Have you ever considered turning your hobby of collecting precious gems into a full-time, full-blown profession? You’ve probably seen some of the shows where professional gemstone hunters travel the globe in search for the rarest stones that are sold at local prices. These people often go to extreme lengths in order to obtain the most wanted samples from the best sources, be it a deep mine in Argentina or the street markets of Tibet. The majority of hunters work on commission, fulfilling orders of purchase for a set of exclusive clientele, but many gem hunters work purely for themselves, re-selling their findings and purchases on the open market for a big profit.
There’s potential to make a lot of money from gemstones, but it takes hard word, knowledge, skill and dedication if you wish to make a successful living from hunting down precious stones. As with any financial investment, gemstones require proper research and great deal of common sense. You need to know the ins and outs of the international gem market, and constantly compare the various prices of different gems circulating in global retail with those set by the local dealers and providers. A good overall insight in the general market, including rising trends and inflationary offset periods, is essential for any gemstone hunter. Before you can even start thinking of rushing off to some distant mine in the jungles of Panama, you’ll have to do your fair share of homework.
The most important factor is naturally paying the right price. Extensive digging into your targeted market is what determines your whole expedition. If the local price cannot justify a significant investment due to a low return when re-sold to your clients, you’re better off moving on to the next project. Every gemstone is traded on a slightly different set of standards and practices. Also, every location and market comes with a unique set of regulations, unwritten rules, and business conditions. What works in one part of the world could easily see you end up in a lot of trouble in the next location.
Again, do your homework. The global gemstone business can be a dirty one, and if you don’t exercise proper caution, you could lose more than your investment funds. Gemstone societies on the Internet and government listings of licensed sellers in hot spot areas are a good place to start your investigation.
The best prices come from primary providers such as mining operations. These companies find and cut the stones in their own house, meaning you won’t get a better deal on your desired gems unless you mine for them yourself. Buying in bulk will get you a wholesale discount, which is why many gem hunters team up and pool their resources in order to buy for as low as possible. If you can’t get access to the primary sellers, secondary vendors in the same area are your next best option. Prices will be a little higher, but still well below international retail. Working with a larger group is safer, means you can cover more ground on every expedition, gives everyone access to a bigger network of valuable connections, and is in the end more profitable for all parties involved.
Hunting gemstones for a living requires knowledge and cunning, as well as a will to go into regions where most investors wouldn’t tread. It can be dangerous work, but for many hunters, the danger is part of the allure. There’s certainly money to be made, but the real thrill comes from the hunt itself.