At first glance, we all tend to buy our jewellery based on how we think it looks, and how it will look on us.
Secondly, we check the price and consider whether its something we can afford or not. It is at this stage plenty of people can become confused.
For example, you might be looking at two near identical rings, both 18ct gold, however one is fitted with a diamond, the other a garnet, to find they vary in price.
To help clear things up and make sense of this sometimes baffling grading of different gemstones, we have put together this helpful guide of what to consider when buying antique jewellery.
First things first, before we discuss the variations in pricing between different gemstones, we need to clarify how as a whole they are priced.
For the vast majority of gemstones, the price is calculated by carat. One gemstone carat is equal to 200mg. So for example you may see a 250mg gemstone described as a 1.25 carat gemstone.
Traditionally diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds are considered the precious stones, and therefore bring a higher price than the other coloured precious and semi-precious gemstones.
There are a select number of gems which are incredibly rare and therefore cant really be compared to anything else. This piece from Discovery shows the top ten rarest gemstones which youre unlikely to be rushing out to buy unless you pick up a lucky lottery ticket any time soon!
On the face of it, a fine natural gemstone, regardless of origin is still a fine natural gemstone. However, stones discovered in the likes of Sri Lanka, Burma and Brazil tend to bring a slightly higher price than those mined across Africa.
There are a huge number of different gemstones, many of which you may be familiar with, but what separates them?
As a general view, the likes of sapphires, rubies and tanzanites command a higher price than others because of their distinctive colours and features, not to mention their rarity.
At the other end of the spectrum you have stones like quartz which are abundant in many locations around the globe, therefore sell for a much lower price.
This translates across to their weight measurement. So while a quartz stone will constantly rise in relation to its weight (1 carat stone costs 200, a 2 carat stone costs 400 for example), a rarer, higher valued stone like a diamond may rise threefold between 1 and 2 carat.
Part of the attraction of different gemstones is of course their distinctive colours. However, something which makes a difference to the value of all gemstones no matter their individual colour is the clarity and quality of it.
For example, a blue sapphire which is pale and faded or is a dark and unclear will go for a lot less than one which is of the pure, clear cornflower blue which the stone is most heavily associated with and desired.
Probably one of the more surprising ways gems change in value is the shape in which they are cut.
The two reasons for this lies in the demand for certain shapes and the loss of initial materials during the shaping process.
For example, rounded stones are much less common than oval stones because an oval shape preserves more of the initial materials, whereas a rounder shape loses more so is more expensive to do, making them rarer.
Clearly there are so many reasons why the value of any given gemstones differ, from size to colour, from origin to shape, so carefully consider some of these when assessing your next glittering purchase.