Gemstone and Jewellery Guide

Gemstone and Jewellery Guide

When on the hunt for a gemstone of your liking, its good to know exactly what you’re looking for and exactly how gemstone value works.

 

A l w a y s   r e f e r   t o   t h e   4   C ’ s . . .

 

C U T

The cut of a gemstone and the way it determines price is different depending on the stone in question.

Some cuts can accentuate a stones physical property, such as the step cut. The step cut on an emerald can enhance the intensity of green within its body, as well as improve the scintillation of light giving the stone a dazzling sparkle. This is why emeralds on the market displaying a step cut, or an emerald cut, are valued higher as they are specifically sought after and popular amongst buyers.

The same goes for diamonds and the brilliant cut. This cut was crafted with the diamond in mind, with design stretching from the 13th century until it was finally perfected in 1910. This cut was created in order to show off and exaggerate its fabulous lustre, hosting a breath-taking total of 56 facets to bounce light off of. Due to this, diamonds on the market which have been cut into the brilliant design tend to sell for more than other cuts.

A cabochon cut tends to sell for less within the market. The cabochon cut tends to be used when a gemstone has a variety of inclusions and isn’t suitable for a faceted cut, so a rounded cut is instigated to simply accentuate its colour and sheen.

With this being said, choice of cut of a gemstone comes down solely to personal preference and how it is going to be used. There are a variety of cuts one can choose from, and these can all have a variety of moderations to their cut – which can also change the price of the stone.

 

types of gemstone cut, gemstone and jewellery guide

 

C O L O U R

The colour of a gemstone can greatly affect its price. Depending on what you’re looking for, colour intensity and shade give a varying quality of stone and some are more popular then others.

For instance, when looking to purchase a ruby you will discover than those labelled as ‘pigeon blood’ rubies are the most expensive. These rubies displaying a full bodied true red with blue undertones are so valuable due to their popularity and rarity, making them far more expensive than their other ruby counterparts.

Sapphires come in a variety of shades and intensities. Cornflower blue sapphires are the most valuable on the market in comparison to royal blue and sky blue sapphires. To contrast against this further, other coloured versions of sapphires such as orange and yellow sell for far less than blue sapphires, merely due to the popularity of blue sapphires.

Diamonds on the other hand do the reverse – A truly colourless, clear diamond is the most valuable on the market, against those diamonds which display a slight colour in their body. The more colour a ‘colourless’ diamond displays, the greater its decrease in value. However, a fancy diamond (coloured diamond) has an increase in value with the intensity and rarity of its colour.

As with cut, your choice of gemstone and the colour it displays is all down to personal preference and what you’re requiring the stone for. Always pick the best fit for you and your desires, just keep in mind that colour can contribute to price!

 

C L A R I T Y

The clarity of a gemstone refers to how clean the internal body of the gemstone is. The greater the clarity of a stone, the less inclusions, fractures, and blemishes the gemstone will include, and thus the greater its value will be. It is very normal to have a stone with a great number of inclusions within its body, and far more irregular to find those with little.

Diamonds are graded in clarity using a labelling system. This system makes it easy for customers to understand the grade and quality of the stone they’re looking to purchase, simply by its label. A diamond which has no inclusions and 100% clarity will be graded as ‘FL’ or ‘IF’, standing for ‘internally flawless’. You may then have a diamond labelled as ‘VS1’, meaning ‘very slightly included, upper level’, or a diamond labelled as ‘SI2’, meaning ‘slightly included, lower level’.

 

Diamond Clarity Grade Chart
(diamond clarity grade chart, image courtesy of Luxe Jewellery)

 

Coloured gemstones on the other hand are not graded on clarity, and this is because it is impossible to find a coloured gemstone which has been naturally formed with 100% clarity. Inclusions within coloured gemstones, unlike diamonds, are not considered faults but instead authentication of their natural creation.

Emerald inclusions are so vital to the character, colour, and beauty of this stone that the French term of ‘jardin’ is used to describe them. This translated to English is ‘garden’, due to the inclusions being reminiscent of green leaf-billowing branches.

If you find a coloured gemstone on the market being sold with the claim that it has 100% clarity, check its certification of origin – these gemstones are likely to be synthetically produced and artificial. Synthetically produced gemstones are beautiful in their own right and are chemically identical to their natural counterparts, however they don’t hold the same magical history as those made within the Earth and some people can be tricked into thinking they are the real deal, Earth-grown stones. Keep an eye out for those certificates!

 

C A R A T

Carats have been used since antiquity, and has a name derived from the kernel of a Carob bean (Latin = keratinton). Since 1907 Europe has adopted the metric carat of 200mg or 0.2g, so 1 carat = 0.2g.

Every diamond and coloured gemstone has a different density, meaning a different price per carat weight. This means that the size of a gemstone isn’t actually the defining factor of the price of a stone, but the amount of carats and the type of cut are.

Of course the size of a gemstone does affect the price of a gemstone, but lets say you have two gemstones of the exact same size and cut but one of them is denser – the denser one will have a higher value of carats, and therefore a greater price. If we swap out the lower carat gemstone with a gemstone which is 0.8mm greater in size but still of lower carats, it may only just equal the price of the other. Size changes prices marginally, but carats change price majorly.

 

Want to learn in more detail about our gemstones types and their 4 C’s?

 

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So are ‘carats’ and ‘karats’ the same?

 

Many people get confused over the difference between ‘carats’ and ‘karats’.

‘carats’ are the metric weight used when measuring diamonds and coloured gemstones, thus determining their value.

‘karats’ are used to measure the amount of gold within your piece of jewellery in regards to the other metals present in the metal. The higher the karat, the greater percentage of gold will be present in your jewellery, and therefore the more expensive.

 

What are the different karats, and which is the best to pick?

 

On the jewellery market, you can find karats in the most popular categories of 9K, 10K, 14K, 18K, and 24K. The higher the karat, the greater percentage of gold you will find in your jewellery in comparison to other metals present. Theses other metals present are used to strengthen your jewellery, as well as make them more affordable for their audience.

 

Numbered Karats and their gold percentage, jewellery guide
(Numbered karats and their gold percentage, image courtesy of Diamond Buzz)

 

As seen above, the lowest karat you can get is 8K, and the highest is 24K. 24K is absolute pure gold, and so the most expensive on the market.

There are many factors to consider before you purchase your jewellery however. You may think that the higher the karats the better the jewellery so the more expensive option is the best to go for. This is a common misconception, and you may find that your jewellery may not last as long with the greater the karats.

Gold as a material is very malleable, meaning it can get easily bashed, scratched, and deformed with constant wear. Although it has a beautiful colour and is very desirable, you may find that your purchase doesn’t have a long lifetime and lots of care will have to be taken when wearing these higher karats.

Very low karats, such as 8K or 9K, still have the desirable gold colour but can actually tarnish over time due to their low percentage of gold and higher percentage of filler metals. These items are much more affordable than their higher karat counterparts, but like the high karat items tends to not have a long lifetime in your jewellery collection.

Your best bet is to go in the middle ground of karats, with 14K and 18K being the most popular. These items do not tarnish, keeping their bright dazzling gold colour, whilst also keeping their strength and durability.

 

What are all the different types of jewellery design?

 

Sometimes there are so many names to jewellery that it can be confusing and overwhelming!

Rings come in a variety of designs, some with singular stones, others with multiple stones, and these could contain a halo of points, or pointed shoulders, which can come in a half eternity or a full eternity design.

Below are some images displaying the different varieties of designs:

(Image courtesy of Pinterest)
(image courtesy of Sparkling Stones)

 

But what about my ring size?

 

Its easy to find out your ring size, and you can do it yourself at home!

Simply take a piece of string and wrap it around the finger you wish to buy jewellery for. Cut it where the two ends meet, and lay it out straight on a flat surface. Then grab a ruler and measure its length – this is then your ring size!

Here is a guide below which matches ring measurements with all UK ring sizes:

 

(Image courtesy of Browns Family Jeweller)