Tips to assess the beauty of your colored gemstones

Learn how gem dealers judge the beauty of a gem.

Curious to know what gemologists and gem dealers actually look at in order to assess the beauty of a coIored stone? 

Here are 5 tips you can use to find the most beautiful gem.

Why does it even matter to know this? Well, your eyes are a muscle which you can train. And the more stones you see - whether in a gem dealer’s office or at a jeweler’s - the better you’ll be able to pick a good, beautiful gem which will last you a lifetime (or even longer) and so, will be a better investment. One you can enjoy longer too.

“Better investment” doesn’t mean that you need to keep these precious pieces in a safe all the time or that they are unwearable. In fact, the more beautiful and better the quality of a stone is, the more easily you can wear them every day without running the risk of chipping or scratching them. And the stunning fashion-forward colors of fine gemstones you can find on the market today ensure a contemporary look which can be styled for after-dark hours, office time and beyond.  

Let’s dive in.

A stone qualifies as a “gemstone” when a precious stone possesses:

  • Beauty,

  • Durability and

  • Rarity

Loose Colored Gemstomes

 And now we’re looking at the first part ‘beauty’ and how to assess that.

Many people in the gem trade would say that ‘beauty is subjective’ (which is true to some extent of course), after which they’ll try to convince you to buy their gemstone as that’s the most beautiful one of course😉

But there are definitely some objective aspects of beauty in gemstones for you to keep in mind. Lately these have been summed up through what we call the 4Cs: although a bit of an oversimplification, they are a helpful starting point and stand for:

color, clarity, cut and carat weight. 

These “4Cs” are taken from the diamond industry but can be used for the judgment of colored gemstones as well.

Besides those 4Cs from the diamond industry, we also look at about 5 other characteristics of colored gemstones for our overall beauty assessment.

Those 5 characteristics are:

  • Color: look at a uniform color with a good saturation throughout the stone.

  • Brilliance: the brilliant sparkles that come from within a stone.

  • Luster: the brilliance that comes off the surface of a stone.

  • Transparency: the fewer inclusions a stone has, the more freely the light can reflect through the stone and the more beautiful it will be.

  • Fire or dispersion: a special characteristic which not every colored gemstone has. It refers to a rainbow type of scintillation that you normally see in diamonds. Some colored stones can show this as well, like a demantoid garnet (fine green garnet stone) or a sphene (yellow-green gemstone). It gives something extra to a stone.

Using a Loupe

Pro Tip: 

Ask for a loupe - which is normal to do in a gem dealer’s office and which you can also ask for in a good jeweler, especially when you’re looking at a gemstone piece of significant value - bring the loupe and the precious piece close to your eyes and nose and look if you can see inclusions.

This will help you in assessing how good the transparency, luster and brilliance is of a stone. So, you’ll tackle a few points simultaneously that way 💥

Having some inclusions in a colored gemstone is actually a good thing because you can be sure the stone is natural in that case. However, having too many inclusions or if they are dark in color or too close to the top surface of the stone where you can easily see them when wearing the jewelry piece is not a good thing. The transparency, brilliance and luster of the stone won’t be great and the stone’s overall beauty will be impacted too much. The stone may also be prone to chipping or breaking more easily because it’ll be a bit more fragile.

Pick a stone with as few inclusions as you can afford.

And if it has inclusions, make sure they won’t be visible so much when set in a piece of jewelry. For instance, inclusions located at the bottom or at the very edges of the stone will be partially hidden after having been set in a ring or earrings. So, that’s acceptable.


A Clean Stone

By taking into account these tips and always comparing several stones at the same time, you’ll be able to pick a better gemstone. And if you have some more questions, I’m always here to help! 💫

Keep learning about color! ​Read more about the distinction between diamonds and gemstones here or ​check out my gemstone pieces here.

Good and beautiful gemstones come at a price because of their rarity in nature, but it’s worth doing some more research and invest in a better quality stone. That way, you can build up a jewelry collection over the coming years that consists of fewer but higher quality jewelry pieces. Anything good takes time, wouldn’t you say?

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