Buying gemstones? Know the nitty-gritty

Buying gemstones? Know the nitty-gritty


Deep red rubies, majestic green emeralds, mesmerising turquoise, brilliant sapphires—these are just some of the exquisite gemstones to be had. No matter what colour you pick, they are quite the delight to own. But how do you choose a good stone, one that will suit you too? Here are some tips to help you when you go shopping for precious stones.

How the gemstone will be used

It is important to know how you are going to use the gemstone is. Do you plan to set it in a precious metal? The type of jewellery you have in mind will also matter a good deal. Daily wear finger rings require stones that are much harder than those used in jewellery worn only on special occasions. The same principle applies to bracelets as well. Pendants, earrings and brooches may be created with just about any stone as their settings provide the hardiness you need. If you are looking to set the stone in a base, then look for the right calibration. This chart may be found with your jeweller.

What to look for in a gemstone

There are certain points you need to evaluate when making a choice of gemstones.

Colour: Naturally, the most important element to a gemstone is its colour. Gemmologists look into the hue, tone and saturation of a stone to determine its quality. A stone’s hue is at its best when it has the purest of primary colours in it. These are rare and expensive. Tone is a reference to the lightness or darkness of the colour. Deeper the colour, better the stone. The most important factor is saturation, or the amount of colour that is present in a stone. You may get a stone valued by a gemmologist to understand it better.

Cut and clarity: These are the next factors that go into the evaluation of a stone. The clarity of the stone is a reference to how clear it is on the inside and the outside. Lesser the number of inclusions or flaws, the better the stone is considered. That being said, an inclusion that does not damage the brilliance of the stone is perfectly acceptable. In fact, gemmologists are even able to determine the origin of a stone from its inclusions.

Cuts have facets or are non-faceted. Non-faceted stones have a smooth surface while facets add angles and shapes. These facets are created to enhance the brilliance of a stone. There are four kinds of cuts—brilliant, step, mixed and cabochon. The brilliant cut is the most popular.

Choose your stone based on the clarity and cut that you prefer.

Treated gemstones: There are a few methods that have been devised to improve the quality of stones. It is important to know that gemstones are rare and the industry is trying to cater to a nonstop demand for them. Heat treatments to fix fissures or fractures is a common practice, as is treating the stone to improve its clarity and colour. You may want to check on the antecedents of the stone before you invest in it.

If you shop for your stones armed with these tips, you may well be on the way to creating a piece of jewellery that becomes a family heirloom.


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