Know Your Facts About Gems

There are so many facts about gems; it can be hard to know where to start. We can start with the answer to a simple question…

What is a gemstone?

A gemstone is a piece of attractive mineral that is often cut, polished and fashioned into jewelry or other adornments. Sometimes rocks and organic materials, such as lapis and amber, are also referred to as gemstones because of their frequent use in jewelry.

Still need to know more facts about gems? Read on!

What determines the value of a gemstone?

We’ll use the 4 C’s of the diamond grading scale to help shed some light on the subject.


1.) CLARITY – Clarity describes the clearness of a gem. This refers to the number and size of its internal and external imperfections. Internal imperfections are referred to as inclusions and external ones are referred to as blemishes. Generally speaking, the fewer the imperfections the more valuable the gemstone is. Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule, but we won’t cover that now.

Know Your Facts About Gems

2.) COLOR – This describes the amount of color a gemstone contains. Diamonds have a color grading scale that is separate from other gemstones. When dealing with colored gemstones, color is considered the most important factor… influencing as much as 50% of its value! Gemstone color grading is broken down into three categories; intensity (the saturation of color), hue (the actual color of the gem) and tone (whether the color appears light or dark).

Know Your Facts About Gems 3.) CUT – Cut refers to the proportion, symmetry and finish of the gemstone. You will generally see well cut gems selling for higher prices than poorly cut ones. You may have seen a loose gemstone and noticed that it had been cut at several angles. These angles are called facets. The facets determine the amount of light reflected to the eye, otherwise known as the brillianceof the stone. Since these cuts directly relate to the ultimate beauty of the stone, how well they are arranged is of utmost importance.

Another fact about gems to keep in mind when it comes to cut is the style of cut. The reason the style is also a determining factor in the price is because waste is greater with some cuts than others. For example, quite a bit of the gemstone is wasted when making a round cut whereas less is wasted when making an oval cut. Therefore, a round cut gemstone will likely be priced higher than an oval cut one of the same clarity, color and carat weight.

4.) CARAT – Carat, or carat weight, is the unit of weight used to measure gemstones. Carats are further divided into points (100 points is equal to 1 carat). Value per carat increases with size as the larger the gemstone is, the rarer it is considered. You will see prices rise significantly once a stone reaches the one carat weight.

All four of these indicators of value are important facts about gems to keep in mind when shopping for gemstones or gemstone jewelry… and knowing these facts about gems can really help you make a wise purchase!

It is equally as important to note that there are several treatments a gemstone can undergo to enhance its appearance. Some of these treatments are permanent, while others are only temporary. Although these treatments are widely accepted for use within the gemstone industry, it’s important for you to be aware of them so that you don’t pay too much for the stone you are buying. Some common treatments used in the gemstone industry include:

  • Radiation
  • Diffusion
  • Fracture Filling
  • Laser Drilling

This is only a partial list of treatments that are acceptable for use in the industry. For more detailed information, sign up for our free monthly newsletter and get all the facts about gems you need to know.

What’s the Bottom Line?

It’s important to know your facts about gems and it’s important to ask questions when you are buying gemstone jewelry. Most jewelry vendors are honest enough, but it doesn’t mean that they are going to advertise the treatments they use either. Knowing your facts about gems can make the difference between making a wise purchase and making a purchase you may be sorry for later on