My dad when he was first starting out in jewelry, wanted to make a ring that included a nice Emerald. Until this time he had only worked with diamonds and was only familiar with the strength and cut of a diamond. So when he received the Emeralds he had purchased for his rings. He was disappointed in a lot of ways. The gem itself was very cloudy and not clear, the cut was different than a diamond cut and when he was working with them to set them in the ring they would break because there were a lot of weak spots and inclusions.
Gems and stones are measured in terms of quality by the 4 C’s: Color, Clarity, Carat and Cut
What you are looking for is for a gem that has no blemishes, cracks or inclusions to the naked eye. An inclusion are the imperfections that nature caused to the stone., like rocks, minerals, change of heat, etc Some gems are harder than others and so can withstand what Mother Nature throws at them a little better. Which is why when my dad was trying to set the Emerald which is a softer gem, the stone broke because it has more inclusions than a Garnet that has less inclusions because of it’s hardness.
If you were to find some colored stones that have good clarity and zero inclusions. The next step is how intense you want the color. In gems there are three categories in Color –
The Hue – describes the Primary color
Tone – describes how light or dark a stone is. An example of this would be a Garnet. The color can range to a red that is almost ruby like to a deep purple that is almost black.
Saturation – which describes how much of the Primary hue a stone contains, without grey or brown being included in the color.
Buying Colored gems is completely different than buying a diamond. Gems are cut differently than a diamond to show off the color. The cut of a colored gem does not come to an abrupt edge, because the gem is fragile and it is less likely to break with this type of cut. Some of them like an Emerald if they were cut like a diamond, it has so many cracks that it would break. They are instead cut flat to keep it strong.
The size of the stone is important. To truly show off the color saturation of a colored gem they need to be a substantial size. Sapphire, Garnet, Topaz and Amethyst look great regardless of the size. And in fact make great accents to a diamond.
WHERE TO BUY GEMS
My dad uses a service called Memo where they send you colored gems for you to see them, and if you do not like them you can send them back. You do need to be careful with this process because they try to get you to take the whole lot. Sot there are few good ones with a lot of duds. Another option is to go to a Gem show to know what you are getting and there will be a lot of options. With this method you can see the seller in person and you do not need to buy in bulk
The hardest gems to find are the Rubys and Emeralds. They are more rare than diamonds and it is hard to find a clear one of these without inclusions and great color. In fact the best place to get a quality Ruby or Emerald is to look for antique jewelry.
So remember that when you are buying a Colored Stone/gem be sure to see it to know what you are exactly getting. There are also other beautiful gems that are not as well known as the Birthstones but are equally as beautiful and more affordable. You still get a beautiful gem that is natural but without the price tag. I will write next week about my dad’s favorite Colored gems that are not as well known!
Tales of the Shop
Our Birthmonths – In our family, our birthdays would be a week long celebration and was eventually changed to your Birth Week. We still carry that tradition as we start our own small families. I myself have tried to extend it to a Birth Month…
Dad – December (For his birthday we would sometimes go up to Provo and go see three movies in one day at the movie theatre, we loved that!)
Mom – January (Loved having her birthday in January because you get the after Christmas sales!)
Collette – November It’s coming up! (She always got the best presents and she would always celebrate with the family instead of having friend parties. We loved that!)
Angela – January (I always felt special having my birthday be two days after my mom. We would celebrate our birth week together!)
Nicole – March (Always reminded us months in advance that her birthday was coming up!)
Thomas – July (He didn’t make such a big deal about it. We would usually play tennis on his birthday or doing some athletic event.)
Daniel – June (Such a precious one. He wouldn’t make a big deal about it. But we would!)
Lisa – December – (If there was a girl that loved her birthday it would be Lisa! Not only did she plan her birthday with a power point to show us what she wanted to do for her whole day. She also would celebrate her half birthday in June!)