Gemstones: Important Tips for Buying

Gemstones: Important Tips for Buying

Gemstones are mined from the earth or the ocean and there are many different kinds and colors. So how do you know what to look for when purchasing gemstone jewelry? This guide can help you through the selection process and ensure you love your gemstone purchase.

Precious versus Semiprecious Gemstones - Does it matter?
The terms ‘precious’ and ‘semiprecious’ were created by jewelers back when some gemstones were hard to find and considered rare. The most common of these hard-to-find gems were diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, making these some of the most sought-after - and also the most highly priced - stones, thus the classification as ‘precious’. All other gemstones were classified as ‘semiprecious’ by default as they were priced lower due to their wide availability. These classifications are used less and less today as all gemstones have become more widely available. When purchasing gemstone jewelry today you should pay attention to the following: color, carat weight, cut, and clarity.

Color:
With so many variations in gemstone color, you’ll want to compare a stone against another of the same kind. For example, compare a blue topaz to other blue topaz stones to determine the brightest, most vivid color. This is a little more difficult, but not impossible, when shopping online for gemstones. Many of the stones will look the same, but browse around and you'll start to see variations in colors. Gemstones that outshine the competition with bright, vivid colors are usually higher priced but also provide the most beauty. A stone with a less vibrant color - and at a less expensive price - is still worth considering if you aren't seeking the ultimate in top quality.

Carat weight:
Carat weight can be confusing for a lot of people, mainly because stones are made up of different chemical properties that affect their weight. Two stones of the same size - and that look identical - can have very different carat weights. It’s important to know the carat weight of a stone that you are considering buying, but you will often find the size of the stone to be equally important (and many jewelers list it.)

Cut:
A real benefit to buying gemstone jewelry is that gemstones can be cut in many different ways to show off their colors. This is different from diamond cutting, which is all about reflecting light out of the stone, and is typically done in very specific ways. The variety of options for cutting gemstones means that you can purchase a stone in a shape that you really love. The most popular gemstone cuts are: pear, princess, emerald, round, oval, marquise, and square.

Clarity:
Because gemstones originate in nature they are not perfect specimens. Some gemstones are known to have imperfections - called inclusions - while others are commonly found with few inclusions at all. Generally, a stone with few inclusions will be more valuable. Gemology experts, or gemologists, are trained to look for these imperfections in stones and use high magnification and rules for classifying inclusions to determine the value of a stone. Whether shopping in a store or online, your untrained eye is not likely to find these flaws, but you should expect a very high-priced stone to be exceptionally beautiful. Just like with carat weight, each stone is going to be different based on its chemical makeup. You may hear that emeralds are known for having imperfections, which is true, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a beautiful emerald cut to show off its beautiful green color.

BillyTheTree has a wide selection of gemstone jewelry, including birthstone rings, gemstone stud earrings, and gemstone pendants.