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Gemstones Guide

» Gemstones Guide

Precious gemstones – Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald Semi-precious gemstones – Agate, Alexandrite, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Beryl, Citrine, Garnet, Opal, Spinel, Tanzanite, Topaz, Turquoise, Tourmaline, Zircon, Peridot When purchasing a gemstone there are the five characteristics to consider: COLOR – The color of a gemstone it its most defining feature. When deciding upon a gemstone color it is important to look at its hue, tone, and saturation. The jewelry industry as a whole recognizes the highest quality gemstones by their green, red, or blue hue, a medium to dark tone, and saturated color. The most valuable gemstones exhibit a pure color and only slight hues of other colors in addition to their primary color. Tone represents the depth of the color, which can range from colorless to black. The tone of a gemstone is described as “light”, “medium-light”, “medium”, “medium-dark”, and “dark”. Color purity, or saturation, refers to the degree in which the gem is free of brown or gray hues. The gemstones that are most sought after show little gray or brown and are often referred to as having vivid or strong color saturation.

CLARITY – Gemstones form under unique circumstances and each individual gemstone is comprised of a combination of trace minerals that create identifying marks or inclusions in the gemstone itself. Gemstones that are flawless are very rare and valuable and even the most high-end gemstones are at least slightly flawed. The best value is found in gems that are lightly to moderately included.

SIZE – Gemstones can be cut into a round, square, oval, or pear shape. The carat weight of a gemstone is not necessarily an accurate gauge for a gemstone only because all gemstones have different densities. Two gemstones that have the same carat weight may actually have a different weight.

ENHANCEMENTS – Almost all gemstones available have been enhanced. Gemstones that have not been enhanced are very recognizable because of their incredibly high cost. Some enhancements are an expected part of the polishing and finishing process and are accepted by the jewelry industry as a whole. Almost every ruby or sapphire that you would find has been heated. Heating completes a process that nature started, which is to enhance the gemstone to brilliant colors of blues and reds. Placing emeralds in oil has been going on for centuries and fills tiny fissures in emeralds to make them even more beautiful.

CUT – Color saturation determines a gemstones cut. A greater color saturation requires a shallow cut, while less color saturation requires a deeper cut. With gemstones you will not find an ideal cut that is geometrically configured for brilliance like diamonds. To determine if a gemstone is top quality or not, in terms of its cut, look at the setting and make sure that all the facets are symmetrical. An asymmetrical cut crown indicates a gemstone of low quality. A well-cut gemstone is symmetrical and reflects light evenly across the surface and the polish of the stone is smooth without any nicks. CABOCHON – a highly polished, convex-cut, un-faceted style

Gemstones chart

Gemstone chart, gemstone guide, gemstone shape

Care of Gemstones

Gemstones should be cleaned with warm water, an ammonia based detergent, and a small brush. Always keep gemstone jewelry in a soft pouch and never let two pieces touch because scratching can occur.

Birthstone Chart

Use the chart below to learn about some of the unique qualities and ancient folklore associated with modern birthstones.

January Capricorn Garnet – This birthstone is most commonly a deep red. In ancient folklore, it was believed to have magical properties, assuring the wearer of love and faithfulness.

February Aquarius Amethyst – This relative of quartz can be found in varying purple tones. In ancient Greece, it was believed to protect one from the effects of wine!

March Pisces Aquamarine – In the same family of Beryl stones as emeralds, “aquamarine” means “sea water.” Reminiscent of the clear blue ocean, gazing into this lovely stone has the power to transport you to remote island beaches.

April Aries Diamond – Those with birthdays in April are fortunate to claim diamonds as their stone. Originating from the Greek “adamas,” meaning indomitable, diamonds were believed to offer protection and strength in the face of adversity.

May Taurus Emerald – Beloved and admired for their bold green hues, emeralds evoke wonder for the natural world. Sacred to the Goddess Venus, this stone has been linked to fertility and creativity.

June Gemini Pearl – A unique, organic process is responsible for the creation of pearls inside the shells of mollusks. While symbols of innocence in ancient Greece, today they have come to represent tradition and simplicity.

July Cancer Ruby – Derived from the mineral corundum, rubies can be more valuable than diamonds when flawless! Associated with royalty and the power of life, rubies have been highly revered for thousands of years

August Leo Peridot – The electric green of August’s birthstone makes for radiant and exciting jewelry. It is no wonder that this stone, found in lava, traditionally was associated with the sun and endowed with many mystical powers.

September Virgo Sapphire – A cousin of the ruby, Sapphires most traditionally are an intoxicating blue. Virgos can enjoy wearing a stone connected with vision, purity, and spiritual enlightenment.

October Libra Opal – Opaque white stones with rainbow color hues that dance upon the surface, the opal’s complexity can be breathtaking. In ancient times, opals were highly valued for their shocking beauty.

November Scorpio Citrine and Topaz – November offers a choice between two beautiful stones, citrine and topaz. According to ancient folklore, citrine connotes a sense of balance and well-being. Topaz, originating from the Sanskrit “tapas,” means to glow, and jewelry adorned with topaz does just that.

December Sagittarius Tanzanite – While Turquoise is often used as December’s birthstone, now celebrate this month with Tanzanite. Discovered in Tanzania in the 1960’s, no other gem has become so popular so fast. Found only in one hilly area of Tanzania, this striking, purplish-blue stone is a gem of rare beauty

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