When considering a gemstone to be set in to an item of jewellery, there are so many factors that go in to governing the actual price of the individual stone. With each gemstone; variety, quality & size can dramatically affect the price. Gemstones are rare and whilst rarity is the one of the most prized possessions of a stone, it is not the only measure of desirability and value.
The Precious Stones
First coined over one hundred an fifty years ago, the term “Precious Stones” applies to: Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies & Sapphires. These four stones are translucent and are in the main valued by the depth of their colour, the deeper the colour the more expensive the stone. This is true except in the case of diamonds, whilst coloured diamonds are much prized and valued, the bulk of diamonds used in jewellery are graded in terms of their lack of colour. The less colour the more expensive the stone. White diamonds as they are known are graded from D through to Z with a D rated diamond being almost completely colourless and indeed very valuable
Precious V Semi Precious
terms were first used in the middle of the eighteenth centuary to
describe gemstones; the original categorization was solely based on the
rarity of the stone itself. Stones that were plentiful were classed as
semi precious. Rarer stones were classed as precious, the four precious
stones: diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires were distinguished by
their rarity and quality.
These terms are still in use today, however this does not mean than
any stone not in the “big four” will be inferior or less valuable,
nowadays there are a number of factors that determine the value of a
stone and many semi precious stones will be more valuable than their
precious counterparts. Of course, when it comes to selling jewellery,
the perception amongst buyers is that having a ring with a precious
stone is far more desirable.
The Big Four Precious Stones
This stone needs no introduction; it is easily the most desirable of the
“big four” which are mainly set in jewellery, it is the perennial
favourite for engagement rings. Diamonds are the
highest valued precious stone probably on account of the fact they take
many millions of years to form and are characterised by their strength
being the hardest natural substance on earth.
Until recently, coloured diamonds were not considered to have any
real value, now they are becoming more popular with some colours
fetching very high prices.The traditional highly prized diamond is of
course the white (or clear) variety. Clarity is one for the four “C”
used to grade a diamond and in essence, the less the colour, the clearer
the diamond, the higher the value.
Emeralds are famous for their wonderful green colour, ( provided by the
element Chromium) in terms of value, the deeper the colour the higher
the value. Some stones are almost colourless and they they can also
exhibit undertones of yellow or blue. On the surface, emeralds are very
brittle and this can make them difficult to fashion in to shapes
suitable for jewellery. Most emeralds are now mined in South America.
Everybody can recognise the beautiful deep red colour of a ruby. Coming
from the Latin word for red, rubies are prized for their hardness,
durability and luster. Larger stones are even more rare than diamonds.
In essence a red ruby is a Sapphire but because of its beautiful colour,
it is classed independently.
These stones are renowned for their beautiful blue colourings, deeper
coloured blue examples are more expensive. It is possible to find
sapphires in all other colours although red ones are referred to as
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For further reading on a wide variety of gemstones visit http://www.zoara.com/jewelry/gemstones/a_z#S