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How to Buy Jewelry?  Gems and Jewelry Care, Ten Rules to Buy Jewelry






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How to Buy Jewelry? (Part 6)  Gems (Continued), Jewelry Care, Ten Rules to Buy Jewelry

  • Other Gems
    Diamonds are not the only gems you want to be careful buyingDiamonds, at least, have standards of quality in the four Cs, but there are no similar standards for colored gemstones.  However, you can learn a lot by looking around and asking questions.
    In buying any gems, ask the jeweler to explain any term you do not understandBeware of any term used with a gem other than “genuine.” Remember, a balas ruby is no more a ruby than an evening emerald is an emerald.  The more expensive the gem, the more important it may be for you to ask about a GIA certificate.
    A director of the New York City GIA says certification is important for emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. For one thing, there are so many different kinds of these gems being simulated in the laboratory that even a reliable jeweler may not be aware of all of them. One purpose of the GIA, on the other hand, is to keep abreast of developments in simulated gems.  In the case of colored gemstones, the gem may be of any size and may be set.  What is certified is simply the authenticity of the gem. The lack of standards for colored gemstones and the fact that color can be very much a mater of personal preference preclude a detailed rating.
    In many fine jewelry stores, there is a certified gemologist on the staff. A certified gemologist has been trained in gem detection and has been certified by either the American Gem Society or the GIA after passing courses and stiff examinations.  He or she is qualified to certify gems, although the certificate will not be issued by the GIA.  In cases of doubt, however, the facilities of the GIA are available to these jewelers and to you.
    Emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are not the only gems, which you should insist on a guarantee of authenticity.  You also want one for smoky and yellow topaz, since too much quartz and citrine is sold as the more valuable topaz.  The same verification should be a condition of your buying rhodolite or grossular garnets.  Both gems are far rarer and more expensive than ordinary garnets.
    You want to check the prices of colored gems.  Too low a price, in the range a couple of hundred dollars, is one indication that none of the above gems is what it is supposed to be. Don’t be so eager for a bargain that you forget your common sense. No jeweler who knows what he is doing is going to offer a gem worth $1,000 or much more than that for a few hundred dollars or less. So, listen carefully to the terms being used and insist on certification of authenticity when you have any doubts.
    Star and eye gems require other precautions. You want to be sure the star and eye are centered. To do so, hold gem under a light and move the gem from side to side. Part of value lies in the centering of the eye or star, and any jewel that is off center is not worth a top price. If the gem is inexpensive enough, it may be able to be recut and set but you will be adding to the original price.
    Again, the type and color of lighting are important. A blue light, for example, will affect the color of any gem.  You want to see the gem under daylight and/or regular lighting. Move the gem from side to side, examining it from all angles.  Unless the gem is pleochroic, the color should be intense throughout with no shadings or dark or light spots.  By the same token, if holding a gem up to daylight is a good test of color, it is not a gauge of its clarity or quality. You should need a loupe or microscope to see most inclusions, except for those gems, which depend on the inclusions for their special effects. Some gems, such as emeralds, are also more often flawed than not, bit most flaws should not be seen with naked eye at least as far as the better and best gemstones are concerned.


In buying any jewelry, you need to consider what care you should take with it once you purchase it.  All jewelry needs to be stored. How should you store it? Will any of the gems fade in light, as some topaz or amber may?
Jewelry needs to be cleaned too; it is not safe for all jewelry.  In addition, if the jewelry is strung, special care may be needed to keep the string dry since wet string can affect the gems.

You also want to know whether the gem will chip, break, or scratch easily, how hard it is and how fragile. This is particularly important for rings, which take the most punishment.  You may be able to wear some gems almost all the time, while other gems may have to be removed even when you are washing your hands.  Although all these questions are answered in later articles, you should ask the questions and be told the answers when you are looking at jewelry. They are an important part of how to buy jewelry and how to be satisfied with what you buy.

Any reliable jeweler should be able, and willing, to satisfy your curiosity. But how do you know a jeweler is reliable? To find the answer to last question please remember to read the next part of our jewelry article!

Ten Rules for Buying Jewelry

Before going on to our next article “where to buy jewelry?,” however, here are ten rules that summarize the guidelines for buying jewelry:

  1. Buy jewelry as you would any other luxury item, because it’s beautiful, you like it, and you can afford it.
  2. Do not buy jewelry as an investment.  You have to consider manufacturing costs, overhead and profit, all of which increase the cost of jewelry above the value of the gems and precious metals used.
  3. Do not look for bargains or “sales” in fine jewelry, both of precious metal and gems. You get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get in most cases.
  4. In buying precious metals, insist on seeing the karat, platinum, or sterling silver marking. Look for hallmarks as standards of quality.
  5. Inspect precious metals and settings for rough spots or edges that indicate less than quality care was taken in finishing the jewelry.
  6. Beware of blue, colored or tinted lights that can change the color of gems.  Insist on seeing a gem in daylight or under white fluorescent light.  Make sure the light is good and strong.
  7. Check gems from all angles, moving them under the light. Although this precaution is essential with star and eye gems, it is also necessary for other gems.
  8. Ask about a verification or certification of authenticity from the GIA of any gem that might be questionable and of all diamonds of 1 carat in size and above.
  9. Ask about names or terms you do not understand.  Make sure you are satisfied before you buy.
  10. Be sure you understand what care you should take in wearing, storing, and cleaning jewelry before you decide to buy it.

Customer Satisfaction is of paramount important to The Jewelry Hut.

Buy with confidence at The Jewelry Hut


To Web Masters:

The article above can be used on your web site or newsletter.

When it is published, may I request that you include my name and resource box (the bio, contact and copyright information) that follows the article. I would also appreciate if you could send me an email of notification along with a complimentary copy of the publication.

Copyright 2005 Bijan Aziz.

Bijan Aziz is the owner and Web Master for The Jewelry Hut

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