Buying Guide for Loose Gemstones

Colorful loose gemstones

You may have considered loose gemstones for sale that you can use for customized jewelry pieces, but you may have been afraid to take the plunge and buy these items. You may worry about the quality of the gemstones or what to do with them once you've purchased them.

Reasons to Buy Loose Gemstones

There are many reasons why you may wish to purchase loose gemstones. The biggest reason is choice. When you find a stone you truly like, then it's just a matter of choosing the right jewelry setting to show it off. You may want to have a custom-designed ring or pendant. By purchasing a loose gemstone, you have the freedom to select the setting. You can often find great bargains on loose stones since the cost to produce them are considerably less than a mounted piece of jewelry, especially 14KT gold jewelry pieces. Perhaps you are toying with the idea of designing your own jewelry or have started a jewelry-making hobby. All of these examples are legitimate reasons for purchasing loose gemstones.

If you aren't a jewelry, student, or hobbyist, but simply like the idea of making your own jewelry, many of the website selling loose gemstones also have findings and some even offer jewelry kits where you can snap in your prized purchase and have an instant pendant or set of earrings.

Reducing Stress over Purchasing Loose Gemstones

Educating yourself about gemstones is the first step to easing any apprehension you may have about purchasing loose gemstones. It's one thing to walk into a jewelry store and purchase a finished piece of jewelry, but quite another to purchase a loose gemstone. Once you learn gemstone terminology and understand how to gauge quality, purchasing loose gemstones will be easy and fun.

Determining Gemstone Quality

There are several things to consider when purchasing any gemstone. You're probably familiar with the four Cs:

  • Carat is used to quantify the weight of the gemstone. The standard expression of carats is by points. For example, one carat is considered to be 100 points. Some gemstones have different densities, which can affect the size per caret. For example, a ruby weighs more than an emerald; therefore, they can both be one carat, but the emerald will be physically larger.
  • Cut is often confused with the shape of the gemstone. Shapes describe whether the gem is a rectangle, square, triangle, round, pear, marquise, and so on. The cut describes how the stone itself is cut into facets. The faceting gives the stone depth, and its sharp edges catch the light, giving the stone a sparkling effect. Popular cuts include: brilliant, step, radiant, mixed, princess, and branded cuts that are trademarked such as Royal Asscher.
  • Clarity is defined by the number of inclusions, also called flaws, within the stone. These are rated either as those you can only see with a magnifier of varying degrees all the way to those that you can easily see with the naked eye. The fewer inclusions, the closer to perfection the stone and the higher the price.
  • Colors of gemstones can vary widely depending on the gem species. You may also find enhanced gemstones. These have a wide range of various treatments given to the stone prior to it being placed on the market. Color treatments can include the use of high heat, dye, oil or resin infusions, surface treatments and coatings, and laser treatments.

Save on Loose Gemstones for Sale

One of the biggest ways to save when buying loose gemstones is to shop a clearance sale. Gemstones are discounted for many reasons. Sometimes the seller needs to move inventory before the end of the year for tax purposes. Other times, gemstones are marked down because the seller needs the space for new inventory. Customers are the benefactors of this need to move merchandise. Seasonal sales are another reason gemstones are marked down in pricing. Whatever the reason for the clearance sale, you can take advantage of the savings it offers.

Wholesale loose gemstones present you with another purchasing option. Some businesses and websites require you to be a reseller with a Tax ID, while others sell to the general public. You need to read the fine print on any wholesale business so you fully understand what you're purchasing. If the gemstones have been treated, then you want to know what type of treatment was used. Many times, people rush into making purchases based on the amazing price without pausing long enough to investigate the product in depth and are often disappointed when they receive the order.

Where to Buy

There are many places where you can purchase loose gemstones. Several television jewelry channels feature loose gemstones, with some dedicated to only loose gemstone sales. You can also visit various websites or you may prefer in-person purchases at gemstone conventions and shows.

The following TV channels sometimes feature loose gems:

You can also find loose gems online:

Gemstone conventions and shows are another shopping resource:

Buying Loose Gemstones

As you can see, you have many choices when it comes to loose gemstones for sale. The key is to take your time and explore all of your options. Do some price shopping before making your final selections.

Buying Guide for Loose Gemstones