You’d like to buy a ring with a stone in it, or a bracelet or necklace, but you don’t think you know enough about gemstones to buy online or walk into a jeweler.

We know: Gemstone Quick Reference Guide

Let us help you with understanding some of the basic facts about gemstones, so when you decide to buy, you can do it with more confidence. (Or, at least know some of the questions that need to be answered.)


Tell me about the types of gemstones.

You’ll find three types of gemstones when you shop.

  1. Natural Gemstones are found in nature, created by natural forces. They are ‘quite naturally’ more expensive than other gemstones.
  2. Laboratory-Created Gemstones are manufactured in a lab. Also called laboratory-grown or synthetic stones, they have the same chemical, visual and physical properties as natural gemstones. They are more common than stones produced by nature and are usually less expensive than stones that are mined.
  3. Imitation Gemstones are usually made from glass, plastic, or less expensive stones, even though they may look like the real McCoy.

Should I expect that gemstones should be labeled so that I can tell what kind they are?

You should indeed. If the stones you are looking at are not marked, ask to find out what kind you’re considering buying.

What’s a Carat?

It’s the unit of measure used to determine the weight of a gemstone. One carat equals one-fifth of a gram. A carat is divided further into 100 units, or points. So when you hear that a gemstone is 50 points, that means it weighs one-half carat, or one-tenth of a gram.

What’s a gemstone ‘treatment’?

There are a number of gemstone treatments or enhancements that are used to improve a stone’s appearance, durability or color. Among them are dyeing, bleaching, heating and irradiation.

Be sure to ask your jeweler whether the stone you want to buy has been treated. You need to know whether the treatment is permanent or not, whether the treatment means the stone requires special care, and how the treatment may or may not effect the value of the stone.

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