Jewelry Education

The information in this section includes all of the important information you need to make an informed decision before you buy.  I've tried to include everything possible.  If you do not find the information you need here, please let me know and I will add it to my site.

What you need to know:

  • diamond quality and how it relates to price.

  • colored gemstone quality and how it relates to price.

  • alternative gemstone choices to the higher colored gemstones: ruby, sapphire, and emerald.

  • pearl quality and how it relates to price.

  • precious metals - quality and durability.

  • setting styles for gemstones.

  • popular styles of rings, bracelets, pendants, earrings, chains and necklaces.

  • different methods of making jewelry and how it relates to price.

Diamonds:  When buying a diamond there are four things you need to know.  Those four things are called the 4Cs which refer to the cut, color, clarity and carat weight of the diamond.  The combination of the 4Cs is what determines the quality and hence the rarity of each diamond.  These factors are what determine the price you pay.  

Note:  My goal here is to explain things to you in plain everyday language.  I'm not trying to dazzle you with fancy words.  I will use trade jargon sparingly and only as necessary.  The information below is provided by the Gemological Institute of America.  It explains the comp diamond grading system and more technical explanations along with videos on my Diamond Education - The 4Cs page of my website. 

Gemstones:  Like diamonds, colored stone grading also consists of the 4Cs.  However, colored stone grading is even more complex than diamond grading.  Therefore, I will keep things simple and give you a boiled down version of how this grading system works.

To begin with, we will only be concerned with transparent gemstones.

The 4Cs consists of color, clarity cut and carat weight.  The combination of the 4Cs is what determines the quality and hence the rarity of each gemstone which in turn determines the price you pay.

  • Color:  By far, color is the most important of the 4Cs.  This is broken down into three components:  hue, tone, and saturation.  The combination of these components determine the color grade.


      So what are we looking for?  A gemstone that has a nice even color that is not so light that it appears pale nor too dark       that ii is opaque.  And finally, the color should be strong and evenly distributed throughout the entire stone.

  • Clarity:  Refers to the internal characteristics called inclusions and surface blemishes.  Transparent gemstones Transparent gemstones are broken down into three categories or types:  Type 1 - usually clean or free of inclusions, Type 2 - usually included and Type 3 - almost always included.  (Now you can begin to see why this is such a complex system, but this is more than you need to know because in the end your eyes will be the judge.)

  • Cut:  Refers to many thins which we summarize as the make of the gemstone.  This includes both the proportion and finish.  It also includes the shape as well as the face up outline and facet design.

  • Carat Weight:  Refers to to the actual weight of the gemstone which is weighed on a gemstone scale.  It is the most clear-cut value factor.  As with diamonds, don't confuse carat weight with the size of the gemstone.  Two gemstones can have the same carat weight but look dramatically different in size based on their proportions as well as their density.  As stated above, this is due to the "cut" of the gemstone.  Colored gemstones are often referred to by millimeter measurements, such as 10.00 x 8.00 mm, rather than weight.


       Carat weight is expressed as follows:  (Just like there are 100 pennies in a dollar, there are 100 points per carat.)  So        one point, expressed as 0.01 carat equals 1/100th of a carat.  Examples:

  • one quarter carat = 0.25 ct.

  • one half carat = 0.50 ct.

  • three quarters carat = 0.75 ct.

  • one carat = 1.00 ct.