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Now is a great time to purchase gemstones for your jewelry collection. Many items are offered at a special discounts to prompt you to make your purchase. If you are considering adding to your jewelry wardrobe, knowing as much as possible about gemstones will help you make the perfect selection.
All gemstones follow the 4 C’s principles of grading. The 4 C’s, most commonly associated with diamonds, measure a stone’s color, clarity, cut, and carat. Unlike diamonds, color gemstones have different qualities that give them more desirable based upon the owner.
A gemstone buyer may love pink rubies, which are considered less valuable than pure red. But, the purchaser loves the pink ruby and it has far more value to the owner than a red ruby. Personal taste is everything in the world of color gemstones.
According to the Gem Society, color is determined by:
- Hue (green, blue, red)
- Saturation (how deep is the color)
- Tone (light or dark)
The market decides the more pure the color, deeper saturation, and darker tone make a stone more valuable. This valuation really only works on stones in one color ranges such as emeralds, amethyst, or ruby. Stones that have a range of color such as the tourmaline or zircon. One color is not more valuable than the other making the stones more accessible to buyers.
A collector may prefer a higher grade in color than an average buyer. The purpose of the purchase determines the importance of the color grade.
Clarity measures the imperfections (inclusions) in a faceted stone. Inclusions range from fractures to minerals within the stone inhibiting the transfer of light through the stone.
Some inclusions are invisible to the naked eye but effect value. Colored gemstones clarity grading:
- eye visible (always lower in value)
These grades are not equal. Some larger stones will always have inclusions while smaller versions will be your only choice for eye clean gems.
Keep inclusions and imperfections in mind when selecting a stone. If a larger stone is your preference, you may sacrifice imperfections for color.
Gemstone cut determines the beauty. The stone begins shapeless and unrefined. The cut reveals the natural beauty of the gemstone and bring it to life.
Look for consistent, even, and symmetrical facets. You want all areas of the surface to have consistent cuts.
Examine the center for what is called “windowing”. The center should reflect light back. In windowing the center is lighter than the edges and not reflect light.
Carats measure the size of the stone. Typically larger stones are valued higher than smaller stones. However, depending upon your budget, a larger stone with a lower color or clarity grading may be a perfect option. The size of a stone is matter of personal preference.
Selecting a color gemstone starts with personal taste and budget. Affordable options are available within the wide range of gemstones. Considering the 4C’s of color, clarity, cut, and carat will help with the decision. Fine jewelry on Amazon is also a great place to check out the options.
Looking for more information? Download this free Ultimate Guide to Diamonds. It includes diagrams and guides for the 4C’s!