tucsonbear replied 6 years, 9 months ago 10 Members · 24 Replies
  • 24 Replies
  • markaoros

    July 8, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I have full refund return policy,

    Best regards,


  • Alan Balmer

    July 8, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    I’ll repeat what I said in another topic:

    Why Ebay? There are plenty of honest, reliable suppliers of rough who have been in business for years. Many of them are USFG members. It’s probably not appropriate here, but send me a message and I’ll get you a list of suggestions.

    Give me your email address, and I’ll send a few suggestions.

  • OpalAddict

    July 8, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Thank you guys so much for your time and info. I am really new at all this and can’t express enuf how appreciative I am for your help.
    Thank you

  • Gregory Hays

    July 8, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Ed,

    My wife and I have been Ebay power sellers for many many years. She has been a GJG, GIA since 1995 and I have done lapidary related work in our business for more than 14 years, faceting only in the last four years.
    Not all Ebay members are out to take advantage of the consumer, with ebay and gem rough I find through my own experience, that a piece of rough you win for $1.99 coming from Thailand is probably just that a piece of $1.99 rough.
    Research the ebay gem rough sellers with the tools ebay offers and build a list of gem dealers to pursue more information about to put in your ebay trusted list. I personally do not purchase any rough on ebay from outside the United States only because there’s little recourse you have and then the hassle out ways the reward in that what was to be a great piece of rough. An another reason is, we travel regularly to and from these gem hubs and a mast majority of the reputable gem dealers over seas are not the ones you will most likely encounter on ebay. There is a filter on ebay to show just U.S. listings, send a message to the seller on an item your interested in and ask for their contact info, call them find out who they are, where they are, what is there return policy expectations truly not just the options that ebay allows for a seller, etc.

    I believe a great source is your local gem and mineral clubs, join ask other members into faceting where they get there rough. Like Al said many of us here sell and have some sort of access to gem rough. All you have to do is ask! The annual Frolics are a good source, I believe that in the newsletters they post which dealers will be at the Frolics and many of them travel extensively through out the United States doing trade shows. Go through the members directory here on the USFG and many of us list if we sell gem rough.

    Good gem rough is in high demand right now and prices are showing it.

    Just my Opinion

    Greg Hays
    The Gem Garden
    San Marcos, CA

  • OpalAddict

    July 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you for the info! I look forward to giving it a go!

  • Alan Balmer

    July 9, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Greg, that’s good advice regarding Ebay.

    Note that the membership list has it’s own search function, which searches all information members make available on the website. So, go to the membership tab and search for “rough” to get a list of everyone who mentions rough in their description.

    You can search for city, state or country, too. Maybe find a fellow faceter close by that you didn’t know about.

  • gemsbygregory

    July 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Hi another Greg here a more than just a little late in responding. But after having replacement hip surgery and a second surgery to implant a complete artificial shoulder and upper arm I am now “fit for service”. First I think most anyone who offers rough and are a member of the USFG without doubt will provide top notch service. And many, many people at Ebay or Amazon also offer fine goods and service BUT you still need to keep your eyes open and if buying offshore by checking their references and return policy. At my company Gems by Gregory we have been buying rough worldwide for more then 35 years. And yes upon occasion you get “taken” and what arrives is not as promised and with little or no provenance. To answer/address your note as to trusted rough sellers, we recently starting offering Montana Rock Creek Sapphire rough which we get directly, as a distributor for them, from Potentate Mining Ltd. For more information on us either please send me an email to or search here with the USFG site for people to cut and sell rough. Hope this has helped a little. I have always believed that most people are honest and life has been pretty enjoyable so far.

  • tucsonbear

    August 8, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I buy a lot of rough on eBay, with mixed results. A few of my lemon purchases are by home grown ‘merican sellers, but returns are not usually a problem. No problems so far with international sellers, except for the long shipping time. I prefer to buy rough in person, “eyes-on”, and am blessed by living in Tucson, with ready access to the shows, but it can get dry between shows.
    As far as eBay goes, know your material, and take descriptions (and pictures) with a grain of salt. Lots of synthetics are being sold as 100% natural. I even saw one a few days ago that looked like the guy took a handful of garnets, and somehow fused them together into a large block with square edges!

  • steveerichards

    August 13, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    “go to the membership tab and search for “rough” to get a list of everyone who mentions rough in their description”
    Went to membership but couldn’t find search.

  • Alan Balmer

    August 14, 2017 at 12:51 am

    You’re right, the member search seems to have disappeared. I’ll look into it.

  • Alan Balmer

    August 14, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for reporting this, Steve. The search may have disappeared after an update. Our webmaster is looking into it.

  • JTheesfeld

    August 15, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    TMS Gems Thomas Schneider
    Establish a business rep. with them. They will send you quality rough you can select and return what you do not want. You get what you pay for. If you are looking for $1.99 deal on e-bay, you are gambling your money away. TMS is quality and dependable with one of the best selections anywhere. Other than that, going to gem shows and inspecting the available rough myself, has been my best bet.

  • keithshaw

    August 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Alan, just wanted to let you know that the search is back on the membership page, but you can’t search in the description. It only lets you search member name, level and machine used. Might be something to bring up to the webmaster.

  • Alan Balmer

    August 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Yep, we’re already on him to get this back to what it used to be.

  • tucsonbear

    August 31, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Another source many people ignore is native cut gems for recutting. I often buy handsful of native cut garnets at the Tucson shows for just a few dollars.
    I just bought a Swiss blue topaz on eBay this last week. The cutting is poor, the polish is worse, but it is 29 x 17mm, and weighs a little over 41 carats. VVSI, and plans are to recut to a smaller and more standard size. The price? $33 delivered.
    You will have a hard time finding a piece of rough big enough to cut this stone at this price. BONUS: it’s already preformed!

    • micra

      September 1, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      @tucsonbear are you sure it’s topaz??? 😉

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