#Gemstones are classified into 2 categories – precious and semi-precious. Their values however, are not diminished by these classifications. While the traditional list of precious stones includes diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, today, stones such as pearl and opal are also included in that list. Amethyst was once amongst the precious stones, but was later reclassified as semi-precious after large deposits were found in Brazil and Uruguay.
Stones command high prices based on several factors, but mostly due to their extraordinary color or brilliance and extreme rarity. The traditional list of semi-precious gemstones is now rather long.
The rarest of semi-precious stones also command high prices. Amongst them are alexandrite, garnet, demantoid, tsavorite garnet, tanzanite, tourmaline, spinel and aquamarine gems; these can be just as expensive as ruby and sapphire.
The Mohs Scale of Hardness compares all stones to the hardness of a diamond, which is a perfect 10.
Amethyst: The Color for Kings
Amethyst is the purple sister stone of golden citrine quartz. One of the most precious gemstones within the
quartz group is Amethyst, colors ranging in from pale lilac to deep purple and is available in almost every cut, shape, and size. Purple Amethyst adds the perfect touch to any wardrobe.
Quartz stones can be classified into one of two branches, crypto-crystalline and macro-crystalline. The two varieties can be distinguished by transparency and luster. Amethyst is macro-crystalline.
Aquamarine: Gem of the Sea
Aquamarine is the same family as emerald (beryl), best known for its spectacular range of blue hues. Trace amounts of iron contribute to the beautiful blue of aquamarine. Very affordable, every jewelry collection should have at least one piece of Aquamarine.
Blue Topaz: Birthday Blue
With an 8.0 on the Mohs scale, Blue Topaz is the second most popular gemstone, second only to Sapphire. Blue Topaz’s highly refractive properties contribute to its popularity. Although topaz comes in many colors, Blue Topaz is especially popular due its affordability. This is a must-have in every girl’s jewelry collection!
Imperial Topaz: Gem of the Setting Sun
One of the most sought-after gemstones is Imperial Topaz, also known as “precious topaz”. Imperial topaz ranges from transparent to translucent—it is said to resemble the color of a beautiful sunset.17th century Russian Tsars were known to prefer Imperial topaz, thus its name. Imperial Topaz exhibits exceptional clarity with few occlusions. This gemstone is highly prized for its brilliance—Imperial Topaz is sophisticated jewelry for the discriminating taste.
Citrine: Versatile and Affordable
Citrine’s is believed to be the “stones of wisdom” and that they radiate positive energy. Citrine is often referred to as the “success stone” as well, promoting success, abundance and prosperity.
According to folklore, citrine is believed to dissipate negative energy, generating stability. It is believed that citrine brings happiness to those who wear it, relieving depression, anger, self-doubt and eradicating irrational mood swings, even heightening sensuality and sexuality. Add the brilliance of citrine to your wardrobe!
Emerald: The Symbol of Spring
One of the gemstones most sought after by women is Emerald-the most precious stone in the Beryl group. The breathtaking color of emerald is unmatched in the gem world. The most famous emerald mines were the Cleopatra Mines in Egypt. These stones will make a stunning statement in your fine jewelry collection.
Garnet: The Gem for All Seasons
Be the envy of all with garnet jewelry. Garnets come in many colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, blue, black, and pink. Most people associate Garnet as the brilliant red color with spectacular light transmission properties. The high-luster stones are glass-like and refract light beautifully! Garnets make beautiful engagement rings and wedding sets.
Opal: The Queen of Gems
Opals are a kaleidoscope of colors. The Romans believed opals to be the most powerful of all gemstones, while the Nomads believed that opals fell from the sky during thunderstorms and contained lightning.
No two opals are alike!At Mohs Scale 6.0-6.5, Opals are one of the most delicate of gemstones. Black opal comes from Australia and is the most precious of opals of the highest quality. It is known for its dark background with swirls of colors playing against it.Lighter opals, known as white opals, are a mix of stunning colors and are found at White Cliffs in New South Wales, as well as “the opal capital of the world”, the famous underground town of Coober Pedy in South Australia.Opals are the perfect accessory for any wardrobe, from jeans to cocktail hour! They dazzle when they capture the sunlight or moonlight!
Peridot: Soothing Green
Peridot has been used for jewelry for thousands of years due its hardness and durability at 6.5 on the Mohs scale, and is can be made in many types of jewelry. Its spectacular color emulates emeralds; however, Peridot is much more affordable. Peridot is an excellent choice for men’s jewelry.
Ruby: The King of Gems
There is not a woman on earth who doesn’t love Rubies. Ruby have been prized for centuries because of its excellent hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, and is one of the highest valued colored gemstones. Its luxurious deep red color and vitreous luster is spectacular. Ruby is a variety of corundum that gets its red color from chromium. Early Europeans believed that rubies assured prosperity, good health, wisdom and a successful love life. Rubies are stunningly beautiful with semi-formal and formal gowns.
Sapphire: The Jewel of the Sky
Natural Blue Sapphire gemstones are always in style. Sapphire, is one of the most wearable and highly valued gemstones. Blue sapphire is renowned for its brilliance and elegant blue color. Natural blue sapphire is used in everything, from engagement rings to earrings. Sapphire is every color of corundum except for red, which is ruby. When given as a gift, sapphires are said to enhance love, banish envy, jealousy and promote loyalty in marriage.
Tanzanite: The Jewel of East Africa
Whether you prefer white gold or yellow gold, either make the perfect setting for Tanzanite. This stunning gemstone is found only in Tanzania, East Africa. While other stones have standardized cuts and similar shapes, every tanzanite is cut differently. This maximizes every stone’s magnificence and unique color. It’s Mohs Scale of 6.0 makes it easy to work. It’s brilliance and faceting catch the sun’s rays beautifully.
Whether you are buying a single gemstone to have crafted into a unique piece of jewelry or several loose gemstones, they can be purchased from a wholesaler at a location near you or online. The very first rule is to always buy from a reputable dealer. The second rule is Learn your Gemstones BEFORE you buy. Learn the characteristics of the gems you are interested in and what to look for – study the quick tests to perform to determine authenticity. When you buy from reputable dealers, you can rest assured you are getting the real thing and not synthetics made in laboratories. They will provide you certificates of authenticity. Reputable online wholesalers will have plenty of loose gemstones for you to choose from, many different gemstone types, as well as a variety of shapes, cuts, sizes and colors in different carat weights.
Loose Gemstone Wholesalers
If you are in the jewelry design business you can buy from a gemstone wholesaler in the jewelry district near you. A common practice is for the wholesaler visit your place of business with his loose stones. Again, make sure you are dealing with a trustworthy wholesaler who will provide you the provenance of the stones.
Gemstone Trade or ‘Street’ Markets
Trade shows are also a great place to buy precious stones in bulk. It may be well worth your time to attenda trade show if you wish to take your time in buying stones.
Online Gemstone Retailers
Not everyone has the desire or time to devote at a gemstone market. If you follow the safety guidelines for shopping online, buying loose stone from an online dealer may be a good option. Look for a reputable retailer/wholesaler offering a good range of stones. Read the descriptions carefully, understand their return policy and shipping guidelines. Look for “verified Buyer” reviews to ensure the reviews are not scripted.
There are certain advantages and disadvantages to these purchasing options.
Pros and Cons
- They can bring their stones to your business for you to examine & inspect the quality
- When dealing in person, you develop a business relationship
- Negotiating a good price in person is a satisfying experience
- Your choices are limited to what the seller shows you
- Typically, you cannot buy only a stone or two
- You may not receive certificates of authenticity
Gemstone Trade Shows/Markets
- There is an extensive variety of stones from which to choose
- You can examine the stones and their quality
- Gemstones can be tested on-site.
- Negotiating a good price in person is a satisfying experience
- You are dealing with crowds which can be stressful and tiring
- It requires a lot of your time, including travelling to the show and deciding on which stones you want.
- You may not receive certificates of authenticity
- Sellers don’t provide a brick & mortar address
- Shady return policy
Online Gemstone Retailers
- Shop at your leisure
- No pressures, stress and hassle free. You are in control of your purchase at all times
- If you choose your online retailer carefully, you will more than likely have a HUGE inventory to choose from
- Low Shipping costs
- Purchases through your credit card issuer or PayPal are protected
- You cannot inspect the stones before they arrive
- You must wait on its delivery
- If you buy direct from a dealer, you have to rely on their integrity to uphold the return policy.
TAKING CARING FOR YOUR GEMSTONES
Your jewels are valuable -treat them with respect and care for them as suggested and they will bring you joy for many years, and even pass them down to your children and grandchildren:
Storing gems close together sill ultimately result in scratches and lackluster. Since gems vary in hardness, storing your jewelry separately, wrapped in silk, cloth, or velvet ensure preservation of the gemstones brilliance and prevent damage.
Store your jewels in a jewelry armoire and away from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Regularly check for loose gemstones; always remove it when engaging in activities such as planting your garden, washing dishes, etc. Jewelers suggest restring pearl or bead necklaces at least every two years (more frequently if you wear them often). This will the string from breaking and losing your pearls.
Do not expose your jewelry to chemicals, such as cleaning supplies or chlorinated water in swimming pools or soaps while showering. Chlorine can damage gemstones and soap residue leaves jewelry looking dull. Other products, such as hairspray or perfume can damage gems; always put your necklaces or pendants on last and take them off first when undressing.
Birthstones, Zodiac and Anniversary Stones
Birthstones are of special interest: The idea that birthstones possess healing properties and enchantment are especially endearing to those with a touch of imagination and romance.
Ancient astrologers looked to celestial bodies for answers, as to why certain gem stones imparted healing or magical powers. By wearing, holding or carrying the stone associated with the constellation under which you were born, they believed that the influence over your fortune in life is strengthened—based on the idea that there is harmony that exists between all things.
Aquarius January 20 to February 18
Garnets are mesmerizing. Their blood-red color is rich and elegant, adding class to any outfit. Regardless what cut you prefer, a ring, a necklace or bracelet fitted with garnets and diamonds is sure to please any woman!Gifts with garnet are appropriate for 2nd anniversaries.
Pisces (Feb 19 – Mar 20)The amethyst is an enchanting stone, promoting peace and tranquility, serenity and temperance. Amethyst has long been linked to royalty. Gifts of Amethyst are appropriate for 6th wedding anniversaries.
Aries (Mar 21- Apr 20)
Aquamarine is said to provide the wearer good health, love, youthfulness and hope. The aquamarine is often chosen as a 19th anniversary gift. Aquamarine and Emerald are of the same beryl family.
Taurus (Apr 21 – May 21)
Diamonds are synonymous with love, and eternal endurance.
From diamond chips too several carats, diamonds are loved by women the world over. The word is derived from the Greek word ‘adamas’, meaning invincible. Diamonds are gifted at the 10th anniversary and 60th.
Gemini (May 22 – Jun 21)
Emeralds are said to have healing powers and can heal a variety of illnesses, insuring good health for wearers. Some also believe in its magical powers to see into the future. Due to its hardness, 7.0, emeralds can be cut into a variety of shapes and sizes
Cancer (Jun 22 – Jul 22)
The pearl is often associated with romance, chastity and modesty. Pearls are believed to stabilize marriages. Mother-of-pearl, an alternative to pearl, is said to be a good gemstone for children. Alexandrite is an additional birthstone for June.
Leo (Jul 23 – Aug 23)
One can expect a peaceful life when wearing rubies—they are symbolic of harmony and peace.
Virgo (Aug 24 – Sep 22)
One must wear Peridot to be protected from evil and the forces of darkness. It is believed to increase the healing power of medicinal drugs and to have a calming effect.
Libra (Sep 23 – Oct 23)
Faith and purity will come to those who wear sapphire. It is said that the more brilliant the stone shines, the stronger its positive virtues. Sapphire is also said to convey the power of foresight into the future.
Scorpio (Oct 24 – Nov 22)
Opals represent hope, and the virtues of innocence. They are said to stimulate healing, and increase healthy emotions and friendship.
November Birthstone – Yellow Topaz, Citrine
Sagittarius (Nov 23 – Dec 21)
The power of healing is said to be held in cool topaz. The stone is associated with life and strength of body and mind.
(Dec 22 – Jan 20)
Native American Indians used turquoise and in many of their breastplates, bracelets, hair beading and crafts as it is believed to bring good fortune, good luck, and a happy life. Turquoise is one the oldest stones used in jewelry crafting due to its kaleidoscopic properties.