Endless talk of all things sparkly.

Gemstone Shopping 101: Tips for anyone on how to purchase jewelry


Luscious lapis, rich ruby, admirable aquamarine, gorgeous garnet, and pretty pearls.  Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.  You see them everyday; dangling from a golden chain, sparkling on a finger, or shining on a wrist.  They are a worldwide symbol for love on an engagement ring.  Everyone has to buy one some point or another.  But what should an average shopper look for in order to buy that perfect gemstone?  A buyer should go by these four major groups: color, cut, price, and meaning.

The first characteristic about a gemstone that everyone notices (unless you are colorblind) is what color it is.  Gemstones range from all the colors in the rainbow and everything in between.  This includes: black, brown, gray, white, colorless, and metallic.  Diamonds, believe it or not, come in almost every color–including black.  This is also true for spinel, zircon, sapphire and some chrysoberyl.  If you are looking for a rich red color, rubies and red beryl are the best quality out there.  Gemstones that are blue include: aquamarine, blue beryl, sapphire, topaz and some opals.  The pretty pink gemstones include: kunzite, morganite, sapphire and diamonds.  These four gems also come in purple, along with the ever popular plum garnet.  Tsavorite is a gorgeous green gem and if you pronounced it correctly, you deserve an emerald…which is another green gem.  Now, if you want a gem really hard to pronounce, try a padparadschah.  It is a mix of an orange and yellow hue.  Some gemstones, such as ametrine and watermelon tourmaline are very unique.  On one half is one color and on the other is another.

Now that you have decided on a color, let’s figure out the cut of the actual gemstone.  The most preferred cut, the brilliant cut, which is a simple round cut with many facets that brings out the “fire” in the stone.  Then there’s the sweetheart cut, which is popular around Valentine’s Day.  A marquise cut is shaped like a football; skinny on the ends and fat in the middle.  A trillion cut is a triangle and a square cut (often called princess cut) is obviously a square.  An emerald cut is a modification of the square cut, yet it is a rectangle.  As time goes by, technology gets better everyday.  This, in turn, affects gem cutting.  Many new cuts, such as the step, scissors, checkerboard and other fancy cuts have been invented.  Many jewelry designers themselves are designing their own cut and naming it in their honor.

Alright, you got the color, you got the cut, now let’s add all this up for a total cost.  Prices in jewelry come in a very wide range.  There are those everyday mothers and then there are those museum collectors of gemstones.  Diamonds of course are the most expensive, and the least expensive would be any stone in the topaz family.  Emeralds, rubies and sapphires are up there in price near the diamonds.  The collectible gems, such as alexandrite, morganite, kunzite and tanzanite are very priceless.  The cut also is dependant upon the price.  For example, a simple oval cut would cost less than a trillion cut with checkerboard facets. 

Once you have found the perfect color, cut and a price within your budget, you can take in account these little facts and different meanings of gemstones.  Each month has its own gemstone called a birthstone.  January is garnet, which symbolizes love and desire.  February is amethyst which symbolizes sincerity, March is emerald for love and success, June is the pearl which symbolizes health, July is a ruby which stands for contentment, August is peridot for long married happiness, September is the sapphire which symbolizes clear thinking, October is opal for hope, November is citrine for fidelity, and finally, December is zircon which symbolizes prosperity.  Jade is an ancient Chinese stone which is said to bring good fortune.

Any gemstone, from alexandrite to zircon, is a beautiful one.  The world of gemstones is somewhat magical.  Everyone should appreciate these precious gifts from deep within the Earth or underneath the ocean waves.  A shopper should now be able to purchase and own their perfect gemstone by knowing these four major groups of division.