05 August 2021
Precious Gemstones have been a part of Ceylon history and culture for centuries. The ancient kings and royalty wore them to show their wealth, status and to be fashionable, but in the modern world it's accessible to many more conveniently. Gemstones are valuable due to their beauty, rarity and durability. Making up only about 1% of the earth’s matter, they are some of the rarest substances on earth and with the ability to stand the test of time they are perfect for jewelry.
How do you determine the value of the gems you come across in your gem quest? There is quite a great difference in the cost of different gems; some gemstones are extremely rare and expensive, while others, however beautiful, are common and more affordable. Experienced gem dealers would tell you to gain experience by examining gems with attention to detail. While doing that, take note of the 4Cs to determine the value of the gem before you decide to close the deal. Subject to your affordability, the first step is to pick the color(s) you love – because colors are the prime ‘C’ in the world of gemstones.
Color is the most critical factor affecting the price of any gemstone and is divided into hue, tone and saturation for easier analysis. A white background and shaded daylight are the basic conditions you need to get a good reading on the color of colored gemstones.
The most expensive gemstones are those with the highest color saturation known as ‘vivid saturation’ but only a few gems like Rubies and Sapphires ever reach this level. When it comes to tone, every type of gem has an ‘optimum color’ but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy muted tones. Many do find them attractive!
2 Carat weight
Because gemstones are priced by the carat, the accuracy of the weight matters—down to one hundredth of a carat. Every gemstone has a different density and as diameters don’t align with weights, weighing the gem is a must even if the weight is already marked.
Clarity refers to inclusions inside the gem or blemishes on the exterior which can be seen clearly with a penlight or a jeweler’s loupe. Inclusions can be minute crystals or even gas bubbles or fractures. Fractures are common in gems but it’s best to avoid buying stones with large fractures as it affects durability.
Natural gems are mined and usually have inclusions. They are not a negative feature because the presence of inclusions prove it’s a natural gem and not synthetic. It’s very rare to find natural gems without inclusions and they tend to fetch a very high price in the market. Inclusions can also give you an idea about where a gemstone was mined and if it was treated. These two factors are important considerations for the informed buyer.
4 Cut & Shape
The shape of the gem, including finishing touches like facet relationships and polish determine the final beauty of the gemstone. There are a variety of shapes available today with each cut having a critical angle that maximizes light reflection. A badly cut stone would leak light from the bottom and dark stones usually absorb light more than reflect, no matter the cut. The same goes for a deep stone so don’t end up paying for extra carats which don’t add to the gemstone’s beauty. If a shape is rare, you may have to pay a very high price for it so it’s best to know all the common shapes available such as Oval, Cushion, Round, Pear, Octagon ,Heart etc.
The 4Cs are an essential guide but don’t forget that sometimes beauty is found in imperfections. If a gem really pleases you despite its tiny blemish or uneven cut, you might as well buy it. Gemstones, like people, are unique and every stone is beautiful in its own respect.