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BUYING CHINA, Procced with extreme caution

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asianfire
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« on: December 20, 2010, 12:36:39 am »

I saw some posting complaining about buying from China. So I thought, I better start a new thread.

First: please include Hong Kong and Taiwan too. I live in Hong Kong and I would never knowingly buy anything online from those two places plus China.

You see people posting adds on Ebay from Hong Kong or Taiwan, the chances are 90% that they are situated in China and the rest has their goods there. I often ask Hong Kong sellers about reducing their outrageous shipping-charges. And the answer is always the same; Sorry, we ship from China, hence we can not give any discount.

Pietersite from China: Sorry guys, you are 3 years too late. There was some wonderful material available then (see my post about “Christmas present to self” earlier this morning as example). But that was a time when there where less than 500 posts available on Ebay, incl. African material. Today, even the two sellers that I have come to trust are selling 99% rubbish, and one of them for outrageous prices.

Turquoise: I have never seen anything come out of china that would have been worth your while. Most of it is known here in Hong Kong as re-constituted material. Powdered and then put together again. Because its soooooo common, our jeleryshops here in Hong Kong have to give special certificates for natural ones, otherwise it is automatically presumed fake.

Jadeite:
WAKE UP GUYS,
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN AND THERE NEVER WILL BE JADEITE FROM CHINA!!!!!!!

In the 12th. Century, trade was banned with Burma. For the next 300 years, there was no Jadeite available in China. So look at history and you can easily see that there is no natural deposit of that stuff in China. Nephredite (sorry cant spell that one right), YES, Jadeite, NO WAY. They do a lot of trade with Burma, and claim to have gotten the stuff from Burma before the embargo, but its an open secret that millions of dollars change hands at certain state organized fairs, several times a year (same for rubies and other stones).

Sometimes, I go to our local jademarket. I usually stay far from the happenings and watch old guys buy for themselves, just to find out who has some sorts of quality. Even with that, I have to have a good feel in order to get quality. That was hard at a time when I was collecting antique jade and had the stuff in my hands every day. Now, I have given up, because the quality standard is so low, and antiques?????....  forget it there is nothing real there any more.

In the early 1990's, Hong Kong was flooded by illegal hawkers (smugglers). At the time, I would reserve Friday early evening, just to go to certain areas and stand and watch. When police came round the corner, people would run. That's how you found out as to who was worth visiting. Later when they came back, I had a look at their wares, and then waited again. When the police came yet again, I would be close by, take the piece that I wanted and offered my price. Being in a hurry to make themselves scarce, usually, they agreed very quickly and left. 

That's how I got the bird and the praying person in the pictures.
Later testing confirmed the age of the items:
Bird ; Hungshan-Lungshan period 1800-2600BC
Praying man: around 12th.century

But that was then, a long time ago, today?????............


So in the end, ONE MORE TIME,
WE IN HONG KONG DO NOT BUY FROM HONG KONG OR CHINA ONLINE, AND UNTIL EBAY OR OTHER SITES IMPROVE THEIR QUALITY_CONTROL, NEITHER SHOULD ANYONE ELSE.

PROCEED WITH EXTREME CAUTION!!!!!!!!


Greetings, Kurt

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hulagrub
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 06:00:23 am »

Great Info. Thanks!
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 08:36:30 am »

I am the one who posted the most strong warnings about China.

I need to add that you should only very cautiously buy stone even from new sellers on Ebay.  Even with due dilligence I paid $1399. for ONE 140 pound ,1 3/4 to 2 inch thich slab of Nephrite Jade, that was supposed to have been found in a location I want to have Jade from.   I got 124 pounds in two slabs that are so badly massacred in how they were cut that they are not even worth $650., despite being from the proper site.  They were glued together with thin wood strips that the seller explained were cuts part way through the slab!  The photos looked to show a cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch deel around the slab that looked to be cut for some way to mount and display the claimed 140 pound piece of Jade.

By due diligence I mean I had the seller send additional photos; questioned how he knew where the Jade was from and expressed my concern about buying from him as he had no sellers feedback.  He provided believable answers  and extra photos that left me feeling a bit concerned but I decided to go forward and take the risk.  So, only buy from new sellers with PayPal too.  I will let you know if I get even part of the $1,399. back as I have filed a fraud claim.

I have reached the point that I will probably only buy from sellers I currently know to be honest or at shows where I can inspect the stone before handing over money.
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2010, 09:59:14 am »

About 5 years ago, I bought quite a few specimens from China, mainly from one dealer that had like three ebay stores.  I got what was advertised and got some really nice stuff.  Shipping was expensive but they always gave me a decent deal as i would order like 5 to 10 items at a time.  I believe he is still on ebay.  I was always impressed by the packing job they did.  It would take me like 1/2 hour to get the package open.  I think you could have dropped it from the plane and the items would have been fine.  They would take styrofoam or dense foam and cut out specimen shaped pockets for each specimen.  They wrapped the specimens and then wrapped the whole package with a half mile of colorful duct tape.  Whatever shipping they used, would deliver on any day of the year.  I got packages on Sunday and even Christmas day once.  I love getting stone in the mail and to be able to get it 7 days a week was great.  Well, i don't buy specimens anymore, but i sometimes get the urge.

Kurt is right to be wary.  But you should be wary of everyone unless you have a history with them.  Paypal is a great deal to use and never pay with money orders.  There are also websites or blogs out there that list the latest scams.  You can search for things like green quartz or other things that they produce over in China that are fakes.  So do some research before you spend that hard earned money and be careful.

Mark
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2010, 05:46:17 pm »

Exactly!

Research is the key, but unfortunately its not foolproof and there are far too many people who leave positive feedback without knowing what they got. New sellers are no help this days anymore either because a lot of them have just switched names after cheating too many people. I know one case from India, where I found (and could prove) that the same seller was keeping 16 accounts, generating bids and feedback for its listings as well as outbidding genuine bidders to drive the price. Only after buying two diamonds that turned out better than expected (had them GIA certified in Hong Kong) I caught on to their ruse and reported it to Ebay with full documentation (I always keep pics and descriptions in listings while they are ongoing). I do not know what Ebay did, but I never heard back from them, and the last time checked most accounts of that seller are dormant but still in existence.

I agree with Mark, as I said in the post, a few years back you got sellers from China that where trying to build up a proper business. Quality was quite different, and any problems where solved at a moments notice. Without a doubt, China has huge mineral resources and there is a lot of interesting material. Its just so hard finding someone who wants to do honest business. Its hard enough when you are here, online only multiplies the whole problem factor.

Michael, you seem to be buying things that are way above my league, considering the cost. Would it not be worthwhile for you to visit China every few years and select items first hand? By the way, the location you are talking about; is it Hotan or Kunlun? Hotan jade price has gone absolute nuts, in the last few years. People sell farms (and according to a recent report: wives and daughters) to buy diggers in the hope to find something worthwhile.

Last but not least; America has wonderful jade-deposits. A lot of Hong Kong jewelry shops do not like to agree officially, but a lot of their wares are not jade (nephrite) from China any more. At least half of the material is from America or other places.
I for one,  love Montana black jade!

So in the end, I got a beef, not only with those cheats, but also with Ebay and Paypal who facilitate them. And yet, I still buy through Ebay! Go figure!!! dunno





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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2010, 06:17:59 pm »

My only extensive foray into eBay was with a lapidarist in the United States, Missouri, St. Louis to be precise, that had some of the nicest cabs I had ever bought at some of the most reasonable prices. I was buying one or two at a time for $2 or $3 apiece until one day I ordered an even $100 worth of cabs from him. It was the last I ever heard from him. The last a lot of others ever heard from him too. We all won our claim from Paypal but there was no money in his account, cleaned out. Some thirty of us lost our money with this guy. I guess that I won but it didn't do me much good if he didn't have anything in his account. I have tried a few stones from China and they were OK and the shipping free, so for $0.99 it was a nice stone but it took weeks to get here. I once bought some cabs from India and the best that could be said for them, nice preforms without free shipping and it took over four months to get them. I left less that positive feedback. I have just not had the best of luck with stones on eBay, jewelry tools have been kinder to me though, no sad tales there thankfully and cheaper than local even with shipping. So I feel that I did OK there as the tools were the same as my local supplier had and were much cheaper in price, no sales tax and no driving across town, just down to the mail boxes. Stones however are a whole different matter from off shore, if they're bad, how you going to get a refund? dunno
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2010, 06:29:39 pm »

I wish I could filter out all the Asian sources on e-bay

would save me a lot of time.

but hey, if I ever need Lead, I know I can get it from China (is there any Chinese product that *doesn't* have lead in it?)





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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2010, 06:44:42 pm »

I must have suggested a filter, every time I make a complain and obviously I am not alone.
I suppose Ebay would loose half their listings. yippie

Lead in toys is common, but look closer and you shall find foreign business behind it. dunno

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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2010, 08:02:51 pm »

Hey Kurt,

I found a company on-line that sells beads of all kinds.  They seem like
great prices compared to the shows I go to.  Just frustrated with the cost
of beads these days as I use a lot of them.  Where do the dealers at the shows
purchase their beads?  Are they all purchased in Asia?

This company is in Shanghai.  I guess I should only buy at shows where I
can touch and feel them.

Thanks for the heads-up.

Deb    shucks2
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2010, 08:41:38 pm »

Dear Deb,

Just try to get them to send them small quantities at a time. So any loss, will only be limited, and if it works then you are home free.  ura

The warning goes mostly out to those who spend a sizable amount for something.

Not everyone is bad, I am sure there is still a lot to be had from China. Its just that I have gotten absolutely fed up with the rubbish that I have gotten over the years and I am aware that I am not alone.
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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2010, 11:23:47 pm »

Hi Deb,

I don't use many beads, but this person is on the wire wrapping list I'm on.   She seems to have really good prices.  You may be familiar with her, but here's her website:

http://www.magpiegemstones.com/home.html

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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2010, 07:14:08 am »

Thanks you guys for all your input.  It's appreciated.
I will check out the website you gave me.

Have a great day.

Deb
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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2010, 07:54:10 pm »

I am always tempted to buy from China. I did buy a small item from them. I would never consider a large amout. I do wonder though, how do you buy from importers that require up to $3,000 or more to get you a good discount. I did always think that Pay pal was safe on being able to recover your money. I see that was wrong. In most retail businesses, sharing wholesalers is not recommended, in the spirit of compitition, so trial and error can be costly. I have had good luck so far, so I will count my blessings.
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2010, 10:13:34 pm »

I use to purchase and collect Chinese snuff bottles. Especially enjoyed the inside painted bottles as well as the ones cut from various stone.

I purchased several from China, but went through reputable schools. Purchasing bottles from students excelling in the art of inside painting. That went pretty good and had a lot of fun collecting.

The purchase of the stone type bottles led to a dealer who also sold gemstone lots. I purchased quite a few times. We finally talked on the phone and placed a large order..

Placed three large orders back to back.. Several thousand various stones.

So my first experiences were pretty good ones.

Since getting into cutting my own stones though, it has been one disappointment after another when buying rough from China.

So rough is out, but I would buy Chinese snuff bottles again. I love the really old ones !!
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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2010, 11:25:52 pm »

TaoGem, Key words: Reputable, long term contact, patience and being willing to pay the price for quality, that's the way to go.

Cheaters are only in existence because most people ignore those factors and only look for the cheapest price.

I'm a cheapskate myself, I tried to collect snuff-bottles in the early 1990's, but then they became too expensive for me and with popularity a lot of fakes started to turn up, so I gave up.

I am willing to wait, but the price has to be right for my wallet. Unfortunately, that seldom works, but when it does it is well worth the while.

This head is from around the 15hundreds, I was only able to afford it because no-one else wanted it. I found it in one of our shops in 1993 run by a mainland Chinese who did not speak a word of English. It was advertised as late 17hundreds at US$1900. I did not have that kind of money, plus knowing as to how many fakes where around, I offered him US$400 based on outstanding workmanship and uniqueness (to date, I have not seen anything even similar). He naturally refused. From then on I came back to the shop every week, sometimes twice, and eventually after nearly 10 months, he gave it to me (I suppose at cost, to get rid of me and the piece) for a mere US$280. Testing confirmed the approximate age older than advertised. Actually, after 16 years, I am still trying to find out as to whom this face belongs to.


With that on mind;  Any history puffs out there????

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