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Colored Gemstone Buying Guide

Oval Blue Sapphire Halo Ring With Diamond AccentsSince inception, diamonds and colored gemstones have been desired by royalty and the general population. Being so mystical and powerful, they were used as charms and ornaments by regal families. With time passing and availability rising, the glamor and beauty of these gemstones were gifted during occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. These gemstones are beautiful for daily wear, but also are considered a sound investment.
A piece of fine colored gemstone jewelry can set the ambience and be a great shopping experience, but with the available options today, our experience has changed. Earlier there were only natural gemstones, and then came the technology. Now an array of options from natural to lab created to synthetic and imitations are available to “help” you make the right choice. Your shopping experience can get confusing and even frustrating at times with research and all the available options. All these composition variations effect the value of a gemstone. Natural gemstones will have the highest price variation because of their quality, clarity, color and exclusivity. One carat sapphire, for example, could range from $10 to $10,000 per carat depending on the quality. Educating yourself about the quality and pricing standards of these gemstones will give you a head start and allow you shop with confidence.

Gemstones Market Availability

Traditionally, the most valued gemstones are emerald, ruby and sapphire. Because of their aesthetics and legacy, these gemstones are more valuable than others. The finest quality emeralds and rubies can be more valuable than diamonds of a comparable size.
The “rising star” gemstones have gained popularity in recent years. These include gemstones such as tanzanite, imperial topaz, aquamarine, tsavorite and tourmaline. These gemstones are usually available in standard calibrated sizes, but in order to see the lustrous color, we should take a look at the larger cart size stones. Gemstones in this category are priced between $50-1000 per carat when considering average to good quality.
Exclusive gemstones have a niche market because of their rarity and premium pricing. A few examples include, but are not limited to, black opal, jadeite, demantoid garnet, paraiba, tourmaline, alexandrite, pink topaz, chrysoberyl cat's-eye and fancy colored sapphires. Collector's gemstones are the authoritative gemstones because of their quality rareness. These pieces include spinel, zircon, moonstone, morganite and other beryls. Most of these gemstones are more affordable in larger gemstone sizes. Spinels, especially in red and pink colors can demand higher prices like a few thousand dollars per carat because of their rich history.
Then, we have affordable gemstones, which combine great color with a reasonable price and are available in abundance. These gemstones include amethyst, white opal, color change garnet, ametrine, peridot, andalusite, rhodolite garnet, citrine, blue topaz, iolite, chrome diopside, kunzite, and even ornamental gemstones such as turquoise, lapis lazuli, onyx, nephrite jade, chrysoprase, and amber. Prices for these gems range between $5-100 per carat.

The Modern 5 Cs

Gemstone Color

Gemstones are available in a spectrum of colors and hues. Color is the most important factor to be considered when buying gemstones. Since gemstones are available in so many different colors and hues, there has not been a personal preference standard in the industry. As a general rule, the best colored gemstones have vivid colors, medium tones and pure hues. For example, a vivid green emerald or a pure medium deep blue aquamarine will cost more than an emerald with a secondary blue tint or a bluish green aquamarine. The extremely light and extremely dark shades are considered of lower value.
The intensity or the saturation of the color is also important. A lesser saturated gemstone will appear as if the primary color has been washed out or mixed with grey or brown shades. The fully saturated gemstones with deeper color are considered more valuable.
There are gemstones that are an exception to the color rule. Gems like orange-pink Padparadscha sapphire or a blue-green Paraiba Tourmaline or two-toned Alexandrite are highly praised for their exquisite colors. Aquamarines are more valuable in the pure medium to deep blue hue. Therefore, it is advised that you follow your instincts in aesthetics and move forward with your personal preference, because you will be wearing your jewelry on a regular basis, not them.

Gemstone Cut

Cut is the human contribution to the gemstone's appeal. A great cut can bring life to a gemstone after their initial rough crystal. Gemstones that have a proportionate shape are more ideal. A gemstone with a pavilion too shallow or too deep can lose its appeal and/or value. The cut (and the shape) of the gemstone should be pleasing to the eyes and you should be able to feel the life of the stone.Gemstone-cut
A well cut gemstone provides proper light reflection, making the stone appear more lustrous. Round is the most popular shape because they provide the most light reflection and brilliance. All other shapes are classified as fancy shapes. These include oval, emerald, pear-shape, marquise, trillion, cushion, princess, heart and more. The cabochon cut has a smooth top with a flat bottom, used mostly for gemstones such as opal, cat's eye, star sapphire and star ruby.

Important factors that consist of a good cut


reflectionReflection is defined as the bounce of light as it touches the surface of the gemstone.


RefractionWhen light passes from one medium to another, its velocity is altered.
Effect of reflection and refraction of light on the gem


Dispersion is a phenomenon in which white light is separated into a spectrum of colors and hues like a prism. For instance, when white light enters a diamond it refracts and disperses into different hues, creating a scintillating effect called 'fire'. In case of colored gemstones, only a few have a higher dispersion level.


The number of facets on a gemstone, the symmetry and uniformity, and their careful placement will tend to bring out the appeal of a gemstone.

Gemstone Shape

Gemstone shapeThe best shape is a matter of personal preference. In general, a gemstone with more facets tends to show more brilliance. Therefore, if you are looking for a gemstone that has more brilliance, you should choose a round shape. However, if you prefer a more lustrous gemstone, you should choose an emerald-cut. As a general rule, gemstones with more inclusions are cut in shapes with lesser facets.

Gemstone Clarity

Almost all natural gemstones have characteristic inclusions that form in the womb of the earth. These inclusions define the personality of the gemstone. Inclusions may include needles, crystals, fissures, voids, liquid pockets, mineral impurities or other possibilities. In the most valuable gemstones (emerald, ruby and sapphire), these inclusions are more accepted as part of their natural beauty. Especially in larger stones, we can expect more inclusions. Gemstones without inclusions or ones that are eye clean are considered more valuable. As a general rule for gemstones, the lesser the inclusions, the higher the price.

Gemstone Carat Weight

More often than not, larger gemstones are desired because of their beauty and luster. The larger sizes cost more, but the price gap depends on the gemstone and exclusivity. For example, a ruby is very rare in larger sizes; therefore a ruby of around 5 carats can cost more than a comparable diamond. On the other hand, large aquamarines are not rare, and an increase in carat size does not correlate to an exponential increase in price.


One of the most important factors that provide reassurance when buying gemstones is confidence. You need to be sure of the exact gemstone quality and price you are about to receive. Once the merchant (I.e. Angara) fulfills your requirements of the right quality at the right price, you’ll be confident in your shopping experience and purchase.

Gemstone Treatments

Most gemstones are treated to enhance their appeal. Treating gemstones is a common and accepted practice in the jewelry industry, but certain treatments are frowned upon and can lower the gemstone’s value. While buying gemstones, make sure you are aware of their treatment.

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Author : Ankit Daga