Gem buying tips


Buying a colored gemstone today will immerse you in beautiful colors, stunning cuts and terminology that you may not always understand. Before making any major gemstone purchase, it is important to understand the industry, product and retail market.

Gemstones can be old and established like traditional rubies or sapphires, or they can be new and exciting like emerald garnets (travorite) or blue zoisite stones. Whatever colour, style or price you prefer, there is a piece of jewelry for you. You just have to find it.

In this article, we cover some buying basics that will make your shopping experience easier and safer. Read on to learn how to protect yourself from fraud and misrepresentation and find the best stone for your personal jewelry collection.

1. Always ask if the stone is real, synthetic or natural.
Natural stones are Edelstein that occur and evolve naturally in the earth. Apart from mining, cutting and polishing, they are made without any human intervention. Meanwhile, synthetic stones are typically developed in a lab where they are grown, complete with realistic-looking “faults” and other characteristics designed to make them appear more “natural.” Keep in mind that synthetic stones can legally be called “real”. Therefore, it is important to make this distinction with the seller.

Although synthetic stones can still be expensive, they will not be as expensive as natural stones. If you are unsure of the authenticity of a stone, have it appraised by an independent gemologist.

2. Ask to see the stone yourself.
While you won’t become a gemologist overnight, viewing stones while comparing them is a great way to gain a better understanding of clarity, cut and color.

Instead of reading about how imperfections affect a stone’s clarity, you can actually observe it by looking at a stone. Examine rocks in good light and use a magnifying glass to get a closer look. Try looking at the stone head from above to get a clear idea of its symmetry and translucency.

This is a kind of ‘on the job training’ but the training will be of great benefit to you as you gain experience and confidence from one transaction to the next.

3. Be willing to negotiate.
Most independent retailers and even chain retailers are willing to negotiate on price. While you can give the impression that you’re interested, don’t get too excited about a particular piece. Express your interest and let the jeweler know you want to buy but would like to negotiate first. From there, start with an amount slightly below the expected price and negotiate up to your final purchase price.

4. Always have a valuable piece checked by an independent appraiser.
To protect yourself and your jeweler from possible fraud, have your jeweler write down every aspect of the stone on your bill of sale – including the carat, colour, clarity, cut and value. Then take the piece to an independent appraiser to see if these claims match. Buying from a reputable jeweler can also help avoid problems with fraud or misrepresentation.

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