Buyer's Guide to Colored Gemstones

Colored Gemstone Buyer’s Guide

Buyer's Guide-to Colored Gemstones

Fiery reds, cool and soothing blues, spring-fresh greens. The colored gemstones of the world represent just about every color nature has on offer. And Jessop's has a colored gem for every mood and every occasion.

Choosing a colored gemstone wisely requires thoughtful decisions and the help of trained and experienced gemologists. Jessop's staff of Certified Gemologists and Certified Gemologist Appraisers is ideally equipped to assist and guide you. Understanding the subtle differences that make one ruby fine and another ruby just so-so is our specialty.

A few points to consider before you shop for colored gems

Color may be subjective, but when it comes to individual gems there are some fundamental colors we love to see and others which are less fine. There are many gem specimens which are scarce and rare; others gems are relatively plentiful in nature. The rarity and color of a given gem directly influences its availability and its price. A fine Tanzanite could be more expensive and rare than a poor quality sapphire even though most think of sapphire as being the costlier gem. The nature of certain gemstones can be very pure internally, such as aquamarine. Another gem can be typically included, such as emerald. Therefore, the expectation for finding a clean, clear aquamarine would be high and the search for a clear emerald would be much harder.

Keep these characteristic differences in mind as you view gems. Learn the standards for beauty and rarity for the specific gemstone you desire. Be sure to learn from experts like ours at Jessop's.

A brief word about gemstone enhancements

Rare and beautiful gemstones owe their gorgeous looks to nature. But sometimes natural beauty can be improved and gems may get a little help to improve their appearance. The many types of gem treatments are generally called enhancements.

Many colored gemstones in the global marketplace today are enhanced. Usually this is done as an industry-wide and acceptable practice. Sometimes it is done to defraud a customer. Gemstones are often enhanced to supply market demands or create desirable colors. For example blue topaz is created from colorless, or brownish topaz using heat combined with irradiation treatment to turn it blue. This color wouldn't exist otherwise. Tanzanite is another gem heated to create the lovely blue-violet color we admire.

Sometimes a fragile gem is made more stable through enhancement. Emerald is a gem which has been oiled for centuries to soften the look of its natural and common inclusions. Today's technology has created an enhancement for emeralds that masks the natural inclusions and also makes the gems more stable for wear. Most all emeralds in the marketplace today are enhanced in some way. Sapphires are routinely heated to improve the color and appearance, as are rubies.

Not all enhancements are created equal. While oiling an emerald with colorless oil is benign, adding an epoxy resin tinted green is an enhancement that will improve the looks, but in reality the gem is no better. Sometimes the changes are not permanent. Naturally colored black or golden Tahitian pearls are rare and beautiful. Sadly, many pearls have been dyed to create shades of black and gold. Even diamonds may be altered to improve a flawed appearance. When gems are dyed, or significantly treated, a customer should be informed...if not, it is an ethical and trade violation.

Many deceptive enhancements are not disclosed creating the illusion that a gem offers beauty at a bargain. This happens to shoppers abroad and to buyers here, too. A savvy shopper needs to ask questions. Jessop's focus is on unenhanced, natural gems, and gems which have only industry acceptable minor enhancements for fine gemstones. We support a policy of full disclosure. Jessop's certified gemologists can answer your gemstone queries.

This is a brief overview of some enhancements. For more information visit

Synthetic or laboratory created stones, are not made in nature, but are grown by laboratories. The early days of man-made stones produced sapphires and rubies as far back as the early 1900's. We see these in estate jewelry occasionally. Many types of synthetic stones are mass manufactured today and the consumer must be informed. Some creations like cubic zirconium, CZ, do not even have a counterpart in nature. Jessop's does not carry synthetic stones.
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