Looking to add to your jewelry collection? Thinking of having a piece of jewelry custom made with just the right gemstone accent? Don't spend a cent until you read through this guide on how to shop for gemstones first.
Know the difference between a natural and a genuine gemstone. Gemstones come in two original forms -- natural and genuine. A natural gemstone hasn't been altered. It comes straight from nature, and has maybe been cut or polished but nothing else. On the other hand, a genuine gemstone (which is still real) has been treated to enhance its appearance and therefore isn't natural anymore. Jewelry manufacturers often enhance gemstones to make them look better; otherwise, people probably wouldn't buy those gems.
Watch out for synthetic gemstones! If you're shopping for gemstones, you might also come across a synthetic gemstone. These have the same look and character of natural or genuine gemstones, but they aren't made by nature. In fact, they're made in a factory. Synthetic gemstones are created in mass quantities according to a specific ‘recipe'. However, these are very easy to detect because the final product is just too perfect. There is still some value placed on synthetic gems, but not near as much as the real thing. Talk to an experienced jewelry about detecting synthetic gemstones before you agree to buy one.
Not all gemstones are valuable. Contrary to what you may have been told, natural and genuine gemstones aren't very valuable if they're of poor quality, or if they're made of synthetic materials. It is the higher-quality gemstones that are worth more money. See if the stone you're interested in comes with any documentation. You need to be sure that you know the facts on a specific gem before you even consider paying top dollar for it.
Gemstone pricing varies. Just as with any other product, gemstones are priced based largely on supply and demand. Prices will rise and fall depending on what is in high demand at the time. High quality (natural) rubies are rare and therefore demand is always high (as is the price of this gemstone). Supply is limited because of the political turmoil going on in areas where these precious gemstones are mined, which is another reason these gemstones are so expensive. Compared to a ruby, red garnets are similar in appearance but definitely not rare. So when you're shopping for either of these gemstones, expect the pricing to vary greatly.
Do your research first. Because there are so many different types of gemstones, it's really important that you do some research on the kind of gemstone you're looking for before you head out to the jewelry store. Decide what type of gemstone you're interested in, or at least what colors of gemstone you'd like to have. Look into pricing, color variations, quality, characteristics, and so on. You need to be at least slightly educated so that you don't get the wool pulled over your eyes, so to speak. And even after you have done your gemstone research, only shop at a trusted jewelry store. Ask as many questions as you can while you shop for your next gemstone so that you can compare your options and decide on the best piece of jewelry for you.