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Gemstones are beautiful minerals, precious or semi-precious stones used to make jewellery. But before jewellery can be made, gemstones need to be cut and polished.
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 colour of the gemstone representing one of the main colours from the colour palette (rainbow). Identifying the hue is as simple as stating that the gemstones are 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 the 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 is also referred to as the purity of colour. Gemstones with excellent saturation will contain little to no brown or grey hues. Naturally, the purer the colour, the more valuable the gemstone.
Gemstone’s quality is determined by one of the essential elements - cut. With 18 years of experience in the business of jewellery and gemstones, we embrace the quality of cut to maximize the grace of 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 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 more minor inclusions it will contain, the better its grading 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 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 was derived from the Greek word “smaragdos”, meaning green gem. Of the four 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, the colour is the most crucial aspect of these gemstones, 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. Nowadays, you can mainly find these stones 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, and commitment, to assure friendship, loyalty and compassion. These gemstones have been fascinating people since ancient times. It was the favourite stone of Cleopatra, and it was believed in ancient Egypt to provide eternal life. Its healing power is the other reason that makes emeralds such exceptional stones. It is thought that they can work as antidotes, cleaning the body of poison or toxins and helping to recover after infectious diseases. They are said to help cure the heart and lungs and even restore failing eyesight.
Emeralds were considered stones of Venus, able to bring security in love and relationships, thus making them one of the best choices for the engagement rings. In addition to this, they 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. Not coincidentally, its name derives from Latin “sapphirus’’, meaning blue. One of the hardest stones on earth, 9.00 on the Mohs scale, sapphires are surpassed only by diamonds and moissanite. Among the 4 C’s (colour, cut, clarity and carats) for 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 a greyish tinge. These precious stones are found nowadays in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Australia, the 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 remain the main royal gemstones in modern times. Sapphire is also the gemstone on the engagement ring given to Lady Diana by Prince Charles. Sapphires are believed to soothe anxiety, calm the nerves, and make the mind clearer. They are associated with the throat chakra, which means that the sapphires might be helpful in understanding your inner self. While providing calmer energies, they also help you concentrate and become more self-motivated. Sapphires are said to have healing powers, helping with indigestion and taking away apathy and lethargy.
Sapphires symbolise commitment, fidelity and pure love, making these precious stones perfect choices for the engagement rings. They are also the birthstones of those born in September.
One of the four 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 these stones are of the corundum family. Rubies are one of the hardest stones, having a 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 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 and fight tiredness and exhaustion. Rubies make the mind clearer, improve concentration and increase motivation. These gemstones are believed to be able to settle arguments, have the power of reconciliation, and protect from evil thoughts. Rubies are said to have healing powers, as they are associated with the heart chakra; they are believed to detoxify the body and blood. They are helpful for the heart, lower down fevers and treat restricted blood flow.
Rubies are the birthstones for those born in July and are one of the main stones chosen for the engagement rings because of their strong symbolism of passion and love. They are traditionally given as presents on the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
Classified as a precious stone, natural black diamonds are entirely opaque, which differentiates them from most diamonds. They are considered quite valuable since they are stunningly beautiful and very precious. However, they are still more affordable compared to other coloured diamonds.
There are contradictory myths and beliefs regarding the black diamonds and what they represent. According to the Indian legend, they represent Yama, the god of death. However, the Italian belief 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 are still a cheaper alternative than other coloured diamonds. The black ones are often harder to polish, which 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. The action of "cutting" is performed by the diamond dust with which the blade itself was impregnated.
Clarity - A stone's clarity 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 same black colour, resulting in them being extremely popular due to their colour's rarity. 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.
White sapphire, a precious stone, can be used in place of diamonds occasionally, not only because of the resemblance or reduced cost but also because the hardness of white sapphire is second only to diamonds. They come a close second on the Moh’s scale with a hardness of 9. In comparison, the diamonds hold a hardness of 10. Given that case, this gemstone is durable and well suited for jewellery making.
According to popular beliefs, this gemstone brings wisdom and strength of spirit. It encourages unleashing one’s talents and potential while inspiring the individual to live with integrity, staying true to their ideals. The white sapphire is also suitable for a promise between lovers. It symbolizes those who had to give up everything for each other and 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 might have similar carat, but they will weigh differently, the sapphire being the heavier one. It is recommended that when in doubt about which carat you should choose for a White Sapphire, you consider its size in millimetres.
Cut - Unlike diamonds, the white sapphires need to be cut in a custom way to highlight the uniqueness of the stone. Every jeweller will set their 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 white sapphire and a diamond. Since sapphires are mined in an environment rich in trace minerals, which can readily damage the gemstone, it is expected 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 rare. These stones are referred to as “colourless”. Some of the white sapphires come with a very pale tint of blue, pink or yellow.