Identifying the Quality of Gemstones

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Identifying Gemstones

When a person goes to purchase some gemstones after he has been prescribed those gemstones and he asks the vender for his prescribed gemstones, the dealer displays so many varieties of every gemstone that it becomes difficult for the person to decide which gemstone is good to wear and which is not. Though a lab test is considered as the final test for genuineness of the gemstones, this test is not very helpful in actual practice, particularly in countries like India as such tests only tell whether a gemstone is original or not and they don’t tell anything about the quality or origin of the gemstone.

For example, a report of genuineness is given for a Blue Sapphire worth USD 50 per carat and almost the same report of genuineness is given for the Blue Sapphire worth USD 500 per carat or even USD 1000 per carat. So where does it leave us, I guess nowhere because if a lab test can’t tell you about the quality of a gemstone, such report does not hold much value. So let’s try to understand few things that can help even an ordinary person who does not have much knowledge about gemstones at all, to choose a good gemstone for the price offered.

As the prices of gemstones are different in different parts of the world, it is difficult to get an idea about the general price range for all the gemstones but we shall look at some measures which can help us decide, which of the gemstones among a variety of the same gemstone are suitable for us according to our price range. An important thing to look for in a gemstone is its color. For example, an Emerald which is a gemstone used to enhance the significances ruled by Mercury should be green. Though the color may differ from light to dark green depending on the price range of the gemstone, the basic thing will remain the same. That is, it will be green if it is an Emerald. Same is true regarding all the other gemstones and their color ranges can be found in various articles already mentioned in this section.

Second test for a gemstone which falls under the category of transparent gemstones like Ruby, Emerald, Yellow Sapphire, Blue Sapphire, White Sapphire, Hessonite, and to some extent Cat’s Eye also, is the percentage of transparency. This is a very important test in deciding the quality of all the gemstones that belong to the transparent family of gemstones and it should be considered with great attention. Hold the gemstone against the light, that is hold it in front of your eyes where the background is having sufficient light and then try to look through it by holding it still and then moving it in a semi circular movement, forward and backward alternately.

If the gemstone is absolutely transparent, it passes the test but then it will become very expensive. If there are some blockages or blemishes in the gemstone, irrespective of the color, the gemstone is not a 100% and we will need to check for the percentage of blockage. For example, if you can’t see at all through a gemstone belonging to the family of transparent gemstones, when seen with bright light present in the background, the gemstone is not going to work much and however cheap it may be, you won’t be able to get any significant results from it.

Heavy blockages found in the gemstones are usually in the form of clouds which are present inside the gemstones and which may block the transparency of the gemstones from 20% to 90%. A gemstone with a blockage of 90% is not transparent at all and it is more like an opaque gemstone, despite belonging to the transparent family of the gemstones. In this case you are usually able to see only the surface of the gemstone and nothing inside it, and nothing can be seen through it. This gemstone is useless and it should not be worn as it can only give about 10% of the effects belonging to the planet because the radiations received by the upper surface of this gemstone are blocked by the clouds present in it and so they are not transmitted into your body.

As the percentage of transparency increases, the quality and price of the gemstone also increase accordingly. Hence knowing about the concept of blockage in gemstones, you can choose a good gemstone which falls within your affordable price range. A medium range of gemstones is suitable for most people and this range has a blockage of about 50% to 20% depending on the little variations in prices and the little variations from gemstone to gemstone in the same price range. It means that these gemstones will be 50% to 80% in efficiency.

Then there are some impurities found in the transparent gemstones, which are in the form of spots and lines present inside these gemstones. The lines are usually white whereas the spots are usually black and they are very likely to be found even in a costly gemstone particularly in an Emerald, because even the very costly Emeralds have black or white spots or lines in them. Anyways, the blockage made by these lines and spots can again be checked by viewing the gemstones, holding them against the background where bright light is present.

Hold the gemstone and try to see inside and see through it, and then slowly rotate it in a forward and backward movement and see what you can find inside it. Then change the side of the gemstone and repeat the procedure again. You’ll be able to find some things which will help you decide the quality of the gemstone. However the impurities found in the form of lines and spots present inside a gemstone are not very serious impurities and they generally block about 5% to 20% of the gemstone provided the spots and lines are not present in great numbers inside a gemstone. This much amount of impurity is acceptable if you are willing to buy a gemstone in an upper medium price band.

The gemstones should also be checked for any types of cracks they might have, which is not a very common thing but it can still be there in case of some gemstones and so it should be checked carefully. If you are sure that a gemstone is having a crack, don’t buy it. It is important to note that sometimes the inclusions inside a gemstone especially in a gemstone like an Emerald can look like a crack while it is actually not a crack.

The main difference between a natural inclusion looking like a crack and an actual crack is that you can physically touch and feel the crack if you roll your fingers over the gemstone on the area which looks cracked whereas in case of a natural inclusion looking like a crack, you will not be able to feel it physically even if you roll your fingers again and again over the gemstone. Hence if a gemstone looks cracked but you can’t feel it physically, it is not cracked in most such cases and instead, it is having some inclusion which is looking like a crack in the gemstone.

Regarding the Opaque gemstones namely Pearl and Red Coral, they are comparatively cheaper and accordingly the chances of them being genuine increase already. These gemstones should be checked for their color and luster in particular. For example, a pearl with a mixing of yellow color is likely to be cheaper than the pearl with a mixing of blue color in it. In the same way the dullness or attractiveness of a Pearl and Red Coral can help in deciding their quality.

Moving on, there are some quality measures attached to some particular gemstones which should be considered carefully. Let’s start with the trickiest of the gemstones when it comes to identification. This gemstone is White Sapphire and it should be checked very carefully for its color. A real White Sapphire is absolutely colorless and is clear like a crystal. You can very clearly see through a White Sapphire. The problem while purchasing this gemstone is that many White Sapphires displayed by the dealers are not colorless though they may seem to be colorless at the first sight. But as you monitor them closely, you will find that there may be a hint of yellow, blue or pink in the gemstone, which makes it an incomplete White Sapphire and so it should not be bought. So be particular about the color of a White Sapphire while purchasing it.

Then there are the gemstones like Emerald, Yellow Sapphire and Blue Sapphire which become more and more expensive as their color becomes deeper and deeper. Hence, any of these gemstones with very light color should be comparatively cheaper depending on the other aspects of the gemstone like transparency and luster. On the other hand, in case of a Hessonite, it should preferably have light honey color instead of deep honey color and in case of a Cat’s Eye, the best color in my opinion is greenish yellow.

But the most important test for a Cat’s Eye is the presence of a nearly white line across the gemstone which gives the effect of a Cat’s Eye when this gemstone is held and the hand is moved in a semi circular motion going forward and backward alternately. If this line is broken, not present or not moving when the gemstone is moved, the gemstone is not very good in quality and you should consider looking at some other one.

Finally, there is one more aspect called origin of a gemstone, which can make great differences in its price ranges. For example, when it comes to Yellow Sapphire, White Sapphire or Blue Sapphire, the ones belonging to Ceylon, Sri Lanka are considered among the best Sapphires and accordingly they are comparatively expensive. In case of an Emerald, Brazilian Emeralds are considered among the best ones but they are very expensive. Columbian and Zambian Emeralds are also good in quality and they fall in affordable price ranges. In case of Pearls, South Sea Pearls are the best buys whereas Red Corals from Japan or Italy are the best ones. For best results, you should ask your astrologer to recommend suitable origins for your different gemstones.

Though a person who does not know anything about identifying gemstones is not likely to be an expert even after knowing all these facts about choosing the gemstones, this information can still prove very helpful for a common man while choosing his gemstones. So whenever you go to purchase a gemstone, check for the details mentioned in this chapter properly, to increase your chances of getting a good gemstone for the price offered.


Himanshu Shangari