We love gemstones, especially in jewelry, but what do you know about them?
Precious vs. Semiprecious Gemstones
Precious gemstones are diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. These stones have been considered precious since the min-1800’s due to their rarity. All the other stones are considered semiprecious. However, this does not mean that precious gemstones cost more than semiprecious gemstones. Some jades and opals have been sold for over $1 million.
Natural vs. Lab-created Gemstones
Natural stones are created in and mined from the earth. However, sometimes the natural stone’s color and/or clarity are enhanced through a treatment process, such as heat.
There are gemstones being created in laboratories which look like natural stones. Opalite, diamonds, rubies and other stones are created using the same composition as natural stones to make gemstones more affordable.
Neither of these gemstone types should be confused with imitation gemstones. These stones are made using dyes, paint, foil, glass and various other materials. Cubic zirconia is an imitation gemstone.
What to Look for When Purchasing Gemstones
Color – A gemstone’s color varies in hue like the different shades of paint colors (i.e., yellow can be bright to dark to pastel). Hue, tone and saturation are aspects of color. The primary color of the gemstone is the hue. The lightness or darkness of the color is called tone. Saturation means the intensity of the color. Gemstones best color consists of bright, intense, pure and vivid color.
Cut – The cut of a gemstone affects its appearance, maintains maximum weight and optimizes it color and brilliance. A well cut gemstone comes alive in the light as it dances through the many facets in the gemstone.
Clarity – All natural stones have imperfections that can enhance or decrease the beauty of the gemstone. These imperfections are call inclusions and affect the transparency of the gemstone. Inclusions include spots, cavities, cracks, and fractures. Three types of clarity are transparent, translucent or opaque. A diamond, amethyst and quartz are transparent while an agate, moonstone and aventurine are translucent. Opaque gemstones include jasper, bloodstones, lapis lazuli, malachite and hematite.
Carat – (gemstone’s weight) One carat equals 200 milligrams or 0.20 grams (1/5 of a gram). The more carats, the more the gemstone weighs, and the higher the price.
All of these gemstone description deal with its appearance. However there is more to gemstones than appearance alone.
To learn more, call and sign up for our “Gemstones – Properties and Uses” class on Thursday, April 9. Go to our “News” webpage to learn more about the class.