Going to a retail jeweler is without doubt the most common way to buy gemstone jewelry, but what if you have a personalized or unique design in mind? This article gives you some tips on how to buy the precise gemstones you are looking for, and how to choose a professional jeweler to create exactly the piece that you've pictured in your mind.
Selecting the Gemstones by Color
These suggestions are for choosing cut gems, as buying raw stones and having them cut, unless you are very familiar with gemology, is an unnecessarily complex process.
In imagining the piece of jewelry you want to create, you'll have an idea of the colors you want to incorporate, but perhaps not what varieties of gemstones can achieve this for you. Here are some of the favorite colors for jewelry, and the stones that would suit:
- Ruby. The ever-popular ruby would be the first choice. Although other colors do exist, rubies are best known for their varying shades of red – from a light, bright crimson to a deep red-wine color. Rubies are well regarded by jewelers as they are almost (9/10ths) as hard as diamonds, and are therefore very robust stones.
- Sapphire. Sapphires are so attached to the color blue, that there's an official shade known as sapphire blue. Like rubies, sapphires can appear in other colors, but the vast majority of these stones are blue – usually a rich-dark blue. Because they are just as hard as rubies, they are a great choice to use in a long-wearing piece of jewelry.
- Aquamarine. If you are looking for a lighter shade of blue, then an aquamarine would be a wise choice. They are relatively inexpensive, they cut and polish very well and are almost as durable as sapphires.
- Spinel. Unless you are prepared to pay thousands of dollars per carat, a pink diamond is most probably out of the equation. Never mind—the lesser semi-precious stone known as a spinel will do the job nicely for you. Spinels come in all shades of pink, some even with a beautiful tangerine hue. Being just under rubies in hardness, they are also a practical jewelry choice.
- Amethyst. An amethyst is the perfect choice for people looking for a purple color in a gemstone. They are inexpensive, hardy, and cut very well into a variety of popular shapes.
- Citrine. Citrines come in varying shades of yellow, from a pale lemon all the way to a rich, golden-yellow hue. Citrines are also inexpensive to buy, and have around the same durability as amethysts.
- Emerald. Emeralds are another stone variety so closely tied to a color, that they had a shade named after them – emerald green of course. A quality emerald is not usually cheap, so they are best considered in smaller sizes as impressive 'surround stones' to the main gem.
- Peridot. A much cheaper green alternative to the emerald is a peridot. Peridots can range in color from a pale mint right down to a deep green. They are a somewhat softer stone, so are best used for jewelry that isn't worn on a finger or a wrist as they may chip or lose their luster over time if exposed to wear.
This online valuation tool is very useful to estimate the price per carat (or fraction of a carat) you'll likely spend for various semi-precious stones. In determining your budget, it also helps by showing the variation in cost of two similarly colored stones.
Choosing a Custom Jeweler
Here are four suggestions to use in selecting the best jewelry maker, like those at Moonglow Jewelry, for your project –
If you've seen a friend wearing just the type of jewelry that you are seeking, ask them where they got it. If it's a distinctive piece, chances are it was handmade to order and they can give you the details of the expert they used.
Do some research on custom jewelers in your area, and look for ones that have comments from satisfied customers on their website. A jewelry forum can also be a good place to find opinions about jewelers who do the sort of work you need.
3. Body of Work
The best thing to do is to go and visit your potential jeweler at their studio. Be aware that while a lot will have retail shops, some talented jewelers work from a home workshop and studio. Look at examples of the work they do, by inspecting a variety of pieces they have on display, or examining photographs of the jewelry they have created for other customers.
Finally, be open in discussing your budget when negotiating your project with a custom jeweler. As you will be providing the stones, their fee will be for the metal used and their time in making what you want. If you wanted your stones set into pure gold, but the initial cost has blown out, consider having the jeweler use a lower grade of gold—such as 14 carat—to re-adjust the price into your budget.
The satisfaction gained from wearing your own unique piece of jewelry, made from stones you chose - and created by a talented custom jeweler, will last a lifetime.Share