Gemstone Buying Guide

Buying a gemstone can be a daunting task. It is an experience that requires trust, not only of our senses in judging what we can discern about the gem one is considering, but also the representations of the person selling the gem. Many factors set value. Some of them like weight are tangible; others like clarity, color or origin are not. Gemstones may be accompanied by a lab report listing the color, cut, clarity and weight. They may also contain a comment about treatments or origin. Certain gemstones such as ruby or sapphire can receive a premium in the market if they are believed to be from a particular country (origin). In lieu of an independent identification and/or grading report, the seller may offer certain guarantees.

Consumers must reconcile their budget with their tastes. A smaller gem of finer quality will cost as much or more than a larger gem of lesser quality. Nature produces far fewer of the top quality gems, so there is good reason for the greater price. Thorough research on the gem before purchasing is a good start for the buyer. We recommend Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) Gem Encyclopedia which is an online unbiased source for gemstone information. The site is and provides in-depth, easily understood facts about most popular gems.


Commonly Recognized Birthstones

January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Aquamarine and Bloodstone
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Alexandrite, Pearl and Moonstone
July: Ruby
August: Peridot and Spinel
September: Sapphire
October: Opal and Tourmaline
November: Topaz and Citrine
December: Zircon, Turquoise and Tanzanite