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Tips for Purchasing Gemstones


Paula has been an online writer for more than 11 years. Gems, jewelry, and minerals are just a few of her many interests.

A gorgeous red gemstone.

A gorgeous red gemstone.

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.

  1. Do Your Research
  2. Find a Reputable Dealer
  3. Get a Guarantee
  4. Take a Close Look at the Gemstone
  5. Consider a Custom-Designed Setting
  6. Ask Yourself If the Price is Too Good to Be True
  7. Enjoy the Beauty of Your Stones and Jewelry
The Gachala Emerald is one of the largest emeralds in the world.

The Gachala Emerald is one of the largest emeralds in the world.

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.

Get to know your local, reputable Jeweler.  Ask them questions, and find out how helpful they are.

Get to know your local, reputable Jeweler. Ask them questions, and find out how helpful they are.

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!

A boulder opal. Opals are so beautiful and amazing, in my opinion.  I love them.

A boulder opal. Opals are so beautiful and amazing, in my opinion. I love them.

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.

182-carat Star of Bombay sapphire. This huge sapphire is beautiful.  It's in the San Diego Natural History Museum.

182-carat Star of Bombay sapphire. This huge sapphire is beautiful. It's in the San Diego Natural History Museum.

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!


Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on December 03, 2011:

Hello Peter, thank you very much! I apologize for my long delay in reply. I really appreciate the comment, and am glad you stopped by.

PETER LUMETTA from KENAI, ALAKSA on April 18, 2011:

Good Hub, very informative and an easy read.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on January 08, 2011:

Jennismortal, I am so glad to hear it was helpful to you! Thank you for the comment :)

jennismortal on January 08, 2011:

Wow!! Nice tips you give here. Thanks for sharing the useful information with all.That helped me a lot.


Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on December 26, 2010:

Thank you for the comment Balthasarcontent

balthasarcontent from San Diego, CA, USA on December 26, 2010:

Nice informative post, helpful for everyone!

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on December 14, 2010:

Thanks Susannah. Sapphires are such a lovely stone, hope you find a real beauty!

susannah42 from Florida on December 14, 2010:

Great tips. I am getting ready to buy an new saphire and will use this info. Thanks

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on December 13, 2010:

Thank you Ryan.

ryan on December 12, 2010:

This is useful information. I would have no clue if I were ever in the market to purchase gemstones.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on December 12, 2010:

Joanie, thank you for that information, as many may not know that gemstones can be certified as well. When making such an investment, it makes sense to get all the information you need and be supporting reputable dealers and businesses that want the best for their customers.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on December 12, 2010:

Thank you for sharing what you did, Soccerpredictions! I think they are all so beautiful, and the steps and processes you shared make them even more precious.

Joanie on December 12, 2010:

FYI, you may have all heard of diamond certificates. It's a gemological report that nearly every diamond retailer provides with the diamond that someone purchases. Well, if you didn't know, there are also gemstone certificates- and if you are serious about your gemstones, you should get your gemstones certified too. GIA is the biggest gemological lab, and they provide this service.

Check this out for more info:


soccer predictions on December 12, 2010:

Gems come from the earth and the sea. When people excavate certain minerals, stones and pearls and cut and polish them into specific shapes, they become gems. When placed in a decorative fashion jewelry setting for wearing, they become jewels. Rarity, durability, beauty, size and color all contribute to the price of the gemstone.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on December 09, 2010:

Thank you for the comment, Mikel!

Mikel Jo on December 09, 2010:

Fantastic article. We always says if we could just find people like us… we’d be set. It is so important not to prejudge people because you are absolutely right….You could be speaking to the Next Superstar Marketer and you don’t even know it.

Please go to this site for earning for life


Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 28, 2010:

Rpalulis, I agree, about paying too much not being fun. Thank you for your comment!

rpalulis from NY on November 28, 2010:

Finding out that you paid too much for anything is never fun. Great tips and very interesting hub on Gemstone buying tips.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 28, 2010:

CMHypno, thank you! I totally agree with you, and you don't want to just be convinced you are getting a great stone, you want to be truly getting a good one.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on November 28, 2010:

Interesting information on buying gemstones - it is a big purchase, so you really do need to do your research first and go search out a reputable dealer

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 27, 2010:

Stephchick, thank you! I have the same concerns when it comes to investments like these. Glad you stopped by.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on November 27, 2010:

Very useful information! I am always concerned about investing in jewelry and getting what I pay for (not fakes, flaws, etc.) Going to forward this one to the hubby... :)

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 27, 2010:

Thanks PhoenixV!

PhoenixV from USA on November 27, 2010:

Great hub and just in time for Christmas!

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 27, 2010:

Thanks Dallas! So glad to hear that :)

Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on November 27, 2010:

Interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing. I learned...

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 27, 2010:

Thank you Scribenet, that would be awesome. :)

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on November 27, 2010:

Next time I go, I will get the info for you. I am not even aware of the name of the store, since I was just fascinated by their display. I will also ask if they have a web site (hopefully they do)

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 27, 2010:

Woman of Courage, I love the purple gemstones as well the color is truly beautiful. The heart shaped gemstones are really pretty but symbolic as well. Thank you for your comment!

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 27, 2010:

Scribenet, I would be curious where that store is, it sounds wonderful! I absolutely love to find stones in nature an in anything from a rock store, to a finer jewelry store. I have loved stones like these since I was a little girl. They fascinate me very much.

As for all you said, I don't blame you for wanting to go back. I think they would make wonderful gifts for people. Thank you for the comment!

Woman Of Courage on November 27, 2010:

Wow, I would love the purple gemstones, it's my favorite color. The education about the gemstones was very helpful. Maybe I will purchase the heart shaped pendant for Christmas. Thanks for sharing a very informative hub of the beautiful gemstones.

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on November 27, 2010:

On the same note as cm, I found a "mineral store" while Christmas shopping ( not rock hunting though) and I drooled over the various stones with odd names. There was quartz crystals and ameythsts right in the stones they were found in , agate polished and on and on. I am sure there was hiddenite there as well.

I want to go back after Christmas and really explore the place though I spent a good deal of time there already!

Some of the necklaces they have created are awesome...but I am not certain of the value! However, these are every color of the spectrum! Amazing these are all in nature.

This is a brand new store and not a jeweler,so I suppose one has to buy there for the beauty of the gem rather than value since one can't be sure of the value! Nevertheless it is a lovely little store!

I will bookmark this and go through it again before I go back! Thanks!

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 27, 2010:

Carolina, that sounds awesome and would be something I would hope to do someday! I was not familiar with hiddenite, but looked it up after you shared that. Things like that are so awesome and beautiful, and that they are just from nature is even more amazing. Thank you for your comment!

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on November 26, 2010:

I like to go and dig for emerald and hiddenite.. I've found some cool stuff. Great post!

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