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Gemstones are beautiful minerals which are used to make jewellery. But before jewellery can be made, gemstones need to be cut and polished. A precious or semi-precious stone, especially one cut, polished and used in a piece of jewellery.
4Cs OF GEMSTONES
Gemstone Colour (Hue-tone-saturation)
All natural gemstones are unique in their colour. To understand better the terms and to be able to identify different colour parameters it is important to focus on three things when it comes to gemstones. The same type of gemstone may have different colour intensities, shades, purity, saturation and tone. The main factors that determine the colour of a gemstone are: hue, tone and saturation.
Hue is just a primary basic colour of the gemstone, that represents one of the main colours from colour palette (rainbow). Identifying the hue is as simple as stating that the gemstones is blue, red, green or yellow.
Tone determines how intense the colour of the gemstone is. It can vary from light to dark, ideally, the most valuable tone would be neutral, meaning it is not too light and not too dark, but rather somewhere in the middle. Nevertheless, depending on design and setting of the jewellery, different tones may look more appealing than others, and sometimes it is a subject of taste and personal preference.
Saturation, also referred to as the purity of colour and gemstones with excellent saturation will contain little to none brown or grey hues. Naturally, the purer the colour, the more valuable the gemstone will be.
Gemstone’s quality is determined by one of the most important elements - cut. With 18 years of experience in business of jewellery and gemstones, we embrace the quality of cut in order to maximize the grace of every and each gemstone. An excellent cut will reflect on the quality of the gemstone, intensifying the colour, minimizing the visible inclusions and primarily, increasing the overall visual appearance. We grade cut in 4 levels: fair, good, very good and excellent. Ideally, almost all of the gemstones purchased at GLAMIRA are either of very good or excellent cut. Gemstone cut is always indicated in the details section of the product.
Gemstone clarity refers to the stone’s colour and clarity. The less inclusions it will contain, the better grading it will have and the more valuable the gemstone will be. The clarity of a gemstone depends on its type. The AAA clarity refers to very clean stones while the AA clarity refers to semi clean stones. Ideally some gemstones will be graded as AAAA quality, meaning that the highest possible clarity applies. The clarity of the gemstone is always indicated in the details section of the product.
Gemstone Carat Weight (Size)
Carat refers to the measure of the gemstone. Different types of stones will possess particular densities (mass per unit amount), therefore two gems visually looking identical in size may differ in weights. For instance, a diamond is less dense than a ruby, for this reason a 1-carat diamond will look bigger than a 1-carat ruby.
Rich and vivid green precious stones, their name deriving from the Greek word “smaragdos”, meaning green gem. One of the 4 main gemstones, along with diamonds, sapphires and rubies, emeralds come as exceptions due to their highly included surface and considerably less hardness when compared with other gemstones. The value of the emeralds is graded by the 4 C’s, colour, cut, clarity and carats. However, for these gemstones, the colour is the most important aspect, making the bright vivid green emeralds the most valuable. Clarity is the second most important criterion. As emeralds have a lot of inclusions, the more transparent the stone is, the more valuable it will be. These stones nowadays can mainly be found in Colombia, Zambia, Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania and the United States.
Associated with the heart chakra, emeralds are said to be the stones of successful love. They are believed to bring peace, fidelity, commitment, to assure friendship, loyalty and compassion. These gemstones have been fascinating people since the ancient times, becoming the favourite stone of Cleopatra and it was believed in ancient Egypt to provide eternal life. Healing powers are the other reason making emeralds such exceptional stones. It is believed that they can work as antidotes, cleaning the body of poison or toxins, helping to recover after infectious diseases. They are said to help curing the heart, lungs and even restoring the ailing eyesight.
Emeralds were considered to be stones of Venus, able to bring the security in love and relationships, thus making them one of best choices for the engagement rings and in addition to this, are the traditional birthstones of May.
Sapphires come in quite a few different colours and hues, blue being the most popular and the most associated with this precious stone and not coincidentally, its name derives from Latin “sapphirus’’, meaning blue. One of the hardest stones on earth, - 9.00 on Mohs scale, sapphires are surpassed only by diamonds and moissanites. Among the 4 C’s (colour, cut, clarity and carats), determining the value of the sapphires, the colour is the most important property. The most valuable sapphires will be of the rich vivid blue colour, not too dark and without greyish tinge. These precious stones are found nowadays in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Australia, United States, Madagascar and East Africa.
Many myths and beliefs surround the sapphires. Ancient Persians believed that the sky was painted blue to look like the colour of sapphires. They remained the main royal gemstones in the modern times, and sapphire is also the gemstone on the engagement ring given to Lady Diana by Prince Charles. Sapphires are believed to soothe anxiety, calm down the nerves, make the mind clearer. They are associated with the throat chakra, which means that the sapphires might be helpful to understand your inner self. While providing calmer energies, also helps you to concentrate and become more self-motivated. Sapphires are said to have healing powers, helping with indigestion, taking away apathy and lethargy.
Sapphires symbolize commitment, fidelity and pure love, making these precious stones perfect choices for the engagement rings. They are also birthstones of those born in September.
One of the 4 main precious stones, along with diamond, sapphire and emerald, ruby takes its name from its colour, from the Latin word “rubeus’’ meaning red. They are closely related to sapphires, as both of these stones are of the corundum family. Rubies are one of the hardest stones, having the hardness of 9.00 on the Mohs scale, yielding only to diamond and moissanite. The value of these gemstones is measured by the 4 C’s like the other gemstones - colour, cut, clarity and carats, including their place of origin. The most valuable rubies come in darker rich red colour, carrying the name of “pigeon’s blood”, not containing any hues of yellow or blue. Nowadays, rubies can be obtained in Myanmar, Madagascar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Vietnam and the United States.
Since the ancient times, rubies have been called the stones of love and passion, even considered to be aphrodisiacs, attracting sexual activity. They are believed to provide energy and enthusiasm, fight tiredness and exhaustion. Rubies make the mind clearer, improve concentration and increase motivation. These gemstones are believed to be able to settle arguments, having the power of reconciliation and to protect from evil thoughts. Rubies are said to have healing powers, as they are associated with the heart chakra, they are believed to detoxify body and blood. They are helpful for the heart, lower down fevers and treat the restricted blood flow.
Rubies are the birthstones for those born in July and one of the main stones chosen for the engagement rings because of their strong symbolism of passion and love. They are traditionally given as a present on the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
Classified as a precious stone, natural black diamonds are entirely opaque and this is what differs them from most diamonds. They are considered quite valuable since they are stunningly beautiful and considered very precious. They are still however, more affordable in comparison with other coloured diamonds.
There are contradictory myths and beliefs when it comes to the black diamonds and what they represent. According to the Indian legend, they represent Yama, the god of death. The Italian belief however, is almost in direct opposition, stating that this is the stone of reconciliation - so it is believed the black diamond can help with tying loose ends in a relationship and making it work.
Carat - The carat is the unit of weight by which a diamond is measured. The price difference among different sellers is a result of various reasons, for example, naturally mined black diamonds would be more expensive but still a cheaper alternative than diamonds in another colour. The black ones are often harder to polish and that may affect the cut.
Cut - Naturally mined black diamonds do indeed look very rough so they need to be shaped using various methods, and this process is called cutting or polishing. This is done with the help of a thin toothless circular saw blade and the action of “cutting” is performed by the diamond dust with which the blade itself was impregnated with.
Clarity - The clarity of a stone indicates the number of flaws or inclusions present in the diamond, but when it comes to Black Diamonds, it is not as important as they do not refract light as much as the other diamonds.
Colour - Natural black diamonds can be found in the rough with this exact same black colour, which results in them being extremely popular, due to the rarity of their colour. They owe their colour to the graphite which formed in the crystalline structure during the diamond's formation. Naturally, they only come in one colour-intensity, Fancy Black.
Classified as a precious stone, white sapphires can be occasionally used instead of diamonds, not only because of the resemblance or because they are more affordable, but because the hardness of the white sapphire is second only to diamonds. On the Moh’s scale they come a close second with a hardness of 9. In comparison, the diamonds hold a hardness of 10. Given that’s the case, this gemstone is durable and well suited for jewellery making.
According to the popular beliefs, this gemstone brings wisdom and strength of spirit, encourages unleashing one’s own talents and potential while inspiring the individual to live with integrity, staying true to their own ideals. But also, the white sapphire is suitable for a promise between lovers, as it symbolizes those who had to give up everything for each other and in addition, discourages jealousy in the earlier stages of the partnership or marriage.
Carat - There is a difference between the diamonds and the sapphires in general, when it comes to the carat. They both may be the same carat but they will weigh different, the sapphire being the heavier one. It is recommended that when in doubt which carat you should choose for a White Sapphire, you consider it’s size in millimeters.
Cut - Unlike diamonds, the white sapphires need to be cut in a custom way, so the uniqueness of the stone can be brought out. Every jeweller will set their own standard when it comes to sapphire cuts, and they will aim to focus on the colour of the stone to ensure the quality, as there is no standard “ideal cut” set for sapphires in general.
Clarity - Similar to others, there is a difference when comparing clarity between a White Sapphire and a diamond. Due to the fact sapphires come from an environment rich with trace minerals, which can easily affect the gemstone itself, it is accepted that all sapphires will have some inclusions. Eye-clean white sapphires are extremely rare.
Colour - it is not very common for a sapphire to be white and white sapphires of good quality are even rarer. These stones are referred to as “colourless”. Some of the white sapphires do come with a very pale tint of blue, pink or yellow.