Types of Gemstones
The rarest, most valuable and, of course, the most expensive. Because stones grow underground, it’s natural for them to have impurities, also known as “inclusions”. Natural gemstones are divided into precious – diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds — and semi-precious which are all other naturally-formed stones.
Also known as lab-created since they are, well, made in labs. They are also considered natural since they have the same properties as earth-grown stones with the exception of the growing conditions. One thing difference between both types is that synthetic gemstones don’t have impurities since they haven’t been formed underground.
Artificial gemstones or imitations, which are usually made from glass, plastic, cubic zircona or other chemicals, resemble natural gemstones on the outside only. Sometimes, imitations may contain bubbles, have an uneven surface, and, like lab-created stones, they have no inclusions.
When buying gemstones, the following are things to look for to help you determine the quality and value of a stone:
When buying precious gemstones, the color is the first thing to consider. In natural stones, the color tends to be not as vivid as in synthetic or artificial stones. This is why precious stones are usually enhanced before they’re sold.
Natural gemstones with few to no inclusions are very rare and, therefore, sold at extremely high prices. However, stones with visible impurities may be lower in price but can still appeal to some because inclusions can sometimes add to the beauty of a stone.
While in a diamond the best cut is one that’s neither shallow nor deep, in other gemstones, the best cut is one that’s symmetrical, accentuates the gemstone’s color and deemphasizes inclusions.
- Carat and Size
Carat, equal to one fifth of a gram, is the unit for measuring the weight of a gemstone. However, unlike in a diamond, the carat isn’t as important as the size. Since the weight of a gemstone sometimes isn’t an indicator of its size, a gemstone is measured by size rather than carat using either the stone’s diameter or its length and width.
Most, if not all, gemstones undergo a number of enhancements before they’re sold to customers. Such enhancements include dyeing, heat treatment, irradiation, coating or filling. This helps the gemstones reach the right color and clarity as well as fix any visible defects.
These may just be the basics, but it still makes a world of difference to buy gemstones when you have enough background on their grading and value. It’s true that the outside appearance of a stone is what captures the eye, but it’s the real value that eventually lasts.