Five things to know about gemstones (Part V)

5. How gem value is calculated


Now we can say we have a better understanding on what are gems, and what traits they have. So now we can talk about the market value of jewels. One may ask why that is something we can consider as an important feature of the gem itself. The answer is simple – gemstones are treasures, and our assessment of their quality is often defined through price. It could sound too commercially and materialistically. And maybe it is partially true. Nobody would like to evaluate works of art by their market price. But nevertheless, even that is often true. Is it right or wrong is not the case of this study, but gems are often evaluated by their worth in money. Better the jewel, higher the worth. Price, in this case, can be regarded as a universal grade of the quality and value.

The basic economy rule, supply and demand ratio, works here too. It is very influential, in fact, in determining the value of certain types of gems.

This was easy and well known to all so far. But how the value of a particular stone in certain type is determined? What we need here is to know about famous”4C’s” of gemmology: colour, clarity, cut and carat. These 4C’s will determine a value of a certain stone, and the value per carat can vary up to several hundred times!

Colour is significant for a value of certain coloured gems. The difference in value per carat of different types of Rose quartz can be several dozen times!

Clarity is a trait very important for traditional gemmology. Diamonds have a separate and very complicated classification only by the clarity of its stone. Being often very small (Diamonds, not Diamond experts), Diamond experts has to have better eyesight than pilots. It is still very important for most coloured stones too, but some impurities can actually add to the value of the stone by adding some special visual effect, that will add to beauty and rarity, thus to the price too.

Cutting gems is an old trade that didn’t change so much over time. Human skilful hands are still the only good way to cut natural stones. The skill of the master makes the quality of a jewel thrive, so directly influencing the value too.

Carat is not a secret measure, it is a weight of the stone, made to baffled you (maybe it is a little that too). Carat is exactly 0.2 grammes (100 carats is 0.7oz). What is additionally puzzling is the use of same word for gold purity – 24ct gold is 100% (actually 99%) pure gold, 12ct is 50% gold etc. The value of gemstones is usually measured per carat, but every stone has its value depending on its weight in carat too. Unlike most other product, heavier stones cost more per carat, not less. Very easy to understand why, when you think of it – bigger stones are harder to find and harder to cut without damaging it.


For the end, people are often fascinated by this information: what is the most valuable jewel in the world? Well, first we need to omit from this unique historical jewellery that bear some additional significance as work of arts. They are kept in museums, and usually priceless. There is much information about highest paid stones-  a Pink Star Diamond was sold for 1.4 mil. per carat in 1999. Some sources, like Forbes, is putting Red Diamonds at the spot, some are putting at first place some very rare coloured gemstones varieties, like elusive blue garnet (Uvavorite). Records are broken often, so from the time this article was written, someone somewhere could have bought some beautiful gemstone jewellery for more money than anyone before him. What I like the most about precious stones, and about RubyCharm too, is that best pieces have their names, and they have their specific personalities too. They are, as I said once before, unique as any other work of art.

(Article – part of Introduction to gemmology by Adolphine Bernstein, author of RubyCharm – All rights reserved in accordance with site and blog Terms of use)


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