Because gemstone jewelry offers so much variety, the choices can sometimes be overwhelming. Let us help you navigate your options and select the perfect piece of gemstone jewelry with the following gemstone jewelry buying guide.
What Is a Gemstone?
Most broadly defined, a gemstone is any mineral or rock that is used as a part of jewelry pieces. Many gemstones that are used in jewelry are naturally occurring, but some can be created, or re-created, in a laboratory.
Evaluating a Gemstone
If you’re familiar with the “four Cs” used to classify and evaluate diamond jewelry, then you’re already on your way to understanding gemstone jewelry evaluation! The “four Cs” of gemstone jewelry buying are: color, cut, clarity, and carat weight.
While a diamond is generally most highly valued for use in jewelry if it is colorless, a gemstone is generally most valued for vivid color. The color range available in gemstone jewelry is almost endless. With this much variety, it’s important to compare gemstones to others of the same type in order to evaluate color. A blue topaz and a blue sapphire may both be shades of blue, but the shade and depth of color is not – and should not be – the same.
The way a gemstone is cut will determine the way it appears in the jewelry it is placed. While a diamond is cut in order to maximize its brilliance in a jewelry piece, a gemstone should be cut to maximize its color. Shapes for gemstones include many traditional jewelry cuts, such as round, oval, princess, and pear. However, there is a wide range of beautiful gemstone cuts available in fine jewelry.
All natural gemstones include flaws, or inclusions. It makes sense that a gemstone with fewer flaws is considered more valuable for use in jewelry. The visibility of the flaws is also important; will you be able to see the flaws in your gemstone jewelry or would it require jewelry magnification to see them?
Gemstone Carat Weight
Carat weight indicates the size of the gemstone used in the jewelry piece. A larger stone generally is more expensive. Because the different structures of various gemstones affect their densities, gemstones may be listed by size instead of weight for comparison purposes. The size of stone that’s right for your jewelry piece will depend upon the look you want to achieve.