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Gemstone Buying Tips for Beginners

Madhura Pandit
Gemstone jewelry is considered as one of the best and most cherished gifts for many. It is essential to be aware of certain things before buying a gemstone. One needs to put in a lot of thought before buying a gemstone.
An emerald is as green as grass,
A ruby red as blood;
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven......

Remember this classic children's poem? Well, it can help beginners get a basic idea about gemstones. Do you think you can identify a gemstone accurately? Is appearance the only criterion of choosing a gem?

How to Identify a Gemstone

There are several factors that are taken into consideration when buying a gemstone. Buying a precious stone is not as simple as buying a precious metal like gold or platinum. As mentioned, precious, semiprecious, synthetic as well as imitation stones, all look similar.
It is essential to note that gemstone is a broad term used for precious stones like emeralds and sapphires; as well as for semiprecious stones like garnet, peridot, agate, etc.
Precious stones are expensive, while semiprecious or synthetic corundum are comparatively cheaper. However, it is very difficult for amateurs to spot a difference between two gemstones.
It is essential to note that synthetic, corundum or laboratory-made gemstones are real stones as they have all the properties of the real stone. But, they are inexpensive as they are not as rare and valuable as real gemstones.
On the other hand, imitation or paste, as the name suggests, are fake stones and are not valuable. There are various methods used to identify gemstones that you can follow.

Basic Tips for Buying Gemstones

The first and the foremost thing to remember is to buy gems and gemstone jewelry only from trusted jewelers. Let us now take a look at the other techniques to follow while buying good quality gemstones.
• The diamond, ruby, sapphire (all colored) and emerald are the only precious stones found today. They are rare and hence, very valuable. All other stones are categorized into the semiprecious group.
Clear stones are priced higher than hazed and darker ones. Therefore, you should look for clarity when buying a precious stone; and remember the simple rule, clearer the stone, higher the price.
• If you see the colors of real precious stones, you will note that the expensive ones have a rich and bright color. They are neither too dark nor too light. Certain stones appear different in artificial lights. Note that lab-created or imitation gems often appear clearer than natural ones.
• Sometimes, inclusions or marks are found on real gems. These may, sometimes, lower the price of the stone. However, it is no harm in buying the stone with inclusions, if it suits you.
• The size of the gemstone, of course, makes a big difference on the price range. The unit of measuring a gem is the carat (which is one-fifth of a gram). Higher the carat, more expensive the gemstone. 
But, the weight of the gem is taken into consideration while pricing, and not its size. Therefore, two precious stones appearing of the same size do not cost the same. This is because of their difference in weight and densities.
• If you look at two or more rubies (or any other gemstones) together, you will find that each of them reflects light differently. This is due to the difference in cuts of these stones. A gemstone that is cut brilliantly and symmetrically, in one of the popular cuts (emerald cut, princess cut, cabochon cut, round cut, etc.) costs higher than the usual one.
• If you're looking for the most popular gemstone cuts, then note that the diamond cut and the classic round or oval are the most popular and timeless cuts.
• Remember that buying synthetic, corundum or imitation gemstone is not altogether a bad idea. However, one should only be careful not to pay the price of real gems for an imitation one.
Although these gemstone buying tips will help you to a large extent, it is really difficult to tell the real gem from an imitation (made of glass) for an amateur. But, you can rely on your trusted jeweler when buying good quality gemstones.