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LEARNING CENTER
GEMSTONES
Gemstones are stones that have been cut and polished for use in jewelry and fulfill the requirements of beauty, durability and rarity.

Nearly all gemstones available have been enhanced. Those gemstones that have not been enhanced are very recognizable by the extravagant price they command. Some enhancements, such as heating, are an expected part of the polishing and finishing process and are accepted by the jewelry industry.

SHAPES

Gemstones are cut in a variety of different shapes, which are usually determined by the shapes of their rough crystals. Many are also "calibrated" or cut to a consistent dimension so they are able to fit in a number of different jewelry mountings. Here the some of the more popular gemstones shapes.

round_amethyst_gemstone oval_tourmaline_gemstone aquamarine_marquise_gemstone tanzanite_pear_gemstone
Round Oval Marquise Pear

citrine_princess_gemstone garnet_heart_gemstone emerald_gemstone bluetopaz_trillion_gemstone
Princess Heart Emerald Trillion
QUALITY

The same "four Cs" that establish quality in Diamond are used for colored gemstones: cut, carat weight, clarity and most importantly, color.

COLOR

The more pure and vivid the color, the more valuable the gemstone. When deciding upon the color of a gemstone, examine hue, tone, and saturation.

Hue

Hue is the term used for the actual color of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo or violet). The more pure a gemstone's hue, the more valuable. Because gemstones are comprised of many naturally occurring elements, they typically emit one primary color and one or more underlying colors.

Tone

Tone represents how light or dark a stone appears by how much brown, black, gray or white is present.

Saturation

Saturation is the intensity of brightness or dullness of the color. The more color saturated a gemstone is, the more valuable it becomes.

Color Rating Chart

RED PINK ORANGE YELLOW GOLD
Ruby Ruby Sapphire Sapphire
Garnet Sapphire Garnet Citrine
Tourmaline Spinel Mandarin Garnet Topaz
Spinel Garnet Citrine Zircon
Alexandrite
(changes color)
Topaz Topaz Amber
Tourmaline Fire Opal Tourmaline
Garnet
GREEN BLUE PURPLE MULTI-COLOR
Emerald Sapphire Amethyst Ametrine
Tourmaline Aquamarine Garnet Opal
Tsavorite Garnet Topaz Sapphire Multicoloured
Demantoid Garnet Tourmaline Spinel Tourmaline
Peridot Tanzanite Tanzanite
Jade Spinel Jadeite
Sapphire Zircon
Alexandrite
(changes color)
Lapis Lazuli
Iolite
Turquoise
SIZE

Gemstone weight is measured in Carats. The carat weight of a gemstone is not necessarily an accurate gauge for gemstone size so we list the diameter, which gives you the size of the visible part of the stone when set in jewelry.

The term carats is often confused with "Karats". "Karat" is a measurement of gold purity and has no relationship to the term Carats.

CLARITY

Gemstones contain characteristic inclusions that provide proof of their natural origin. Those inclusions should not be so visible that they detract from the beauty of the gemstone. Flawless gemstones are very rare and valuable, and even most high-end gemstones are at least slightly included.

CUT

Unlike Diamonds, colored gems are not cut to a uniform ideal. All gemstones must be cut well to attain their maximum potential for beauty. A well-cut colored gemstone exhibits even color, a minimal number of inclusions, good brilliance and shows the majority of Carat weight when viewed from the top.

Quality cutting is what produces the brilliance and scintillation that captures the eye of the beholder.

THE MOHS SCALE OF HARDNESS

The Moh's scale was devised in 1812 by Austrian mineralogist, Friedrich Moh, to measure a mineral's hardness and its resistance to scratching. The scale goes from talc as number 1, being the softest, to diamonds as number 10, being the hardest substance known.

PROPER CARE

A little time and effort on your part will keep your gemstone looking new from the day you purchase it. By having your gemstone set in a relatively protective setting, and remaining conscious of it on your finger, you can keep your gemstone intact for a lifetime.

The most important steps to care for your gemstone include:

  1. Make sure that all jewelry is removed during rough work or when handling harsh chemicals. Exposure during ordinary wear to perspiration and household chemicals, like chlorine and hairspray, can cause buildup that dulls the surface of a diamond.
  2. As for cleaning, keep it simple. The best way to clean your colored gemstone jewelry is to use a mild solution of soap and water. After letting your jewelry soak, gently brush your jewelry with a soft brush. Rinse the jewelry thoroughly, and lay it on a soft cloth to dry. It is best to avoid cleaning jewelry in ultrasonic cleaners, harsh chemicals or abrasives. Pearls, especially, should be protected from contact with perfumes, cosmetics and hairsprays.
  3. Store it in a soft cloth pouch away from other pieces to prevent the diamond or diamonds from getting scratched or dulling other jewelry.

Periodically inspect your gemstone and setting for weakness or damage and take it to a professional jeweler for immediate repair if you notice any deterioration. Once a year, it is a good idea to have your gemstone cleaned by a professional and have the security of the setting checked.
BIRTHSTONES
January Garnet
February Amethyst
March Aquamarine
April Diamond or White Topaz
May Emerald
June Pearl or Alexandrite or Moonstone
July Ruby
August Peridot
September Sapphire
October Opal or Pink Tourmaline
November Citrine
December Blue Topaz
SIGN STONES
Aries (March 22 - April 20) Diamond
Taurus (April 21 - May 21) Emerald
Gemini (May 22 - June 21) Agate
Cancer (June 22 - July 22) Pearl or Moonstone
Leo (July 23 - August 22) Ruby
Virgo (August - September 22) Sapphire
Libra (September 23 - October 23) Opal
Scorpio (October 24 - November 21) Sardonyx
Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21) Topaz
Capricorn (December 22 - January 21) Onyx
Aquarius (January 21 - February 21) Turquoise
Pisces (February 22 - March 21) Moonstone
ANNIVERSARY STONES
1st: Gold 13th: Citrine
2nd: Garnet 14th: Opal
3rd: Pearl 14th: Opal
4th: Blue Topaz 15th: Ruby
5th: Sapphire 20th: Emerald
6th: Amethyst 25th: Silver
7th: Onyx 30th: Pearl
8th: Tourmaline 35th: Emerald
9th: Lapis 40th: Ruby
10th: Diamond 45th: Sapphire
11th: Turquoise 50th: Gold
12th: Jade 60th: Diamond