Having always had an obsession with gemstones for as long as I can remember; there are things that I just know when I am looking to purchase gemstones. Whether they are in finished pieces of jewelry, loose bead shaped, polished pendants or stones in their raw form. It was enlightening to me when it was recently pointed out to me, that while I may just know a lot of people don’t know. They are purchasing gemstones without any of the knowledge that I learned as a child and have always just seemed know.
Today, I thought I would share what I know and look for when shopping for gemstones. While this is by no means everything there is to know about gemstone when considering a purchase. It will assist you in making wise choices and avoid costly mistakes. Like purchasing manmade cat’s eye that is being sold as tiger’s eye gemstones.
Here are my Top Ten things to know when purchasing gemstones:
1.) Natural or genuine – this term is applied to all gemstones that have not been altered. What is referred to as altered is chemical or heat treatment that alters the stone. Gemstones that have been polished and drilled are still considered natural.
2.) Pricing – will fluctuate, as gemstones are the same as any other industry. Supply and demand drive the prices down or up, depending on the current market trends.
3.) Synthetic gemstones – are manmade stone created in the laboratory. The two most common and easily identifiable are goldstone and cat’s eye stones. Yet there are many others on the market.
4.) Four C’s – cut, color, clarity, carat – while this grading system is actually the grading system for diamonds when shopping it is something to keep in mind regardless of what gemstone you are purchasing. Gemstones do not actually have a grading system, however a reputable dealer will show you the differences and explain why prices for the same stone vary so widely.
5.) Reputable dealer – finding one can be difficult, but ask around and you will find one. This is extremely important if you plan to make a habit of purchasing gemstones. A reputable dealer will disclose how the stones have been treated.
6.) Irradiation – is used to bring out the color and remove what some consider imperfections.
7.) Dye – clear stones are dyed to recreate the color the color in the stone that people are most used to seeing.
8.) Heat Treatment – Many stones are heated at a very high temperature to deepen the color tone in the stones.
9.) Coatings – common coatings include oil, wax and petroleum.
10.) Ask questions – I cannot stress this one enough. Ask questions and keep asking until you are satisfied. Yet, if shopping for handmade artisan jewelry, be understanding that we have the same problem with our suppliers and occasionally will not know with 100% accuracy if the stones have been altered.
The Federal Trade Commission requires jewelers to inform customers whether a gemstone has been altered in a lab or not. As a handmade jewelry artisan we try are best to know this information and add it when listing our jewelry creations.
Copyright 2011, EntwinedVinesJewelry