GEMSTONES BASICS

Shopping for gemstones and gemstone jewelry can be confusing, because prices are sometimes very different for jewelry that appears to be very similar. Some of the words used in jewelry ads can be confusing too, because gemstones are labeled as natural, genuine, synthetic, simulated, and treated or a combination of those terms.

A. What are natural Gemstones :


Natural gemstones are delivered to us courtesy of nature, with no interference from humans. By the time they appear in our jewelry they've been cut or polished, but they've not been altered in other ways.

B. What are genuine Gemstones :

A genuine gemstones is the real thing, but isn't natural anymore if it was treated in some way to enhance its appearance.

Enhancements allow jewelry manufacturers to improve the look of gemstones that consumers wouldn't otherwise purchase. Treated gemstones are genuine, but they are no longer considered natural. If naturally "perfect" stones were the only ones available, most of us couldn't afford them.

C. Are all natural or genuine Gemstones valuable :

No, they're not. Small to large gemstones of poor quality are common and often considered mining castaways. Get the facts about a specific gem before you pay a premium price for it.


D. How are gemstones priced :

Like any other industry, supply and demand drives gemstone prices up and down. Compare two red gemstones:

  • Natural rubies of high quality are rare and demand for them is always high. Some of the areas where topnotch rubies are mined are in political turmoil, reducing the supply even more.
  • Compare rubies to red garnets. The garnets are gorgeous, but they aren't rare. A flawless natural garnet costs a great deal less than a ruby of similar quality.