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Your Guide to Gems and Jewelry
Table of Contents
Your Guide to Precious Gems and Jewelry Learning the Lingo What About Carats Evaluating Color Judging Transparency and Clarity All About Cuts Learn About Cat's Eye and Stars Pros and Cons of Synthetics What Are the Different Types of Stones Evaluating Gemstones How to Spot Fraud Caring for Your Jewelry Where and How Gemstones Are Mined Buying Wholesale Hand-crafted Jewelry
Learning the Lingo
Jewelry with a Capital J, Understanding Basic Jewelry Terms, Processes, and Techniques
It is easy to feel intimidated and out-of-place when you’re visiting a high-class jewelry store for the first time. To avoid making unwanted and uninformed purchases, improve your knowledge about jewelry starting with the tips below. If you speak the same language people in the jewelry industry speak then you’ll go home with the jewelry piece you want, need, and definitely can afford.
The Meaning of Gemstone
A gemstone may be a rock, mineral, or even a petrified material that’s cut and polished to be used for making jewelry. It may even be harvested like pearls or organic material like amber, just as long as it has aesthetic appeal. In the old days, precious gemstones only referred to the Big Three: emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. Everything else was labeled as semi-precious gemstones.
Categories today, however, have changed and expanded to avoid further confusion.
The Ins and Outs of Lapidary
Lapidary refers to the process of cutting and polishing gemstones. Rough materials are left uncut and unpolished. Cobbed materials are referred to as fractured. Materials like silicon carbide and diamond, due to their hardness, are used for cutting gemstones in a progressive abrasion process. Compounds like aluminum and chromium oxide are, on the other hand, used for polishing gemstones.
Common cutting techniques include tumbling, drilling, polishing, lapping, sanding, grinding, and sawing. Cut gemstones are then polished into several forms such as sculptures, intaglios, cameos, mosaics, intarsias, inlays, spheres, beads, cabochons, and faceted stones.
Sawing The main tool used in sawing is a copper or steel blade with diamond grit on the edges. Water or oil is used to eliminate cutting debris and prevent the blade and stone from overheating.
Diamond-impregnated grinding wheels made of silicon carbide are used to grind gemstones and shape them into a pre-form. Liquid substance is also
used to prevent both the stone and tool from overheating.
This process is similar to grinding but uses finer abrasives. It is often performed as a follow-up after grinding for removing scratches caused by the previous cutting technique. For round gemstones, a belt sander may be used to ensure smoother and rounder curves.
A lap, which is a flat disk that’s either vibrating or rotating, is used to create flat surfaces rather than round ones. The process however is similar to sanding and grinding.
This technique is used if the lapidarist wishes to create a hole through or in a gemstone. Drilling tools may be rotating or ultrasonic.
A gemstone that’s placed in a rotating barrel filled with water and abrasives is tumbled for polishing. These gemstones are usually roughly shaped and the polishing process is gradual and performed with interval washings. Sometimes, vibratory machines are used in lieu of rotating barrels. This way, the barrels vibrate rather than rotate. Tumbling techniques are also used to polish metal jewelry pieces.
Cabbing or cabochon cutting is achieved by gluing or dopping the gemstone into a metal or wooden dopstick or simply holding it in place. The cabbing machine then twirls and creates a round smooth surface top and a flat or slightly rounded bottom for the gemstone. This is usually an alternative to faceting for gemstones that possess too many inclusions.
Gemstones that have faceted forms reflect brilliant color and clarity from all sides and at all light levels. This technique is most suitable for transparent stones. Today, new techniques like grooves and concave facets are used to create new looks for faceted gemstones.
The Importance of Cut and Polish in Gemstones
Cut is one of the all-important 4C’s and is used not only to appraise diamonds but gemstones in general as well. Gemstones are often cut with regard to their size alone. But beautifully cut gemstones take their color into consideration as well.
If you are shopping for faceted gemstones, one way of determining the excellence of its cut is to check if it’s able to reflect light on a consistent level throughout its surface. Look for symmetrical rather than asymmetrical cuts as well. Lastly, be reminded that cut is different from shape.
Polish is simply adding the final touches to a gemstone. A well-polished gemstone is one with evenly smooth gloss and with no visible scratches on its surface.
What About Carats
Bigger is not Always Better: Understanding How Gemstones are Weighed and Measured
Although bigger seems better and more expensive, it’s not always so in the
world of jewelry. In fact, size isn’t even synonymous with carat weight and you need to keep that in mind when shopping for gemstones.
Carat Weight versus Size
Diamonds and colored gemstones alike are evaluated and appraised according to the 4C’s which are made up by cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Carat weight is much different from size and definitely more important than the latter. Also, take note that carat is different from karat, which is the measurement unit used for gold. Carat weight uses the abbreviation ct and ct TW for carat total weight.
In the past, carob seeds were traditionally used to measure a gemstones weight because of its uniform shape and size. In 1913, however, the jewelry industry managed to set universal standards for measurement and the carat weight system was born.
One carat is always equivalent to one-fifth or twenty percent of one gram. One carat is made up of one hundred points. As a gemstones weight goes up, so does its value or price per carat.
The way carat weight is discussed is occasionally a cause for confusion.
Remember that a gemstone with .005 ct may be called a half point gemstone. A .25 ct gemstone could be called a quarter carat while a .50 carat gemstone may be referred to as a half carat or fifty points.
Gemstones are often listed according to their size because it is more uniform than carat weight. Two different gemstones may have the same size but different carat weights and consequently, different prices as well.
Factors Affecting Gemstone Carat Weight
A 1 carat ruby is smaller than a 1 carat emerald. This is mainly due to the gemstones specific gravity. A gemstones denseness level can make it carry greater weight even though it has a smaller size than other gemstones with the same carat weight. While carat weight is important for traditional and much-prized gemstones, it tends to lose its significance when it comes to common gemstones with high supplies like blue topaz, citrine, and amethyst. Amethyst, in fact, used to be classified as one of the precious stones but its price went down when loads of shipment arrived from Brazil in the 19th century.
Gem Shape or Cut
The shape and cut can occasionally affect the carat weight. While most jewelry designers cut gemstones with size and carat weight in mind, others place more importance on its aesthetic value and may therefore reduce carat weight and size in favor of improved looks. The same can be said for shape as well.
The table diameter is often considered important only for measuring or evaluating the brilliance of a given gemstone, but what few people realize is that it can affect the gemstones carat weight as well.
Similar to gem cut and shape, if the table diameter is shaped in such a way to maximize its window-like characteristics, carat weight might be consequently sacrificed.
Today, studies show that a lot of gemstones sold on the market are cut to take commercial concerns into consideration. Many of these gemstones report loss in weight of just 10% or lower. Some are even cut to the extent of making them appear bigger as well.
The girdle is the dividing line between a gemstones pavilion and crown or its bottom and top facets. Ideally speaking, girdles must be extremely thin and preferably visible only to the naked eye like a light line. Thick girdles not only reduce brilliance and light yield but negatively affect the gemstones color as well. Girdles are often referred to as edges and they are graded as any of the following: very thin, thin, medium, thick, thick, and very thick. Thin girdles look better, but they’re lighter in weight and easier to chip.
The crown of a gemstone refers to its upper area and position on top of the girdle. Acceptable crown height for gemstones is between 11.0 to 16.2% of the girdle diameter. Greater crown height often means greater carat weight.
The pavilion is the bottom portion of a faceted gemstone. Greater bulge usually means heavier carat weight.
This is the facet at a gemstones tip. Like the girdle, culets are better invisible to the naked eye. It may be sharp or pointed.
Evaluating Color How to Determine the Price Value of Color in Gemstones
Gemstones may come in a rainbow of colors, but the jewelry industry uses a universally defined system to grade it. Color accompanies clarity, cut, and carat weight to make up the 4C’s and can greatly affect the aesthetic value of gemstones.
Many people mistakenly believe that darker is always better, but what they should be looking for is brightness and vividness. Use the following tips to accurately evaluate the color of gemstones by yourself:
Evaluating Color of Gemstones by Using the GIA or Munsell Color Grading System
Although there are many and equally effective color grading systems in use today, the GIA or Munsell System is a good primer to start with. It utilizes a plastic set made up of 324 color pieces to serve as standard references. If a
certain color is found missing from the system, interpolation can be performed to come up with more than 760 additional shades.
The GIA or Munsell system is made ideal for judging the color of gemstones because they are built with 3D plastic pieces that resemble faceted gemstones.
Elements of Color
The color of gemstones should be judged according to the three main elements:
This is the first impression we obtain from viewing colors. It is what makes rubies red, sapphires blue, emeralds green, and amethysts purple. Hues have a natural order and they are red, yellow, green, blue, and lastly purple. Numerous shades can be achieved by mixing together any two of these hues.
Chroma or Saturation
This element refers to the vividness, purity, strength, or intensity of a given color. Gemstones with low chroma are referred to as weak while those with
high levels of saturation are called vivid or strong. Saturation of colored gemstones may be classified as the following in ascending order: grayish or brownish, slightly brownish or grayish, very slightly grayish or brownish, moderately strong, strong, and lastly vivid.
Value or Tone
This is what makes you think of red as light or dark red. Gray as well as black and white are referred to as neutral or achromatic colors because they don’t possess any hue. Colors with hues are referred to as achromatic colors. GIA uses a numerical system, with its written definitions, to evaluate neutral and achromatic colors alike. For transparent colored gemstones, however, only grades or tones two to eight are considered.
0 colorless or white 1 extremely light 2 very light 3 light 4 medium light 5 medium 6 medium dark 7 dark
8 very dark
Treatments Used for Changing Colors of Gemstones
When shopping for colored gemstones, another question you should definitely ask and one you couldn’t evaluate without a definite honest answer is if the color is natural or applied. There are several commonly used and accepted color treatments that are applied to gemstones in order to change their appearance like heat treatment, irradiation, dyeing, and straining.
This is the most commonly utilized and one of the oldest treatments for modifying the color of gemstones today. This treatment may use temperature ranging from 100 degrees Celsius to more than 2000 degrees Celsius and improves color distribution as well as reducing visibility of flaws.
Low or high electromagnetic waves or energy particles are used to change the color of a given gemstone. Like heat treatment, there is little remaining evidence that could clue a buyer to its use.
With irradiation, certain gemstones have their colors enhanced. Bleached, off-color pearls will obtain a darker tint. Brown or light yellow diamonds can become colored. Light yellow or colorless sapphires may turn yellow to orange, but the change could only last for days. Colorless quartz may turn into smoky quartz. Colorless as well as pale pink and dark blue beryl may become yellow. Time, light, and heat may, however, cause the color for treated beryl jewelry to fade.
Dyeing and Straining
This is the major term used to refer to various techniques utilizing a foreign and differently colored substance to modify the color of a given gemstone. A combination of techniques, like dyeing and clarity enhancement for beryl, may be used to improve overall effects. In coating, the application of a second substance is only done on the surface.
Practice makes perfect so browse jewelry shops to familiarize yourself with the various signs that could alert you to the use of applications and treatments on gemstones.
Judging Transparency and Clarity Understanding the Clarity and Transparency of Gemstones
Clarity, together with cut, color, and carat weight, is one of the four important C's used for evaluating and appraising gemstones. Clarity determines the level of flawlessness of a given gemstone. With great clarity comes great transparency as well. Transparency determines the ability of light to pass through a gemstone and inclusions, which are a no-no in judging quality, can also hinder transparency. Use the following tips to help you evaluate the clarity and transparency of gemstones.
How to Evaluate Clarity in a Gemstone
Clarity assesses and grades the external and internal characteristics of a given gemstone. Inclusions such as feathers and crystals are examples of internal flaws. They originate from within but may extend to the surface. Blemishes such as scratches and nicks are examples of external flaws.
Blemishes are generally quite small and only appear on the surface of gemstones. Feathers are cracks or fissures within a gemstone. Crystals are minerals trapped inside gemstones. Inclusions carry greater weight in diamonds than other colored gemstones. While they are expected to occur in
certain gemstones like red tourmaline and emerald, inclusions hardly occur in gemstones like aquamarine and citrine.
At times, inclusions and blemishes occur due to the cutting technique utilized. Also, inclusions, at times, increase the value of a gemstone. This is true in the cases of eye in cats eye and stars in rubies and sapphires.
Upon assessing the number, color, nature, location, and size of these flaws, an authorized individual will then grade the clarity of the gemstone on a scale of 0 to 10.
Unlike cut, clarity definitely affects the prices of gemstones.
Types of Gemstones according to Clarity
These gemstones are free from inclusions most of the time. They
include but aren’t limited to yellow beryl, blue topaz, and amethyst. Their grades range from VVS to I.
Type 2 These gemstones generally possess inclusions. They include but aren’t limited to sapphires, rubies, and alexandrite. Their grades range from VVS to I as well.
Type 3 These gemstones are rarely without inclusions. They include but aren’t limited to red tourmaline and emeralds. Their grades range from VVS to I1.
Factors Affecting Inclusions in Gemstones
Minute and minor inclusions are small in size and hardly visible. Obvious inclusions are easily observable. Prominent includes are hard to miss at all.
Also known as color or relief, contrast refers to the difference between a gem and included crystal. Inclusions, based on their contrast levels, may be barely noticeable or a distraction.
Inclusions may appear individually or in clusters and clouds. Keep in mind however that the degree of distraction carries more weight than the number of inclusions present.
Inclusions located at the center of a gemstone or under the table are less desirable than those occurring near the girdle.
Grading System for Gemstone Clarity
VVS 1 and 2 Eye-Clean and Extra Fine
Something more than 10x
magnification eyepiece is necessary just to make the inclusions in a gemstone visible.
VS 1 and 2 Slightly Included and Fine Quality
Tiny pin-prick inclusions are visible under careful scrutiny but their presence doesn’t affect the overall appearance of the gemstone.
S1 Moderately Included and Good Quality
Although the inclusions are easier to see, they still don’t detract too much from the overall appearance of the gemstone.
S2 Moderately Included and Good to Medium-High Quality
When held closer than arms length, the gemstone will show inclusions that are easily visible.
Included 1, 2, and 3; Heavily to Severely Included and Low to Medium Quality
Inclusions here are either highly visible or worse, they virtually draw attention to themselves.
Levels of Transparency in a Gemstone
Transparent gemstones are those which you can see right through. Their internal features are clear and defined. Semi-transparent gemstones on the other hand may appear a bit hazy and blurry. Not all of its internal features may appear distinct.
The internal characteristics of translucent gemstones are vague and not that easy to see. Semi-translucent or semi-opaque gemstones, on the other hand, simply provide even greater challenge for the individual to see through it.
Lastly, opaque gemstones don’t show internal characteristics at all.
When evaluating the transparency and clarity of a gemstone, make sure to clean it first as dirt and oil can reduce transparency. Use a microscope if possible. Lastly, loose gemstones are easier to evaluate because settings can conceal inclusions located at the gemstones pavilion. All About Cuts
Knowing the Different Cuts for Gemstones: Cutting Loose from Jewelry Misassumptions
When grading and appraising gemstones, cut may not be as influential as the other C's like color, clarity, and carat weight, but it is definitely an influencing factor when it comes to the gemstones overall beauty. To properly evaluate the cut of a given gemstone, you must not only study the face-up view or the surface or top view but study it from all other angles as well. An excellent cut can reduce loss on carat weight but enhance its looks to breathtaking proportions at the same time.
Common Cuts Used on Gemstones
A brilliant-cut gemstone usually has three flat polished surfaces per facet. They are positioned in such a way to radiate the best light from the gemstone. Gemstone cutters also make sure that the angles will enhance the brilliance of the gemstone. Brilliant cuts are mostly used for diamonds and transparent gemstones.
Some facets will have one or more shapes like stars, hearts, kites, and lozenges. Variations of the brilliant cut include the naiveté or boat-shaped marquise, pear-shaped pendeloque, and oval shape. Oval shapes are suitable for gemstones with lower carat weight because they can make them appear bigger.
The most popular variation of all is the full-cut round brilliant. It has fifty-eight facets, presently the greatest count for brilliant cut gemstones. The single brilliant cut, on the other hand, has seventeen to eighteen facets. For gemstones used in earrings and pendants, the briolette variation is mostly used to provide it with circular cross-section teardrop shapes. Brilliant cuts with triangular dimensions are called trilliants while square brilliant cuts are also known as princess cuts.
Another popular cut for a gemstone is the step or trap cut. Step cuts are best used for colored gemstones because they possess four-sided table facets and girdles as well as parallel quadrilateral facets. The term step cut was used because this gemstone cut bears similarities with a staircase. Step cuts have fewer facets than brilliant cuts.
One well-known variation of a step cut is the baguette. It is rectangular in shape but with square corners. Emerald cuts are also quite popular. Its name was derived from its consistent use with emeralds. Emerald cuts remove the corners and form an octagonal shape. Clipping off the corners protect delicate gemstones like emeralds and facilitate setting of gemstones at the same time. Other popular variations for step cuts are window, table, radiant, and oval.
The best advantage of step cuts is its ability to enhance a gemstones color, making the color richer and appearing to have originated straight form the belly of the gemstone.
Mixed cuts for gemstones are mostly combinations of brilliant and step cuts. The crown or top portion of a gemstone will resemble a brilliant cut while the pavilion or bottom portion of a gemstone will receive a step cut. At times, the
two cuts will appear side by side. Mixed cuts are also characterized by their rounded outlines. Many transparent gemstones like rubies and sapphires are often cut this way. Gemstones with mixed cuts are also commonly set in prongs.
Variations for mixed cuts include but are not limited to cushion, zircut, pear or teardrop, and oval.
A gemstone with a cabochon cut will appear rounded on top and flat on the bottom. At times, gemstones will only appear in this cut. Height of a gemstones dome with a cabochon cut varies. The name is derived from the French term used for bald heads. Cabochon cuts are simplest to make, and that’s why you’ll often see them used on affordable gemstones and those that will not benefit from faceting.
Any other cut besides those mentioned above is usually referred to as fancy. A checkerboard cut, for instance, will have a combination of a large table facet on top and a mixed cut. A rose cut will have a round girdle outline, flat base,
dome-shaped crown, and facets of a brilliant cut.
When judging the cut of a gemstone, start by evaluating it face up. See if the gemstone shows uniform color distribution and radiates light in the best possible way. Gemstones cut with large windows are unappealing. Lastly, recheck all other angles and determine if the cut took both carat weight and looks into consideration.
Learn About Cat's Eye and Stars
Cat's Eyes and Star Gemstones - Bad is Sometimes Better
Cats eyes and stars appearing in gemstones are still considered inclusions but of a unique type. While the presence of inclusions is often detrimental to the value and looks of gemstones, cats eyes and stars have the opposite effect. These may occur naturally or man-made but ultimately, they enhance the beauty of gemstones. Use the following tips when shopping for gemstones with stars and cats eyes.
What You Need to Know about Cats Eye
Cats eye is a product of chatoyance or chatoyancy. It is an optical effect
brought about by a certain light intensity emitting in a specified direction from the gemstones surface. Cats eye may either be produced by fibrous cavities or inclusions, such as the case of cats eye in chrysoberyl, or fibrous structures like cats eye in quartz.
The effects of chatoyancy can also be achieved in woodworking and providing products with 3D appearances.
Chrysoberyl This gemstone is arguably the most popular gemstone for its cats eye inclusions. Chrysoberyl is often mistakenly believed to be under the beryl group of stones. In truth, chrysoberyl is not part of the beryl group, but aquamarines and emeralds are. Chrysoberyl are mostly found in East Africa, Sri Lanka, and Brazil.
This gemstone registers the third highest rating in the Mohs Scale for naturally occurring stones. There are three types of chrysoberyl: alexandrite, the more common yellow chrysoberyl, and lastly cymophane or cats eye.
Common chrysoberyl is yellowish-green. It may be translucent or transparent. If it turns yellow and see-through, that’s the time it can be used as a gemstone. Alexandrite, on the other hand, has colors varying from orange-yellow to red to emerald-green. It can display even other colors if seen
under artificial lighting.
Lastly, there’s cymophane or the chrysoberyl cats eye. Its name was derived from its similarities with a cats eye, showing a silk-like spread of light stretching from a light-green source.
Certain gemstones belonging to the beryl group can also display chatoyant features. This includes golden and green beryl, aquamarine, and emerald. The effects are, however, not as intense as those in chrysoberyl and therefore needs special mounting to strengthen the look and feel of its cats eye.
This is the most abundant mineral in the Earths crust. Not all of the minerals belonging to the quartz group are able to display cats eye on their surfaces. Those that can are rose quartz, citrine, smoky quartz, cats eye quartz, and amethyst. Some believe that cats eye quartz are able to help improve vision problems, self-healing, concentration, and psychic abilities, as well as provide better judgment.
What You Need to Know about Star Gemstones
Stars in gemstones occur mainly because of asterism. It is another optical effect caused by a certain reflective portion of the gemstone. There are two kinds of asterism that occur in gemstones.
Stars appear when light is transmitted through the gemstone. It will only be visible, however, if light illuminates the gemstone from the back. Rose quartz exhibits this effect.
This occurs mostly with rubies and sapphires. Light this time is reflected on inclusions positioned parallel with each other.
Star gemstones come in a wide variety. For sapphires and rubies, there are yellow, purple, gray, black, blue, silver, white, and 12-ray stars. Burma and Sri Lanka are the top producers of star sapphires and rubies. Other gemstones with stars possibly appearing on their surfaces include sunstones, garnets, rutiles, quartz, diopside, citrine, moonstone, prasiolite, and chrysoberyl as
How to Shop for Star and Cats Eye Gemstones
A single light source like a candle, light bulb, or even sunlight is best used when judging the quality of stars and cats eyes in a given gemstone. This type of lighting will reduce chances of blurring and make it easier for you to determine the intensity of these much-coveted inclusions.
The appearance of the cats eye or star must be clearly distinct from the body of the gemstone.
How far does the star or cats eye extend? Bigger size is better, but some clients may prefer a more subtle effect.
More specifically, color for stars in gemstones differ. It is up to you to choose which appeals to you the most.
Lastly, remember that all gemstones with stars and cats eyes are cabochon cut to maximize their effects. Thus, viewing uncut gemstones won’t yield accurate results.
Pros and Cons of Synthetics Synthetic Gems: Outdoing Nature?
When most people think about synthetic gems, the first thing that comes to mind is a misconception that these are "cheap imitations" compared to the real, natural gems that they are patterned after. However, what most people don't know is that there are many types of man-made or modified natural gems whose quality and appearance can easily rival those of "natural" gemstones while costing much less than their original counterparts.
Defining Natural and Synthetic Stones
A lot of different terms are used in the gemstone industry today, and you have to know what the terms mean to keep yourself from getting ripped off. A
natural gemstone is, by definition, exactly that - a natural stone mined from a quarry, and the only human intervention regarding it's appearance is to cut and polish it, nothing more. Natural gemstones of high quality and beauty are the rarest and most expensive types of gemstones. Treated gemstones, on the other hand, are natural gems which, despite cutting and polishing, would have normally fallen below the standards of high quality natural gems. These gems are treated with chemicals and several procedures to enhance their appearance to match higher quality gemstones. Lastly, there are synthetic gemstones. These are man made gems created completely inside a factory or laboratory. Synthetic stones are, in chemical composition, exactly like their natural gemstone counterparts. As a matter of act, they are TOO perfect in appearance, because their physical parameters and composition are made expressly for jewelry purposes.
Different Types of Synthetic Stones
There are two main types of synthetic stones based on how they were created. The first is factory-produced synthetic stones. Basically, these are stones created using the same elements as a natural stone, and fused together under artificial conditions (like superheating and pressure) to make a gemstone in much less time than it would take for one to develop naturally. These can be churned out at a rapid rate and in very large volumes. The second type is
lab-grown gemstones. These are a half-way compromise between mass-produced synthetic stones and natural ones. The same elements as natural gemstones are again used to create a synthetic one, BUT instead of speed-fusing them, the elements are placed in a lab whose conditions approach that of the natural processes which create natural gemstones. While the process itself is sped up to make a gem in much less time than nature would, it takes more time to "grow" a gem in a lab than it would under a factory processor. However, lab grown gems are able to approach the qualities of a natural gem more than a factory-made synthetic one.
The Qualities of Synthetic Stones versus Natural
Physically, there are several differences between a synthetic stone and a natural one. Again, the most ironic difference is that synthetic stones are TOO perfect. Created expressly for jewelry purposes, their basic shapes are made to fit the type of jewelry they're meant to be set in. Even their crystal structure is mathematically precise with no deviations whereas a natural gemstone will often have a flaw or two in it's matrice (and if it doesn't, a perfectly unflawed natural gem's price will be HUGE). The chemical composition of the gem is likewise pure for synthetic gemstones, whereas natural gemstones may often have trace elements mixed into it. These small imperfections are how most jewelers tell the difference between a natural and synthetic stone. Price wise,
synthetic gems can offer a person much more beauty and value for their money; natural gemstones of high quality are very rare and thus expensive, whereas the mass produced synthetics are physically the same but cheaper by anything from half to a quarter of the price. For long term investment, however, natural gemstones of high quality are a better deal because of their rarity; their value appreciates over time, whereas the price for a synthetic remains constant. The price may even drop over time, especially for factory-made synthetic gemstones; natural stones and lab grown stones have no physical degradation over time, but factory-made stones, being made in a hurry, are not quite as durable as the real thing. For this reason, lab-grown synthetic gemstones are becoming more and more popular over quick factory machine-made synthetics.
What Are the Different Types of Gemstones
Categories of Gemstones
There are many different types of gemstones, and knowing the different categories can help a collector or enthusiast expand his repertoire greatly. Some precious gemstones are so unique in chemical composition and crystalline structure that they fall into their own categories, while others can be collectively lumped into one. Here are the major types of precious and semi
Diamond - diamond is it's own type of gemstone, and is well known for being the hardest naturally occurring substance known to man. Diamonds are primarily high-carbon crystals that were fused under extremes of pressure and heat. Diamonds themselves aren't especially rare, with thousands being mined throughout the world every year; however, large diamonds of high quality are extremely rare, and it is these which are well known for setting the standards of diamond gemstones as the world's most precious stone.
Corundum - this is the second hardest type of gemstone, and is primarily defined as being composed of aluminum oxide and various trace minerals. The trace minerals create different types of corundum, and perhaps the two most well known examples of this type of stone are rubies and sapphires. Rough corundum isn't used as a gemstone, but is used as an industrial strength abrasive element due to it's tough nature.
Chrysoberyl - this is the third hardest gemstone, and while it uses aluminum oxide as a base element like corundums, it has high quantities of beryllium mixed in with it. Appearance wise, chrysoberyls often come in a green to yellow shade, though their appearance is best known for having the tendency to actually change color somewhat under different types of lighting. Cat's eye
and alexandrite are two common chrysoberyls used in jewelry.
Quartz - this is actually one of the most common types of mineral in the world and comes in a wide variety of colors. It's main tendency is to form in hexagonal shapes and it makes an excellent prism if unflawed. The main reason quartz can still be categorized as a valuable gemstone is that, while it IS easy to find quartz stones, finding a large, perfect, and unflawed quartz crystal of jewelry quality is extremely rare. Some examples of quartz gems commonly used in jewelry are onyx, amethysts, citrines, and carnelians.
Beryl - this is a stone well known for it's beauty and has elements in common with both chrysoberyl and quartz. It's basic chemical composition is similar to chrysoberyl, with beryllium and aluminum prevalent but mixed in with other trace elements. It's basic crystalline structure, on the other hand, is closer to quartz, being hexagonal in nature. At it's simplest, beryl is actually transparent, while it's other colored variants include emeralds and aquamarines. It can come in yellow and red shades as well, and these are referred to as "red" or "yellow" emeralds.
Jade - this is one type of gemstone originally lumped into the same category as beryl. The main reasons for this are because both can be mined in similar places and they possess similar textures, opacity, and appearance (just
different colors). Later on, chemical analysis showed that the elements which made up the different forms of precious jade, namely nephrite and jadeite, were different from beryl completely, thus earning jade it's own category among gemstone collectors. Jade based stones are often composed of calcium and magnesium elements.
Feldspar - this is a unique type of gemstone whose base material is tectonic in nature. It is often found in areas of high geographic instability like earthquake faults and volcanic chains. Feldspar's basic chemical composition is made up of very common elements found deep inside the earth's crust. What makes it valuable as a gemstone is the same factor that makes a diamond much more valuable than a lump of coal that would normally contain the same elements as diamond. That is, with sufficient heat and pressure applied, the tectonic elements fuse together to make a rare red gemstone known as feldspar.
Organic Gemstones - the most famous examples of this are pearls and amber. Basically, organic gemstones are ones which occur naturally in organic sources as opposed to mineral sources. Pearls are formed from oysters, while amber is a yellow stone formed from fossilized tree sap. While not gemstones per se, organic gemstones are still used heavily in jewelry so are included in this list.
Quick Guide to Popular and Precious Gemstones
Alexandrite - this is a beautiful gemstone named after a Russian czar. The gemstone is a basic crysoberyl type, and is best noted for it's color changing properties depending on the shade of light it is exposed to. Alexandrite shifts between greenish to blue, to purple and even crimson hues. It is this very color-changing property that makes it one of the most valuable gemstones around.
Amber - formed from fossilized tree sap, amber is best known for it's soft yellow golden hue, which is distinctly different from other yellow-colored gem stones because it diffuses light into a much softer shade of gold than other yellow gemstones, which tend to intensify and sparkle instead. The fact that it is fossilized liquid makes finding unflawed pieces with no bubbles or cracks in the gemstone much rarer and more valuable.
Amethyst - the most famous type of purple gemstone, amethyst's color is a very light shade of purple that captures light inside the gem's facets. The color of amethyst is often semi-transparent as opposed to other purple gemstones which are darker and more opaque. It is this crystalline clarity and beauty
which makes amethysts sought after by certain collectors.
Chalcedony - also known as agate, chalcedony is a form of quartz crystal which is composed of several different strains of quartz fused together in parallel layers. This tends to make the gems multi-colored, and the effect is like looking at a rainbow if the different layers of quartz are of varied colors and types. Quartz mines which hold different deposits of quartz types are ideal places to dig for this, and it is the rarest form of quartz gemstone around.
Diamond - composed mostly of superheated and compressed carbon, diamond is the hardest known substance in nature, and it's basic color once polished and cut is completely transparent. Diamonds are perhaps the most famous and valuable of the different types of gemstones because of its pure clarity and the enduring quality of the gemstones. Much romanticism surrounds diamonds because of these features and they are most sought after for wedding rings as a symbol of love's eternity.
Emerald - this is the most well known type of green colored gem stone. They are beryllium-based in chemical composition, sharing this element with several equally well known gemstones like rubies and sapphires. An emerald's shade of green is unique and quite a few ancient civilizations regard this as a holy or mythic stone. More often than not, emerald gemstones are cut into
simple square or circular shapes, with few variations.
Garnet - this is a stone whose basic color is red. The most famous red gemstone remains the ruby, yet the garnet's distinguishing factor is that it's shade of red actually approaches crimson. For this reason, some people refer to it as a "bloodstone". A very rare type of garnet however is the "fire garnet", whose color is a brighter orange instead of a deep crimson. This is more expensive than regular garnets.
Jadeite - this is a form of jade that is rarer than the more common form, nephrite. While both are green colored, jadeite is semi transparent, making it more closely resemble "regular" gemstones than it's cousin nephrite. The purity of jadeite is higher than nephrite, and it's crystal density is higher, but it tends to naturally form in smaller pieces as a result and is much harder to work with than nephrite, which can be carved like stone.
Lapis Lazuli - this is a relatively soft type of gemstone which can be carved into a variety of shapes. What makes this particular gemstone unique is that it's color is a deep night-sky blue, but the gemstones are always flecked with small fool's-gold (pyrite) traces which gives the gem the appearance of a night sky dotted with golden stars.
Moonstone - this gemstone's fame comes mostly from it's mysticism and it's decidedly "feminine" gearing. As gemstones go, it's actual worth isn't very high, but it remains popular nonetheless. Moonstones are opaque, white-silver stones that under moonlight appear exactly the same shade as the moon in the sky. Naturally, this feature is what gave rise to it's historic popularity.
Nephrite - when people refer to jade, they often mean nephrite. This material is a bright opaque green, and it's physical quality compared to another form of jade, jadeite, is softer and more malleable. Large pieces of nephrite are easier to find than jadeite, and aside from jewelry this gemstone occurs naturally in pieces large enough to carve into small figurines and statues. Smaller pieces are carved into entire pieces of jewelry like bracelets and brooches.
Opal - these are completely opaque quartz crystals which, like chalcedony, displays a multitude of colors at the same time. The biggest difference between the two is that chalcedony's color patterns are often set parallel to each other, and chalcedony stones themselves are semi transparent. Opals are completely opaque, and the splash of colors are random and haphazard throughout the surface of the gem.
Pearl - these are organic gems which naturally occur in oysters. They are often rendered in an opaque whitish sheen that refracts light, making small rainbows
play across the surface of a well-cut and polished pearl. Tons of myths surround pearls, and being reaped from the sea they figure prominently in almost every sea-faring culture's stories. Especially pirates. I don't know why, but pirates ALWAYS hoard them in stories. Go figure...
Peridot - this gemstone is perhaps best known for only one thing: simplicity. Unlike other gemstones, which can come in quite a variety of colors, peridots are uniformly a green-gold shade. Period. They are silicate-based gemstones, and traces of iron in the gems give it a gold hue. There are NO variations of opacity, color traces, or shade variations in peridots no matter what part of the world they come from.
Ruby - along with the emerald and sapphire, this red stone is one of the oldest and most famous types of gemstone for collectors. It's shade of red is actually rather bright and the stone itself is semi transparent instead of opaque. It is a type of gemstone called corundum, and is second only to the diamond in toughness among the world's gemstones. Next to diamond, it is also perhaps the most expensive type of gemstone around.
Sapphire - like the ruby, this is a corundum type of gem, making it much harder and more enduring than other types of gems. Traditionally, sapphires are best known for being a vivid crystalline blue in color, though what few
people know is that sapphires can come in a variety of colors including green, yellow, and orange. The real definition behind this is that corundums will almost always be RUBIES if they're red, and sapphires if they're any other color. Strange logic there, but that's how it's defined by a lot of gem collectors.
Turquoise - this stone can easily be likened to nephrite for two things: one, it's considerably softer than other gemstones, making it easier to work with, and two, it is opaque. Turquoise come in shades of sky blue with just a hint of green, and while it technically is a stone the colors actually come from metals in the mineral - namely copper and iron traces. These metallic traces are the main reason for the stone's opacity and malleability.
Topaz - this gemstone is an aluminum silicate based gemstone and is primarily a rich yellow gold in color. The stone is semi transparent and is one of the harder and more enduring gemstones around. If the ruby "defines" red, the sapphire "defines" blue, and the emerald "defines" green for other gemstones, the topaz is the gemstone that sets the standards followed by other yellow colored gemstones.
How to Spot Fraud Spot Fraudulent Practices in Jewelry
External factors affect the value and the quality of jewelry, especially diamonds. For an average person, a gem looks like just any other gem. But to the experienced eye, he knows the differences between a rare stone to one that is not-so-rare.
Therefore, we strongly recommend jewelry enthusiasts to have a keen eye on what is authentic to what is fraud. They should also be on their toes when it comes to the fraudulent practices involving jewelry. They should know the facts of the stones and verify it with the experts.
Jewelry enthusiasts don’t have to be gemologists. Neither do they have to be fearful when buying jewelry. They just have to be aware of the fraud exchanges and gem misrepresentation in jewelry markets.
Switching the Stones
Stone switching often occurs and this is very disturbing for the buyer because the jewelry loses its value. It is also hard to make accusations because the jeweler can deny easily deny the allegations if the buyer doesn’t have proof.
There are jewelers who take advantage of naive customers who don’t pay close attention to the gems they are buying. The normal customer purchases the
highest quality regardless of the need for it to be repaired or appraised. Sometimes, it may be the highest-valued gem there but it is in need of these two procedures. Therefore its value degenerates but the buyer doesn’t notice this because she is enamored by its sparkle.
Mounting is important because this can make or break the deal. An unethical jeweler merely switches the stones and replaces them with something similar for the untrained eye. This is usually a stone with lesser quality. This tactic generates the jeweler thousands of dollars and its tax free. Just imagine the gold earrings and the watch batteries they must sell in order to come up with the same price. No wonder they do it with jewelry.
In order for you to prevent this from happening, take note of these suggestions: 1. You have to know your gems. Note their colors, girdles and clarity (if they have chips or scratches, their natural appearance, etc.) You have to remember the locations of the following as if they were their birth marks. You can observe these by using loupes. You can also document these for future reference.
2. It is best to write these down. Record the characteristics of the stone on the receipt the jeweler gives you in the store. Do this before you leave. Sometimes, stores don’t have enough time to give the accurate clarity and
color grades but they should still note the visible characteristics. This documentation serves as evidence, just in case switching takes place. It also prevents it from happening.
3. If the buyer has a diagram or the photograph of the gemstone, he must ask the jeweler if this can serve as a good enough representation of the product.
4. Clean the gem before it is repaired or appraised. By examining the stone and remembering the condition that it is in, you will be able to recognize it after it is given back to you.
5. Be very wary of jewelers whose repair services are of low prices. If its too good to be true, it probably is. Maybe this jeweler has no experience. Then again, give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he is just honest.
6. If possible, establish an ethical relationship with your jeweler so that he will be more trustworthy. This can also lessen the chances of switching.
A Gem with Laser Inscriptions
If you are lucky to get gem stones that have laser inscription, then this can be a feature which will help you be aware whether the stone has been switched.
Whenever you take the stone to any repair shop or store, tell the person there that the gem has a laser inscription. You can also ask them to examine it under the microscope so that you and the person both agree.
Therefore, when the stone is returned to you, you can examine the stone and check whether the inscription is still there. In that case, you will know that the stone is yours. You have to do these things right away to ensure that you aren’t cheated.
Caring for Your Jewelry
Care For Your Jewelry as if it is Your Baby
You have to remove your jewelry whenever you are doing activities that are risky. These activities may cause an impact or expose the jewelry to chemicals. Don’t wear your jewelry when you’re playing sports or doing house hold chores.
If you have rings that can’t be removed and you have to use strong cleaning products, particularly those with an Ammonia base, you can protect it (as well as your skin) by wearing gloves made of rubber. Rings and bracelets are jewelry that are often worn, earrings and necklaces are also prone to damages
from chemicals, especially whenever they are worn while putting on make-up, spraying fragrances and hair products.
A jeweler can also restring your pearl necklaces every two years. This should be done if it is your favorite jewelry. You can also clean your jewelry yourself by using mild and warm water with a soapy solution. Use a soft brush in cleaning the edges. Dry them using a soft cloth.
Be mindful of loose clasps and gems before you wear your jewelry. You wouldn’t want the stones dropping out. Neither would you want to lose the entire thing when you’re walking down the street.
Don’t pull the stones. Some women who wear jewelry pull on the stones whenever they are bored; just so their fingers have something to do. Well, this practice results in the gemstones being more prone to oil, dirt and sweat. You may even risk losing these because you loosen the setting on the metal.
It is also not advisable to store your jewelry in one big pile. This will cause the metal and the gems to scratch one another. Store your jewelry in separate sections. Wrap them in paper, silk or velvet. Put them in a jewelry box.
Here is a quick run-through on how to clean common gems:
1. Alexandrite Clean using soapy water or commercially available products. The best is alcohol. You can also resort to mechanical cleaners.
2. Aquamarine Steer clear of chemical cleaners and heat. These shouldn’t be cleaned frequently as well. Use a soapy solution.
3. Diamond Chemical and mechanical cleaners are said to be safe, but they should be avoided when cleaning diamonds because the stone could be fractured. Rinse the diamond dry and well after using a soapy solution.
4. Emerald Don’t use mechanical and chemical cleaners. It will only dissolve oils during the cleaning process. Emeralds must be cleaned using soapy water. Have a jeweler re-oil the gem once every year.
5. Garnet Just use soapy water.
6. Jade Soapy water is the best, safest and easiest solution. You can also resort to mechanical cleaners, just steer clear of the chemical ones.
7. Opal Wipe the stone after every use with a slightly damp or dry cloth. Do not wash or scrub hard.
8. Peridot Don’t use chemical or mechanical cleaners. Just use soapy water.
9. Ruby Use soapy water or the cleaning solvents that are commercially available. Mechanical cleaners are also safe but these should be avoided because it may affect the clarity of the ruby.
10. Sapphire Use soapy water and cleaning solvents. Mechanical cleaners are also safe but when these are used, they may affect the sapphires clarity.
11. Spinel Use soapy water and the commercial cleaning solvents. Mechanical cleaners
are to be avoided because these affect the clarity of the spinel.
12. Tanzanite Don’t use chemical or mechanical cleaners. Just use soapy water.
13. Topaz Same with tanzanite, don’t use chemical or mechanical cleaners. Soapy water is fine.
Caring for Your Pearls Pearls are quite durable. Proper care keeps them lustrous and even more beautiful as they age. Here are some general tips in doing so.
1. Wipe the pearls using a damp warm cloth. This removes dirt and body oils which harm the original color of the pearl. Do this before you put them away.
2. Pearls must be stored away from other jewelry and objects. Keeping them close to such could scratch the surface. Wrap them in soft cloth or linen and put them in pouches. Don’t store your pearls in packages that are air tight because they might lose their moisture.
3. Wash them using mild soap and wipe them dry with a soft cloth. You can use
also use acetone polish remover.
Where and How Gemstones Are Mined
Where and How: Mining and Processing Gem Stones
You may be wondering exactly how your jewelry came to be. Well, that’s a normal question any jewelry enthusiast would ask. You do question how these gems are placed into metal and you also question exactly where these gems came from.
There are gem stone mines everywhere around the world. The most popular are in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay and Africa. There are also mines in Europe and the United States, depending on what kind of gem stone you are looking for.
Amethyst is the most valuable kind of quartz. It is found everywhere around the world. For this very reason, it is one of the most affordable. The quality of amethyst is quite unique, depending on where it was obtained. Amethyst that are found in the United States are larger compared to those found in Africa.
However, the latter has higher saturation when it comes to their colors.
Amethysts with the highest saturation are those found in Australia. There are also amethyst found in Brazil that are usually large and have different hues and cuts.
Emeralds are mostly found in Mexico. Two main sources are the mines in Guerrero and Vera Cruz. Emeralds found there have a tendency toward lighter shades and are clearer than those found in other countries. The stones have lighter hues and the crystals are phantomed with a transparent interior and a saturated exterior.
Emeralds that are found in Guerrero are saturated dark green. They have a visible termination of their interior color saturation and exterior transparency. The highly saturated emeralds are the most elegant.
The most notable source of Sapphires are those found in Brazil from Minas Gerais, Bahia, Maraba and Rio Grande do Sul. Among those containing the best
sapphires are the large pockets that are formed by volcanic material.
The sapphires that are produced here vary in their color saturation ranging from pale up to medium blue. Those that are navy blue are the sapphires that have the highest saturation.
Africa is known to be a producer of diamonds, thus the inspiration of the recently released blood diamond. There are diamond deposits in Zambia and Namibia. The diamonds found in Africa can be as large as an egg and are outstandingly clear.
The United States has various gems. In Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Montana and Colorado, the most popular stone is the Jade. The color is from the medium saturation. It may be smoky or translucent, depending on where it was obtained.
Jade from Maine and North Carolina are usually dark while those found in Montana or Colorado have a green tint.
Now, the next question, how the jewelry is made. Diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, amethysts, and jade are only a handful of precious gemstones out there. Some of them are very valuable because of their rare appearance.
How are these gemstones formed? Well, they are formed underneath the Earth. The process involved varies in each gem stone. The stones react with the minerals, specifically water. This is how they are dissolved. When the solution evaporates and cools down, these minerals are formed.
The water then mixes with the silica-rich rocks like sandstone. This produces the gemstones like amethyst, opals, agates, sapphires, jade and topaz to name a few. When the copper-rich rocks mix with the water, it bears the minerals like turquoise, malachite and azurite.
Emeralds and tourmalines are formed from rain water or the water from cooling bodies like magma that is mixed with the minerals and crystallized in cavities or open cracks. These spaces are filled with minerals which create the hydrothermal deposits needed in the formation of these gem stones.
There are also gemstones that are formed directly from the mantle. They consist of up to 70% of Earths total mass. They are usually made up of
magnesium, silicon, iron, oxygen, silicate and aluminum compounds. The upper layer of the Earths mantle has a volume of the olivine which is quite common in the whole procedure.
Whenever you hear the word metamorphic it means the change of form of these rocks. Metamorphic gems are garnet, emerald, ruby, aquamarine, sapphire, onyx and zircon. They are formed over a long period of time because they wait for the rocks to be altered with such pressure and intense heat in order to interact with the other solutions.
Buying Wholesale Jewelry
Thanks to today’s technology, you can easily buy diamond bracelets and wristwatches online. Even those that are priced $50,000 to $200,000. This is possible because of online jewelry auction sites such as eBay.
Pros and Cons of Online Wholesale Jewelry Purchasing
If you think about it, this way of purchasing jewelry is actually a good bargain. You will get a nice deal on that opal ring or the pearl necklace you have been
eyeing. There are tons of Web sites out there that specialize in jewelry, which makes shopping very fast and easy for you. You don’t have to worry about pushy and rude salespeople. To add icing on the cake, you can buy wholesale through online shopping. The price is so affordable and you can quickly have that jewelry in your hands.
But there’s a catch. When you’re buying your jewelry over the web, you can’t touch or see first-hand what you are purchasing. This is very important because a picture you see on the site isn’t enough to determine the value of the jewelry. You have to see it right in front of you in order to see if there are cracks, chips or scratches.
When buying jewelry in person, you can do the checking by using loupes or a magnifying glass. Online shopping for jewelry may be easy and you can do it wholesale but the disadvantage is that you aren’t really sure whether the item you’re buying is scratch, crack and chip free.
That’s not the only problem
Jewelry experts also claim that other problems include misrepresentation of quality. Some unethical jewelers say that the item is of better quality than they really are. The buyer must also concern themselves with slightly inflated
weights (those small differences in weight that can slightly change the stones value) and fraudulent repairs and appraisals. The buyer must also check the documentation from the Gemological Institute of America or GIA reports before actually buying the jewelry.
To respond to this problem, eBay has come up with guidelines when it comes to selling jewelry online. However, consumers should still have common sense on how they can protect themselves from these fraudulent practices.
How do you buy jewelry online and at wholesale prices safely?
1. Customers must be informed of exactly what they are buying. There are various sites that do not provide the buyers the complete and accurate information they need when buying jewelry wholesale. Also, most jewelers aren’t experts or gemologists (those who specialize or have been trained in identifying and rating the condition and quality of gemstones) so they may not be able to properly describe the stones.
2. The customer must try shopping at retail jewelers and visit gemologist organization sites in order to be well-informed about jewelry, stones and how to know the authentic from the fake purchases. It also helps to check out the FTC guidelines which can be found on this site:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/jewel-gd.pdf. 3. When shopping on eBay, the customer must read the terms and conditions. He should also check the fine print. The sellers that are of power Seller status should still be criticized like the rest of the sellers.
4. Before bidding on an online item, the customer must find out as much as he or she can about the item that they are bidding for. Also, the Federal Trade Commission suggests that the procedures regarding complaints should be practiced; even when the transaction is done online.
Sure-fire way for the customer to avoid fraud
In order to avoid online fraud, the customer must see whether the seller is willing to take the necessary steps of appraisal before actually receiving the money as payment for the purchased jewelry. Therefore, the payment can be held in tow through a third party for a minimal fee which the jeweler is paid as long as these conditions are met.
It also helps to have a gemologist around, better yet a gemologist who is also an appraiser because they will be able to confirm the quality, condition and identity of the stones that are being bought, plus the true value.
Buying jewelry wholesale and online may sound pleasing but it takes as much work as buying it first-hand from a store.
Hand-Crafted Jewelry 11 Tips on How to Start a Hand-Crafted Jewelry Business
If you have tinkered with hand crafted jewelry projects in the past and you think you have the passion and talent for it, you might be ready to go to the next level. Selling your hand crafted jewelry to other people is a decision not to take lightly, but if you’ve patience and perseverance, future success is an inevitable outcome.
11 Tips on How to Start a Hand-Crafted Jewelry Business
Tip #1 Practice with DIY hand crafted jewelry kits. These give you all the supplies you need together with instructions on how to assemble everything together. Add embellishments reflecting your style to the end product. This will let you further explore your style and determine just what works best for you.
Tip #2 Mix and match. Try making jewelry pieces using different materials.
Experiment with beads, gems, crystals, various wires and knots, and other objects. This will increase your experience for working with different items; a necessity in your kind of business since jewelry pieces are dependent on the subjective and varying tastes of clients.
Tip #3 Increase your knowledge about jewelry in general. Learn all the types of precious and semi-precious stones commonly and rarely used in making jewelry pieces today. Learn which of them are considered birthstones. Know the history, myth, and legend associated with each and every stone. Know the physical properties of the materials you’ll be using and how these would affect your jewelry piece when you start fusing them together.
Know which cords work better with which kind of items. A silk bead cord, for instance, works well with freshwater pearls because they can be easily inserted through smaller holes. Tiger tails are good if you don’t wish to use a needle for inserting them through beads.
Acquaint yourself with commonly used terms, abbreviations, figures, and systems used in jewelry making. In plating, GF would mean gold-filled while SC will mean silver color metal. Know that 14K gold would be referred to as .585 in Europe. For wire gauges, you should understand that a smaller wire
diameter translates to a larger figure.
Consider educating yourself officially by taking up a jewelry making course. If not this, enroll in a jewelry making workshop or apprentice in a well-known jewelry store. Read books on jewelry.
Tip #4 Participate in all the jewelry-related events in your area. These will include but aren’t limited to bazaars, art exhibits, and trade shows. You’ll get to meet a wide variety of individuals there, and many of them will have the means of helping you out with your plans.
Tip #5 Find a supplier. It’s not that easy to break into the jewelry industry if you’re going to purchase all your supplies from the mall. You need to find a direct way to contact a jewelry supplier and do business with them. It will help you reduce production costs and give you the opportunity to purchase hard-to-find items sooner than others.
Tip #6 Hand crafted jewelry does not mean that you won’t be using tools and equipment. You will still have to invest a small amount of money to purchase
crimping and handling tools to make your job easier.
Tip #7 Visit jewelry shops online or not, read jewelry magazines, and watch jewelry shows to feed your mind with ideas for your next design. Doing so also keeps you updated with the latest trends in the fashion industry.
Tip #8 Build a website. Whether you’re going to sell online or not, a website will provide your customers a shop open 24/7, ready at any time to display your latest works.
Tip #9 Be prepared to repair jewelry pieces. It’s unavoidable for any jewelry shop to receive repair requests and in some cases, the costs are yours to shoulder completely. You need to set up a system to ensure efficient and fair service for repair concerns.
Tip #10 If you’re going to sell your jewelry pieces to other jewelry shops, dress professionally. Wear your jewelry pieces if possible. And don’t accept consignment unless you fully trust the other party.
Tip #11 A hand crafted jewelry business is just like any other business in the sense that you need to perform some basic bookkeeping activities. This will let you know if your newly established business is struggling or earning.