Gemstone Jewelry Basics: How to Buy the Perfect One
By TOI Team May 19, 2023 Update on : May 19, 2023
People wear jewelry for various reasons, including self-expression, cultural traditions, fashion, and social status symbols. For many, these accessories can also hold sentimental values unique to an experience, an occasion, or a special person. Some may even see them as lucky charms. Either way, jewelry pieces are significant possessions you can have.
Suppose you’re a newbie who wants to buy jewelry and is eyeing pieces with gemstones. It’s easy to pick pieces that catch the eye without thorough assessments if you’re unfamiliar. Remember that you’re investing for them, so you should have a basic knowledge of gemstone jewelry.
Buying the perfect gemstone jewelry means knowing how to spot good quality pieces. Before purchasing online or in physical jewelry stores, read this beginner-friendly guide on gemstone jewelry so you don’t put your money to waste.
Understanding Gemstone Types
Some popular gemstone types used in jewelry are diamonds, emeralds, moonstones, rubies, sapphires, garnets, and amethysts. Knowing them helps you understand their value and quality because each type differs in rarity and demand, influencing its market price. This way, you will know you’re paying a fair price, guaranteeing their worth and durability.
Gemstone types can also be associated with symbolism and meaning, which could be why you want to buy one. For example, diamonds are common in engagement rings because they are believed to symbolize love and commitment, while rubies may bring good fortune and happiness.
No matter how you view certain gemstones, they can be an ideal investment you will leverage in the future.
The Four Cs of Gemstones
In gemology, gemstones are subject to grading under the four Cs: color, clarity, cut, and carat. Gemologists use this criterion to identify the gems’ properties, which determine their quality. It doesn’t necessarily mean one gem is better than others, but rather, a basis that will help you choose the perfect gemstone jewelry for your preference.
When purchasing, expect the jeweler to elaborate on a gem’s four Cs. Here are some explanations to get an idea of what they mean:
Gem colors are assessed based on hue, tone, and saturation. Hues are the pure colors from primary (red, blue, yellow), secondary (purple, green, orange), and tertiary colors (a mix of primary and secondary). They don’t contain neutral colors (black, white, and gray).
Neutral colors are instead found in the tones because they refer to the hues’ lightness or darkness. Meanwhile, saturation is the hue’s intensity, showing whether the color is strong or soft. From these assessments, gems with expensive values usually present rich colors and pure hues.
Color grades in diamonds work differently. A diamond’s value increases when it is more colorless, which is also distinguished by transparency differences.
Gemstones have inclusions, which are trapped materials as they form. They can be hollow areas, mineral bits, or fractures that interfere with the light’s free passage. These aspects are what determine a gem’s clarity grading.
High-valued gemstones are referred to as eye-clean. The more eye-visible the inclusions are, the lower the value. However, it may still depend because of the 10X magnification that quickly finds the tiniest inclusion.
Cuts highly affect the gemstones’ appearances, making them the most challenging properties to assess, especially for non-professionals like you. Nonetheless, you can still conduct some brief assessments.
Most gems are carved into eye-catching freeform shapes, but regular shapes are typically prioritized. You must look into the symmetry and polish if you’re going for the latter. When magnified, the gem should be mirror-like. It has poor polish if it’s not.
Another way to see how cuts impact the gem is by comparing two similar types. Choose those with similar sizes and colors and put them next to each other. Their brilliance will tell you how the cutting was done.
Small gemstones are more common than larger ones. For this reason, the carat is used as the measuring unit for gems. This unit is used to determine the gemstones’ weight, defining the potential price they will hold in the market.
Authenticity, Appraisal, and Insurance
If you’re investing in a gemstone jewelry collection, you must ensure that the pieces you buy are authentic. You wouldn’t want to waste the hard work you put into saving money to afford them. This is why jewelry appraisals exist. These appraisals are necessary, especially if you want to insure or sell them in the future.
You can do appraisals yourself, but your skills and expertise may be limited, so it’s best to get them professionally done. Appraisers will use the four Cs to determine your gemstones’ worth. They will also consider the age, condition, and damages, requiring you to perform proper care and maintenance.
Insuring your gemstone jewelry may require these appraisals. They are detailed evaluations of the pieces where appraisers put the retail, replacement, and wholesale values. These numbers will determine how much insurance you can get from them.
If you already have a gemstone jewelry collection or pieces you want to insure, you can find jewelry insurance information from insurance companies, appraisers, online resources, and jewelers. Get them secured so you can replace them or be reimbursed if damaged, lost, or stolen.
Make Informed Decisions When Buying Gemstone Jewelry
Gemstone jewelry comes with a price, so ensure you buy the best ones using this beginner’s guide. Being an informed consumer can provide benefits when you know what to look for. Moreover, you can secure an investment to help your future life when needed.