Online sellers via trade key and alibaba, the PROS and CONS and the way to make these websites work for you.
1-scammers,some ways to identify
a-ip address originating country does not match the country that the person says that they are in. You will never find a real supplier or broker of rough diamonds with an ip address that doesn’t match their stated country of origin.
b-they will sign contracts and ship the rough to you for a price, sounds great, no travel costs, all the work is done, they will show you a great manifest…..THIS IS ALL FALSE, no supplier will ever ship you goods without prior inspection and or travel to said country.
c-They are on a trade website. 99.9 % of these guys are scammers, the key is how to make the scammer work for you..
d-Rough diamonds are always (almost always at least, if you are going through a legitimate large company such as DGI or DeBeers then you can trust their manifests, if they give you one, with no worries) sold in mixed parcels. Meaning that you will get the good with the bad. Almost all of these “suppliers” on these trade sites will promise you rough diamond parcels with the highest quality and the largest stones only. If a seller actually did this, he would sell off his best quality stuff and be stuck with the garbage stones, they don’t normally like to do that. Every parcel that I have ever purchased has had good and bad stones and this is where an expert comes in. If you have an expert in rough ID with cutting experience, he can give an approximation of the value of the parcel, with that you can calculate your profit margin and negotiate from there. With my buyers, I have always used the Adtec price list as my baseline for rough prices, some buyers like this and some do not, it depends on the buyer. The seller will almost always tell you that this is not a reliable price list and that they are too low, but remember they are there to maximize their profits, not yours. In short, only scammers offer the best of the best unless they are representing a large and well known diamond company.
2-If 99.99% of these sellers on these trade websites are scammers, then why go on these sites.
a-there are always those .01% that are out there, and surfing these trade sites is free, there is no travel cost per day and no risk of getting sick, kidnapped or whatever else can happen out in the bush in Africa.
b-While most of these supposed sellers are scammers, there are a percentage of them (probably 10%) that work as brokers for actual rough suppliers or for another direct broker to an actual rough supplier. This means that they can make a rough purchase happen for, usually, a commission between 1-2% of the sale price. I have done this with these trade sites and it worked well. To find out if they can set this type of a meeting up, just ask them. If they get offended and call you a liar etc, they probably can’t help, but if they agree and give you some contact info in the country you are traveling, it is worth checking into. On a sub-note, never let these guys know the exact month, day or week that you are arriving, they will track the airports and try to find out where you are staying etc. They may try to tell you that you must have a referral for a visa into their country, this is usually not true. I have been to many of the African nations and have been told this many times by brokers or rough suppliers on the ground but have never needed a referral for a visa. Most African nations let you get a visa at their own airport while for some you must apply at your nearest consulate and wait. There are also websites that can handle all your visa needs for a price. The easiest thing to do is to just check into the countries visa process through their local or closest consulate and go from there.
To sum this article up, while the supposed sellers on these trade sites are usually trying to run a scam on you, if you are a savvy buyer and can understand how they work, you can use a few of them to your advantage. Most of these guys are trying to scrape together a living without much opportunity and they will scam you if you let them, when confronted with the opportunity to make money the legit way, they will take it if they can.