a VirtualTourist member from Istanbul
its world wide known Cambodian rubies emeralds are famous around the world. in my trip end of october i will stay in siem reap for 3 days and just want to buy some raw stones or jewelary as a gift. where u suggest me to buy in siem reap? but real ones please :)
The mines in Cambodia produce Saphires and most of the rubies or emeralds are either imported or fake. unless you are an expert on the stones, please be very careful in buying them and also please pay attention to the local law: uncut stones may be subject to some rules, it may be even illegal to export them.
here is a nice website which gives you good information
Be very, very careful when purchasing uncut stones, study as much about gems as you can, know how to recognise the real thing, and whatever you purchase you will be paying too much! Can't beat the locals at their own game.
I'm a geologist by training, and my advice to anyone thinking of buying gemstones on their travels would be to think very hard indeed about what they want to get out of the exercise.
If you like the stone/jewellery in which it's mounted and you gauge that it's something that will give your or your loved one pleasure, then by all means go ahead and buy it. However, buying stones as an investment is quite simply a stupid idea unless:
a. you are a knowledgeable gemmologist (or solicit the input of one you know and trust, which would probably mean that they'd have to travel with you) to authenticate the stone and/or
b. you get a certificate of authentication from a reputable body (diamond certificates issued in terms of the Kimberley Accord are the best known examples). However, bear in mind that if stones can be faked, it's even easier to fake a certificate.
I recently came back from a trip to Cambodia in October this year and I wanted to look at some precious stones since Cambodia is known for having sapphires, emerals and ruby mines. So the guide took us to a store called CITY GEMS, located in Siem Reap. He told us the store was guaranteed by the Cambodian Government and that we should be very careful about buying stones anywhere else. The day we went was the last day we were staying since we were taking a flight to another place that same day so I didnt even bothered checking on internet about them, however when I came back home and enter in the internet their name, horror stories of people that have been scam started surfacing, I read about people that went and had their jewelry appraised and found out it was only colored glass. I contacted my travel agency whom with their local contacts went to the store and they told me to send the stones back that they were refunding only 50%, I told them that I didnt think there was a need for me to pay a courier to send those pieces of glass back and that since they are fake they should refund me 100% my money back, we bought a set of what were suppossed to be sapphire and another emerald set. I wrote to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I have sent already 3 emails with no response from them which to me is a lack of respect because these people are doing this to tourist and they are not putting a stop to those thieves, I am very upset and want my money back which I am still struggling to get, but definitely I wanted to get the word out so people can be aware of these scam, and not to go to this store and be careful if shopping precious stones in those countries I asked them to give a certificate and they said they will send it with the guide but all they sent was a card saying basically nothing, but not a certificate from GIA or else, all I have is my credit card receipt and those cards they sent.