Duncan has been a gemstone dealer for five years, he's happy to share some of the tips to help you in the gemstone business.
Three Crucial Factors to Know Before Joining the Gemstones Business
Three Factors to consider before Venturing in Gemstones Business
Gemstone business is one of the oldest businesses there is, as it is believed that gems have held meaning since the early 300 BC when diamonds were first mentioned in world history. It is also one of the businesses that are known by only a few percent of people around the world. There are some myths that surround the gemstone business such as one can get rich overnight when dealing with gems, it’s the kind of business that can be done by only rich people, gems break curses and can cause good luck in someone’s life.
I don't know about you but I believe business needs clear and understandable research before one decides to invest any money in their area of the desired type of business. Here are three key factors to keep a keen eye on before joining the gems business. Also, there is a wide range of varieties of gems but this article will be concentrating on the kind of gemstones that I'm only familiar with. However, the tips I'm going to share here can also apply to any other type of gems available in your area.
Types of Gems that are on High Demand
There are various types of gemstones such as Ruby, Sapphire, Tsavorite, Emerald, Tanzanite, Opal, etc. Their value and worth depend on the quality, type, size, and weight of the gemstone. The finer the quality of the stones, the higher their chances of being costly are.
- Ruby: Rubies are pink stones that can also be blood-red colored, they are from a mineral known as corundum that contains aluminum oxide. They're also one of the most expensive stones around the world as they are among the “Big Four” on the gems chart, with pigeon blood-red topping its list. Ruby’s price could be anywhere from $8000 to $10,000 per carat if unheated. They are mined in places like Pailin and Samlout District of Cambodia, Thailand, Afghanistan, Colombia, Brazil, Indian, Namibia, Kenya specifically, in places like Barismoi and Sandai in Baringo county, etc.
- Sapphire: This is also another type of corundum with a crystal structure known as hexagonal. Sapphire stones emerge in colors like blue, yellow, pink, purple, and green with Padparadscha (pink and orange in color) being the rarest of them all. The most valuable of Sapphire stones are the Kashmir variants which are blue. Sapphire stones are mined in places like Kenya in Turkana County, India (Kashmir), Myanmar (Burma), Rwanda, etc. Their price varies from as cheap as $25 to over $11,000 per carat depending on the quality of the stone.
- Tsavorite or Tsavolite: Is a green grossular garnet stone that attained its name by Tiffany and Co-president Henry Platt, in honor of the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. They were discovered in 1967 in Tanzania by the late Campbell Bridges and later in Kenya three years ago. The Tsavorite price ranges from $550 to $85,000 based on the size and standard of the stone. They are mined in places like Kenya in Taita-Taveta county, Tanzania, with recent deposits discovered in Pakistan Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
- Emeralds: These are green-colored stones from the beryl mineral group; they are in most cases found in sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic rocks around the world. They hold a record of being the most desired and valued colored stones for over 5000 years. Emerald stones are on the "Big Four" among gems chart making them exclusive from the list of semi-precious stones. Their price could be anywhere from $200 to $18,000 per carat determined by the size and original color. They are found in places like Zambia, Colombia, and Brazil.
- Tanzanite: Tanzanite gemstones are types of stones from a mineral called zoisite, that can only be found in Tanzania. This makes them extremely rare and valuable. These precious stones come in colors like purple, green, red, and blue with prices varying from $600 to $1500 per carat depending on how the quality is. Tanzanite stones are mined in a place known as Mererani Hills in Tanzania.
- Opal: This is a sedimentary stone that is believed to contain 3% to 21% of water within its mineral system. It is an amorphous type of silica that is slightly similar to quartz but contains a higher percentage of water than quartz. They are classified as semi-precious stones but also costly and highly valued. Opal stones are all over the world but specifically in places like Brazil, Australia, Honduras, the US, etc., with prices ranging from $10 to $10,000 depending on the type of Opal. Black Opal is the most expensive and rarest kind of Opal stone with its price being $10,000 per carat considering its quality.
How to Check Whether a Gemstone is real or fake and its Quality
Well, knowing the quality and substandard of a gemstone is another hassle that has caused tremendous losses to gemstone dealers especially those who are new in the gems business. People are perpetually conned or end up buying fake, low-quality, valueless, or even counterfeit stones that are manufactured in laboratories by men. Here are some tips to know the realness of a stone before buying it.
- Use gemology tools that will easily help you determine the quality of your stones such as a Gemstone Refractometer, Loupe, Jeweler’s eye, touch, gems weighing scale, etc. There is a wide range of tools that are essential but the ones stated above are the most useful tools you must have.
- Gemstone Refractometer: This is a tool that is used to measure the refractive index of faceted stones, transparency to near an opaque, whether or not the stone is loose or mounted up to an R.1 value of 1.81, a process known as a refractive index. It gives accurate identification of a gemstone.
- Loupe: They are essential tools in the gemstones business that help us see gemstones at an up-close angle thus making it easy to discover tiny cracks in gemstones, blemishes as well as imperfections.
- Jeweler's Eye: It’s a tool used to magnify gemstones to a close range of view hence making it easy to know the luster of a gemstone relative to other gems. It also determines the reflectivity on a calibrated scale.
- Touches: Generally any type of touch is quite useful in determining the quality of a gemstone, as it enables you to see how clear the stone is by touching through it and see if it's transparent. If the stone isn't clear then it is of poor quality and its value is therefore questioned.
- Gemstone Weighing Scale: As the sound of its name, is a scale that is specifically used to measure gemstone. Gemstones are weighed using units known as” carats”, 1carat is equivalent to 0.20 grams or 200 milligrams. If a gemstone’s weight is less than a carat then its weight is considered in units that are 100 times tinier called points.
- Scratch the Stone with a Sharp Object to see the stone’s reaction. When a counterfeit gemstone, whether it’s the laboratory synthetic gems or any other kind of duplicate, is scratched by a nail or any other sharp objects, it mostly leaves a pale faded whitish kind of crack. A natural real gemstone doesn’t react that way when scratched, it leaves a shiny clean crack revealing its natural preciousness within itself. However, some gemstones such as diamonds should be hard enough to resist a scratch. It takes a diamond to scratch a diamond.
- Use sunlight to check for its color and quality. Color in gemstones is the main factor most gemstone dealers focus on. Various colored gems react differently with sunlight. The light helps in revealing the tiny cracks that could be hidden deep within the stone.
Tips for Increasing the Quality of your Gemstone
Since clarity is just another factor among 4C's that should be watched closely in determining the quality of your stone, here are a few most essential tips to help you improve your stone’s quality.
- Heat your gemstone under a temperature of about 1,600 centigrade. This helps to remove the yellow-green color that could be degrading the color of your stone thus making it more desirable and valuable. Use a crucible to carry out this process, put the stones in a crucible that will hold them and prevent them from mixing with other stones you might have placed in there before. After this step, put them in an electric computer-controlled kind oven and turn it on to a temperature of about 1,600 degrees centigrade.
- Cut and polish your stone. This process requires some expert skills and knowledge for it to be done. But in the current world where it's easier to access knowledge or information than ever before, everything can be found on the internet so it's not a big deal. Cerium oxide, tin oxide, chromium oxide, etc. are just some of the polishes that will make your stones look so precious, and Silicon carbide will aid you in cutting your gemstone.
- Use the Oiling method to seal the cracks in your stone. Oiling is the process of filling cracks within gems by the use of colorless oil or a substance known as resin and wax. This helps to improve the appearance of the stone. However, gem experts will always tell a stone with added substances and it could affect its value.
Gemstone business is kind of fun because the feeling that comes with holding natural precious stones that form deep within the earth's crust is unspeakable. It is also adventurous because it requires one to travel around the world if you want to deal with various types of stones simply because different types of stones are mined in different parts of the world.
© 2021 Duncan Nyabaro