Tips for Purchasing Gemstones
Basic Tips for Buying Quality Gemstones
Who doesn't love a beautiful gemstone, whether placed in a piece of jewelry or loose? Even in their natural state, I think gemstones are fascinating and beautiful!
There are so many places where you can get a gemstone or a piece of jewelry, and there are quite a range of prices. There are some really easy tips to keep in mind when you are looking at gemstones in or outside of jewelry. The last thing you want is to be surprised later when you realize that you didn't get quite what you paid for.
- Do Your Research
- Find a Reputable Dealer
- Get a Guarantee
- Take a Close Look at the Gemstone
- Consider a Custom-Designed Setting
- Ask Yourself If the Price is Too Good to Be True
- Enjoy the Beauty of Your Stones and Jewelry
1. Do Your Research
First, you will want to do your homework and research ahead of time. It is always fun to just stop into a beautiful shop and look around on the spur of the moment. It is better to go with some knowledge about exactly what you want in a particular gemstone.
Natural Stone or Treated Stone?
The variety of gemstones out there is just mind-boggling now when you go to look. I love the amazing stones, but upon further inspection, they often have been treated with heat, dye or have been created in a lab. These are very beautiful and awesome, but you will still want to know what was done to the stone and can ask what it looked like before.
They can put stones through irradiation, heat, dyeing or coating to make the stone even more beautiful than it is. This can enhance to give whole new looks and bring out amazing colors. Sometimes, it can devalue a stone as well. This is just part of being informed.
2. Find a Reputable Dealer
Go armed with questions and get a feel for how open and friendly the gemstone seller is. A reputable seller will be happy to answer your honest questions. They will want you to know all you can, build genuine trust so that you bring repeat business to them as well as tell your friends.
Don't be afraid to ask around for a reputable dealer. Many people have jewelers they trust very much, and are happy to pass the name along. This is a good way to start. It is something I had to do recently as we live in a new area and I don't have a family jeweler here. I wanted to get my diamond to reset into its setting, but it is an antique diamond and been in my husband's family for generations. You don't want to trust just anyone to such a diamond.
You will want to be looking for an established shop that has both a local client base, but ideally a larger international base if possible. That is always a great sign. For instance, my husband and I would probably buy a nice piece from a wonderful jeweler we found on the Island of St. Thomas. We knew we could trust them and felt we were getting a beautiful gemstone and great piece of jewelry! Sometimes, having that confidence makes you go back to where you found it, even if not on your own continent!
3. Get a Guarantee
If you look, you can find a jeweler that will guarantee their gemstones through certification. This is nice because then you know for sure what you are getting, even if you are paying a little bit more for it. I have heard that in some places, non-profit gemological agencies will often come in and do some testing of the stones. They can test, rate, and certify the unset stones and this can be of great help to a jeweler and is customer base. It's good to ask about returns as well. Some jewelers may have a policy where you can return a stone within a year.
4. Take a Close Look at the Gemstone
You will want to see your gemstones up close, and maybe even under a special microscope. The jeweler our family loves best does this, and it means a lot. In fact, our main family jeweler has us spoiled in this regard. I would sure love to find a jeweler that offers to view a piece under their microscope to see every detail of the stone itself.
The imperfections alert you to the fact it is the unique piece it is and adds character. Knowing this, you can easily identify your gemstone later on as you may get repairs, etc. Also, they may allow you to lay some different stones out side by side. This is a great way to tell what your favorite stones and cuts are, a way to build a preference that you couldn't have found otherwise.
A jeweler willing to let me view my piece under a microscope, goes a long way in earning my trust. I can leave and come back in confidence, and part with my money with no worries. This is the case because I know he will let me see it again, and I am indeed getting my original piece back. This is very important with special family gemstones, for instance. You may not even realize the old fashioned heirloom-quality until it is shown to you and explained in detail. A dishonest jeweler will also notice the value and think you may not realize a trade out in your precious piece of jewelry.
Consider the Imperfections
Imperfections are actually fairly common, because we are dealing with real stones from mother nature, not cut glass! Glass can be pure looking and perfect, but they are not gemstones of course. There are nearly perfect stones out there, but you will have to pay the price, literally for them! For the right price, you can get almost anything you want of course.
5. Consider a Custom-Designed Setting
You can purchase a loose gemstone and get it set in the perfect setting of your choice. The settings can look odd without their stones, but ask your jeweler if they will show you what they have. Our family jeweler didn't have much to show us when we got our wedding set, but we had an idea of what we wanted, and they created it! Simple and beautiful. Your personal tastes matter for such important and often expensive items. Plan ahead for this so that you have the time for them to create what you want, or find it for you.
6. Ask Yourself If the Price is Too Good to Be True
You may have heard the saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!" This may apply to gemstones as well. You, of course, want to shop around, compare prices but knowledge is power in these cases. You can always come back to it, and if they tell you it's now or never, take the never. You don't want high pressure.
Spotting a fake is difficult if you are not a student of gemology yourself. This is the reason you want to go to a very reputable jeweler. Some people choose to get a stone tested even.
As for looking around, window shopping never hurt anyone. A friendly employee may be able to help you in the education process if they are not too busy. Ask questions, check out books from the library, as these are large purchases and the stone may be in families for generations to come.
7. Enjoy the Beauty of Your Stones and Jewelry
Wear it, display it, enjoy the pieces you currently own. Life is precious and seems to be flying by so often. We invest in things sometimes, only to hide them away and never really get to enjoy them. Break out your favorite pieces, and wear them with pride. These beauties from the earth deserve to be seen and enjoyed!
I want to learn more about gemstones all the time. I love the purples, blues, turquoises and green stones, especially. That said, that other colors are growing on me as well. My younger son got me a lab-created ruby pendant one year, and I love it! It is heart-shaped and just the most beautiful color. I love emeralds, Caribbean Topaz, amethysts, sapphires and so much more. Happy gemstone hunting!