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Buying a Gem



A Brief Synopsis

A gemstone is a mineral or fossilized organic material that can be cut and polished for jewelry. To qualify as a gemstone, it must have rarity, beauty, and durability. Color, cut, clarity and carat weight are important criteria for gemstones, precious and semiprecious. Well-known examples are diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Several organic materials like coral or pearls are also considered gemstones.

Gemstones, found in their rough state within the earth, are cut to enhance the naturally existing properties of the mineral or crystal. Many gemstones have natural inclusions or flaws. When examining gemstones, artisans determine the optimal cut to reflect the most light and enhance the tone and hue of the gemstone's color. Common shapes are round brilliant, marquise, oval, pear, heart, emerald and princess cuts. Cabochon (domed and without facets), and fancy cut (specially shaped) are unique options offered to consumers.

Gemstones can be found all over world. Minerals form beneath the earth's surface over millions of years under extreme pressure and/or heat. Only under certain circumstances will a mineral crystallize to form a quality fine enough to be deemed a gemstone.

The Four C's of Gemstones: Color

Color is the most important factor in determining the beauty and value of a gemstone. There are four main factors involved in a gemstone's color: hue, saturation, tone, and distribution.

Hue: Hue is the term used for the actual color of the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo or violet. The more pure a gemstone's hue, the more valuable it is. Because gemstones are composed of many naturally occurring elements, they typically emit one dominant color and one or more underlying colors.
Tone: Tone represents how light or dark a stone appears depending on how much brown, black, gray or white is present.
Saturation: Saturation is the intensity of brightness of the color. The more color saturated a gemstone is, the more valuable it becomes.
Distribution: Distribution is how evenly the color spreads out across the body of the gemstone.

Gem Colors

RED: Ruby, rhodolite garnet, rubellite (red tourmaline), spinel, and red beryl (emerald).

PINK: Kunzite, pink sapphire, tourmaline, topaz, morganite, and pearl.

YELLOW/ORANGE: Citrine, topaz, fire opal, amber, sapphire, fancy yellow diamond, and garnet

GREEN: Emerald, tsavorite garnet, peridot, tourmaline, chromium diopside, and jade

BLUE: Sapphire, aquamarine, iolite, tanzanite, blue topaz, turquoise, and lapis lazuli

PURPLE: Amethyst, tanzanite, iolite, and sapphire

BLACK: Onyx and black diamond

WHITE: Pearl and moonstone

BROWN: Topaz, champagne diamond, and chrysoberyl (tiger's eye)

COLORLESS: Diamond and quartz

The Four C's of Gemstones: Cut

The cut of a gemstone is another important criteria for evaluating its beauty and worth. A good cut should be proportioned to display a gem's depth of color and liveliness while revealing the fewest imperfections. Colored gems are either cut with facets, many angled sides as found with diamonds, or cut as a cabochon, a smooth dome without facets.

The Four C's of Gemstones: Clarity

Clarity is defined as the absence of inclusions (internal flaws) or external imperfections. Almost all gemstones contain some degree of blemishes. Flawlessness in colored gemstones is very uncommon and valuable.

The Four C's of Gemstones: Cut

Color is the most important factor in determining the beauty and value of a gemstone. There are four main factors involved in a gemstone's color: hue, saturation, tone, and distribution.

The Four C's of Gemstones: Cut

Color is the most important factor in determining the beauty and value of a gemstone. There are four main factors involved in a gemstone's color: hue, saturation, tone, and distribution.

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