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Gemstone Education: What You Should Be Checking in the Jewellery You Buy

Sophistication. Rareness. Durability. These are the three qualities you should look for when you buy jewellery that contains gemstones. Gemstones are exquisite pieces that elevate any piece of jewellery to make them more precious and valuable. They also serve as a means to display the unique personality of the owner. How do you exactly scrutinise a gemstone if it’s truly worth the money you pay for it? We have prepared a nifty guide to ensure that you are able to get only the gemstones with high quality and good price.

Gemstones are usually classified into two main types: precious and semi-precious. The precious gemstones include diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. The rest of the coloured gemstones are considered to be semi-precious. However, this does not necessarily mean that semi-precious stones are less valuable than precious stones. The likes of Alexandrite, Tanzanite, and Jade can compete with precious stones in terms of rarity and monetary value.

For example, the 7/8 CT TW Genuine Tanzanite14K White Gold 5-Stone Ring with Diamond Accents costs more than a 3/4 CT TW Genuine Emerald Platinum-Plated Fashion Ring With Diamond Accents despite Emerald and Diamond being both precious stones. Experts in the science of gemstones will usually perform different tests in order to correctly identify a particular stone.

Species and Varieties of Gemstones

Gemstones within the same group have similar chemical composition and crystal habit. For example, Emerald and Aquamarine belong in the same species since they contain the same amount of Aluminium, Silicon, and Oxygen in their structure. They also have a similar crystal habit of being hexagonal. What separates them apart is their colour. This makes them varieties of the beryl species. Emerald has a green colour while Aquamarine is blue.

Other varieties like Morganite, Bixbyite, and Heliodor are pink, red, and yellow in colour, respectively. The differences in colour are brought about by the trace elements that are present in their chemical composition. Another example is topaz which is usually white in colour. Other varieties are also available such as the blue topaz found in the Sofia B 2 3/4 CT TW Blue Topaz Silver Earrings.

Hue, Tone, and Saturation of a Gemstone

The colour of a gemstone will also be dependent on three factors: hue, tone, and saturation. Hue is the first colour that immediately comes into your mind when you see the gemstone, such as red, green, or yellow. The shades are then modified by adding descriptions such as slightly bluish or strongly yellowish.

The Gemmological Institute of America differentiated the colours into 31 hues. Tone indicates the lightness or darkness of a gemstone. Some gemstones can cover the whole scale. For example, the gemstone Amethyst can sometimes be quite light in tone and at times quite dark. The intensity of the dominant hue, and how dull or vivid it can be is described by saturation.

Sapphires are gemstones that perfectly illustrate the concept of saturation. The highly valued sapphires that are displayed in museums have a vivid blue colour. The shade of sapphire gemstones gradually decrease to strong, moderately strong until the blue colour becomes grey or brown. The jewellery that demonstrate the different saturation of sapphire are the 1 CT TW Sapphire and Diamond 14K Polished White Gold Heart Pendant Necklace and 2 CT TW Simulated Blue Sapphire Sterling Silver Solitaire Ring with Diamond Accents

Durability of a Gemstone

A gemstone’s capability to be designed, mounted, and carried around is dependent on how durable it is. This is measured in terms of hardness. This is done by using the Mohs Scale of Hardness which compares how well a mineral can resist scratches as compared to other gemstones. The hardest gemstones are the following: with a score of ten in the scale is Diamond, followed by Sapphire and Ruby with a score of 9, and Topaz with an 8.

A gemstone can be scratched by another gemstone who has a higher score. This means that jewellery like the V1969 Italia 4 2/5 CT Sapphire Gold-Plated Silver Cuff Bracelet can be worn regularly by those who have an active lifestyle. Those who have high resistance to scratches can be worn as bracelets or cufflinks. Other gemstones like the opal, emerald, and pearl would be more suitable to be worn as earrings or mounted in a necklace to keep them elegantly displayed but safe from harm’s way.

Why Do Gemstones Look Different in Pictures than in Real Life?

Most jewellery fanatics will buy what they consider as really beautiful. However, you should be really careful and scrutinise carefully when choosing the gemstones you prefer especially when you are buying online. The appearance might become quite different in pictures as compared to how they actually look. This is brought about by the reaction of the physical properties of the gemstone when light strikes it. Each property is explained below:

Gemstone Cut

The way a gemstone is being cut affects its shape and the manner it is being mounted onto a piece of jewellery. The opals found in the 2 CT TW Lab-created Blue Opal Sterling Silver Earrings and Pendant Necklace Set are cut to have a smooth and round surface. Other gemstones like sapphire are usually shaped with precision in order to have a series of flat and symmetrical facets which result to quite a pleasing illumination of the gemstone's colour. Some cutters may also utilise convex or concave surfaces, which make the coloured gemstone look like small sculptures. A gemstone that has been cut quite well will have a sparkle that will further accentuate its beauty.

Refraction and Pleochroism

The entrance of light into a gemstone causes it to change its speed and the direction it is travelling. This natural occurrence is called refraction. This is also the reason why a pencil appears bent or broken when placed in a glass of water. The light travels at a slower speed than the air. This causes the apparent distortion. In gemmology, the magnitude at how much light travels faster in air as compared to the gemstone is measured using a refractometer and expressed in terms of the refractive index.

Sometimes a gemstone will turn out to be double or triple refractive which can be confirmed using a dichroscope. This phenomenon is called pleochroism, which causes the appearance of several colours in a single stone. When you look at a gemstone which exhibits pleochroism through a dichroscope, the instrument is able to separate these colours. Without the instrument, the human eye only mixes the colours and will appear as a combination such as red orange or red violet.

Imagine the colour of the apple fruit being compared to the seeds of a pomegranate. A person who does not have a trained eye will most likely not be able to distinguish the difference between the two. But, an expert can. An example of a gemstone that exhibits pleochroism is topaz. Red is a highly sought after colour of this gemstone. A variety called imperial topaz is highly valued and considered quite rare. Many gemstone dealers emphasise that a gemstone should be able to display a reddish pleochroic colour in order to be considered as imperial topaz.

Natural, Lab Created and Imitation Gemstones

Natural gemstones are the real deal. They are produced with adequate amount of heat, temperature, and substances from the depths of the earth or deposited along bodies of water. Natural gemstones are the gold standard when it comes to the physical, chemical, and optical properties of gemstones. Gemstones that are created in laboratories are still considered as real gemstones. The sapphire mounted in a 2 1/4 CT TGW 6mm Round Cut Blue Lab-Created Sapphire 14K White Gold Solitaire Stud Earrings is an example of this. They are similar to the natural sapphire in terms of resistance to scratches and durability. They may even look more stunning than the real ones! The difference will only reflect on the price due to the rarity of the gemstones.

The ease of producing lab-created sapphires decrease their rarity, thereby lowering their value. The only gemstones you should stay away from are the imitations. They may only be made of glass, plastic or stones assembled together. People often find it hard to distinguish which gemstones are real or just plain imitation. It is important to consult an expert or just go to a reliable store before you make your purchase.

Buy High Quality Gemstones at Ice Online Australia

Gemstones naturally enhance the beauty of any piece of jewellery with their elegance. This is why gemstones are prone to imitation which may not be immediately detected by an inexperienced shopper.

Here at Ice Online Australia, we assure you that only the authentic gemstones are used for the jewellery that we sell. We always make sure that your shopping experience with us will be fun and unforgettable. The information found in our catalogue is comprehensive and accurate so that online shopping will be hassle-free. With our gemstone collection, you will surely stand out in any event you go to. Browse our online catalogue today!