You have many choices for buying loose gemstones. If you cannot afford to travel to Asia to shop for genuine items there are legitimate and reputable places online where you can buy these items. Here is more information on finding the best items possible.
You most likely will want to buy genuine precious or semi-precious gemstones. You can get these from a supplier online or you can buy them in person from a gemstone wholesaler. Another good option is to buy the at a trade fair.
Online suppliers will often have a wide range of shapes and cuts along with different karat weights available. The main way to choose where to get the stones is by considering if you are buying in bulk for general merchandise or if you have any specific clients that you are making jewelry for. If you are looking to sell pieces you make to specific clients, try to buy the loose gemstones through a wholesaler.
These individuals will have established clientele, they can give you their references and bring the stones to you to view before you buy them. Another good source for loose stones is trade shows. You will need to take time examining the stones but this can give you greater confidence in the items that you end up buying.
Natural stones are not something you will find at a local jewelry store or in a mall. Most of the natural stones are found at jewelry manufacturers in Asia, but there are also many of these companies that have an online presence. This makes it possible to buy the same stones that other jewelers buy without having to travel.
The challenge with this option is finding a reputable dealer. You can find a good dealer by finding out if they deal in fine or commercial stones. Commercial stones have rough cuts, less-than-ideal color and are often heavily treated. If a dealer has thousands of stones to sell in bulk, you can assume that the stones they are selling are commercial grade.
Fine gemstones will have excellent cuts and color with brilliant clarity. If you are going to make mass-produced jewelry commercial grade may not be a bad choice. You also need to find out if the dealer sells on quality or price. Dealers that sell on price are usually selling lower quality stones.
Find out how long the dealer has been in the gemstone business. The longer they have been in business whether they are in Asia or not has a lot to do with what you can expect from them in terms of quality and service. Any company that cannot give the customer a pleasant experience or that does not sell quality stones will not survive.
Finding good gemstone dealers is something that takes time but it is worth the effort. You can do a good amount of research online and by looking through auction websites that have a good reputation for selling loose, quality stones to clients like you.