How to select colored gems

Believe it or not, if you own jewelry made with other natural gems besides diamonds, you are considered a minority! (Sorry, Swarovski doesn't count!) Colored gems is still lagging behind the popular hardiest stone and sometimes, I wonder why. 

Guess, it's like having classic, safe black or brown bags/shoes and neglecting the colored ones, which means missing out on the potential for them to make our wardrobe pop. This applies to gemstone jewelry too. Why stick with white facet-cut diamonds when there is a kaleidoscope of colored gems for the picking? 

Here're some tips on selecting colored gemstones should you decide to venture into the rainbow gem world... 

1) The 4Cs (cut, clarity, carat, color) still apply as a general rule of thumb in the determining value: 

  • Cut as in how the raw gem is processed and cut. Common gem cuts are the facet-cut (cut in many angles with a flat top and angled sides and pointed bottom), cabochon (rounded top with flat bottom), and rose-cut (cabochons with facet-cuts on the rounded top) etc. Facet-cut stones are usually more expensive not only because it takes more work to cut them but also lower clarity gems are usually chosen to be cut into cabochons to enhance its value through higher carat or better color. How well-cut is the stone also affects its value. 
  • Clarity evaluates the gem based on the amount of inclusions like small cracks, particles it has. Being a natural stone, it normal for inclusions to occur and as clearer gems will be harder to find, it is thus more valued. 
  • Carat refer to the weight of the stone. Naturally, the larger, the heavier the stone and so more expensive. 
  • Color is not about how white the gem is but what makes a good color. This brings us to the next point... 

2) Colour is very subjective - it really depends on what appeals to you and how is the jewelry worn. For example, lighter colors like lemon quartz yellow and aquamarine blue fits a day outfit, while dark, stronger colors like inky blue sapphires and blood red rubies look best in evenings. Others like smoky quartz and black spinel are more versatile, taking you from the corporate boardroom to weekend brunches . 

3) Focus on utility - Beyond just price value, evaluate what sort of look and use you want from your gemstone jewelry. Social drinks calls for a larger stone to form a attention grabbing cocktail ring while a smaller gem and/or cabochon cut is more appropriate for daily wear. Raw gems (one of my personal favorites) give a natural organic touch of colour and glitter without being too showy. 

In the end, selecting gems boils down to fitting it with what you want from your jewelry. No, diamonds are not the to-get stone for investment...there are actually many gems that are more valuable and expensive than the 'white carbon' ;) 

What is your fav colored gem? 

If you have any other personal tips on colored gem selection, please do share them in the comments. Look forward to hearing your thoughts!


Leave a comment