Team Gem Hunt
Gemstoneuniverse exclusive interview of Ron LeBlanc-Gem Hunt by Travel Channel
CHEVY CHASE, MD – Without risk, there’s no reward! The gem business is not for the faint of heart. In this ‘buyers beware’ market, even years of knowledge and experience can fail during any given moment.
Owning a real Gemstone is a privilege but are you aware what goes behind the scenes?
TRAVEL CHANNEL’S NEW ORIGINAL SERIES “GEM HUNT” GOES INSIDE THE DARING AND UNPREDICTABLE WORLD OF THE GEM INDUSTRY, TREKKING TO SOME OF THE MOST EXOTIC AND REMOTE REGIONS AROUND THE GLOBE.
Series Follows Veteran Gem Dealer Ron LeBlanc and His Team of Experts as They Navigate Through Mines, Markets and High-Stakes Negotiations in Search of the Biggest and Best Gems
RON LEBLANC’S TOP GEM MARKETS IN THE WORLD
“For me, the best markets are on the street, battling with the locals. They have their own rules and they can be as wily as any professional. You need a jungle sense to know when to cease all action, or double down with arrogance to pre-empt the dash to your sack of money. The street has always been where it’s at for this gem hunter.”
LeBlanc is on the hunt for a perfect star ruby in one of Vietnams local village markets.
The Streets of Bogota, Colombia
I love the palpable danger of buying on the street in front of the emerald mart. There are synthetics everywhere. If you are the least bit afraid, they will sense that and move in.
In an exclusive interview to Gemstoneuniverse, Veteran Gem Dealer RON LEBLANC from Travel Channel’s new original series, “Gem Hunt.” Answers some pertinent questions:
Gemstoneuniverse: What are the top parameters for judging quality of a colored gemstone?
RON LEBLANC: Whatever the gemstone, be it rare or common, color is everything...and it must be beautiful. Of course cut, caratage and clarity (relative to the stone) matter.... but color, and the beauty of the color, is paramount.
Gemstoneuniverse: What are some of the important facts that the seller must disclose about colored gems to the buyer at the time of sale?
RON LEBLANC: Authenticity, any treatments must be declared, the provenance if known, and the comparative price.
Gemstoneuniverse: What are some of the most baffling colored gemstone treatments that you have encountered?
RON LEBLANC: Fake stones that are made to look like rough are very tricky. Sophisticated emerald synthetics from Russia are almost impossible to tell. I have seen Vick’s Vapor Rub bottles cut into sapphires shapes...it’s a beautiful blue color. I have seen painted stones. Fake inclusions that are put in synthetic cut and rough stones to make them look real. Reconstituted or diffusion (a manipulation of color that only goes a little below the skin of the stone). Doublets, triplets...part glass or colorless layers that fool a refractometer. So many......so tricky.
Gemstoneuniverse: Can an average Joe/ a common man, who does not have too much of disposable income treat gemstones as an investment option ( aside of gold/ stocks etc.)?
RON LEBLANC: Absolutely not...anyone who claims that stones are a concrete investment with liquidity is exaggerating. Though I believe that for individuals with a large portfolio, who can take a ‘punt’ and that, have a wise professional buying for them, then a calculated risk can be very profitable.
Gemstoneuniverse: What are some of the biggest risks involved in procuring gemstones, considering most of them are found in countries with hostile terrain and a variety of governmental sanctions?
RON LEBLANC : Buying fakes is the biggest risk. It is impossible for the layman to buy. Theft is big in many countries. You need jungle/street sense. You need security and local intelligence. Carrying money and gems in and out of countries is also very tricky. You must stay within legal parameters that are particular to each country.
Gemstoneuniverse: Which are the top ranking colored gemstones whose value has been appreciating significantly year after year?
RON LEBLANC: Certainly the big three – ruby, emerald and sapphire – when they are the highest quality have held and increased their value year after year. And to a less radical degree aquamarine, tourmaline, spinel and other colored beryls and corundum. For instance, pink sapphire is becoming very expensive. There are types of tourmaline such as Paraiba, red Burmese spinel, Santa Maria aqua or big demantoid garnets that are going crazy in price. The culminating feature, affecting this juncture of the gem sector, is that there are a lot of external forces that are moving prices...not the least is the emerging economies of the East.
Gemstoneuniverse: What motivates you to be a Gem Hunter despite the odds?
RON LEBLANC: Candidly, it is the animating forces of beauty...and the feeling of grace that comes from finding treasure.
New episodes of “Gem Hunt” air Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Travel Channel (USA).
“GEM HUNT” is an original series that reveals the inner workings of the international gem trade business, following a team of expert veteran gem dealers/Gemologists – Ron LeBlanc, Diane Robinson and Bernie Gaboury – as they travel to gemstone-rich remote trading regions in search of big, high-profit gemstones for their clients. Starting off in Vietnam, this intriguing, fascinating look at gem trading gives viewers a firsthand experience of the high-stakes industry as the team maneuvers through mines, markets, local dealers, government policies and tense negotiations. As the series shows, it’s not a profession for the faint of heart – it requires patience, quick instinct, expert negotiating skills, a deep-rooted understanding of various cultures and a charismatic personality. Featured locations include Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Zambia.
Click the Travel Channel Logo to view the fascinating episodes of Gem Hunt
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