Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Buying gemstones: Are they genuine?

buying gemstones handmade jewelry genuine gemstones
When buying gemstones, it's easy to become mesmerized by their sparkle and radiance. However, you should do your research before buying expensive jewelry or gemstones, because you never know what you might end up with. Dealers pass of fake gemstones for the real thing all the time. You just have to know what you want, and do your research, and stay on your toes.

Before you venture out into the jewelry maker, remember there's no such thing as a deal. Gemstones have a value, and anyone who tell you they will sell you a diamond for half the price it's worth, is a liar. Always buy for a reputable company or individual that you trust, and make sure you receive a certificate of authenticity from them. If they don't have one, ask for verification from a reputable laboratory before you purchase it.

Study and compare pricing so you know what the value is of the stone you are looking for. This way you can be aware of any red flag pricing that might come your way. And don't neglect the other components of the jewelry you are buying, such as the setting structure and precious metal. As questions about the security of your setting, and make sure your purchase comes with a lifetime warranty. As long as you have your setting checked every 6 month, or the amount of time specified by the dealer, your jewelry purchase should be covered under a lifetime warranty.

You should also know that imitation, synthetic and treated stones are still very beautiful, and they are used in some unique jewelry designs, however, what you want to know is, are these dealers passing these stones off as the real thing? Are you about to pay more for your jewelry than it's worth? Below you will find some gemstone facts, and what to look for when buying your gemstones and jewelry.

What is a natural gemstone?
A natural gemstone is exactly as described; it's natural, untouched by humans. Most natural gemstones are treated to improve their appearance. However, the most coveted gemstones are naturally brilliant in color, and have the fewest flaws. Their price is determined by their quality, desirability and their availability.

Gemstones are treated? What do you mean?
Natural gemstones don't usually have the perfection as described above. Although they are genuine gemstones, they must be chemically treated with heat and radiation to enhance, or even change their colors. These treatments can make a beautiful stones, and if your price matches the quality, it can be a great choice. Just make sure your dealer is honest with you, and you aren't paying too much for a misrepresented gemstone.

What is a synthetic gemstone?
First of all, these are not fake gemstones, they just aren't natural. A synthetic gemstone shares all the characteristics of their natural gemstone counterpart. The only difference is, they are grown or manufactured in a laboratory. They are so similar to their natural gemstone counterpart that they are hard to detect, even by experts. The only clue that a gemstones is synthetic, is they are usually flawless. However, there are some rare natural gemstones that are also flawless.

How do you know when a stone is fake?
First of all, when a deal seems to good to be true, it probably is. Most fake gemstones can be easily detected by a jewelry, but there are some substitutions and imitations that are even fooling the experts. So, what do you look for?

Imitation gemstones
Imitation gemstones look like the real thing, but that's where their similarities end. They can be made out of anything, and are usually color treated to look like a specific stone. For example, cubic zirconia is an imitation diamond. Other common imitations, or substitution gemstones are listed below.

• Black Diamond: Often substituted with Hematite

Diamond: Often substituted with colorless Quartz, colorless Topaz, cubic zirconia, colorless Zircon (Not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia.)

Emerald: Often substituted with Green Sapphire

Jade: Often substituted with Serpentine, Aventurine Quartz, Chrysoprase Quartz

Red Sea Pearl: Often substituted with Coral

Ruby: Often substituted with Garnet, Spinel or Tourmaline

Sapphire: Often substituted with Lolite

Topaz: Often substituted with Quartz

Smoky Topaz: Often substituted with Smoky Quartz

If a dealer is trying to sell you a gemstone with an alternate name, then it probably isn't genuine. There are a lot of big words, root words and origin names, but don't be fooled. They might be trying to confuse you, or trying to convince you they know more than they do.

Foilbacks are used to give gemstones a more brilliant color, or even to change it's color. This is done by mounting the gemstone with a foil coating on it's underside to reflect as much light as possible. Foilbacking is commonly seen in costume jewelry, rhinestones, Swarovski crystals, and cheap gemstones. If you can see underside of your gemstone in your setting, and it's not coated, then your jewelry is not foilbacked. However, ask your dealer if your gemstones have foilbackings if you cannot see the bottom of your gemstones. For example, you usually cannot see your stones in a channel setting, where you can only see the top surface of the gemstones.

Synthetic Doublets
Doublets, also known as "gemstone sandwiches," are gemstone that are assembled with smaller gemstone pieces, glass, or crystal rock, then covered with a thin slice of a genuine gemstone. This is usually undetectable without magnification and is common with Opals. Make sure to look at all your gemstones under magnification. If you don't know what you are looking for, ask a reputable jewelry and do your research.

Glass is a common substitute for a gemstone that is easily detected by a jeweler. Many gemstone fakes are made from lead glass, also known as crystal. Crystal can be very beautiful, and Swarovski crystals are a very high quality brand of crystal coveted by jewelry lovers everywhere. But they shouldn't be passed off as a genuine gemstone.

Plastic is another common substitute for a gemstone that can easily be detected by a jewelr. Gemstones made from plastic are meant to look like a big fancy gemstone, but it's usually much lighter in weight and the edges aren't as severe as the facets of a genuine gemstone. This is because plastic gemstone are usually made from a mold. Plastic is usually used in costume and fashion jewelry.

Reconstituted gemstones are considered imitation gemstones, however, they are created from small gemstone fragments of from a larger piece. They pieces are gathered, heated and then pressed to form a solid pieces. These pieces are then cut into individual gemstones.

To sum up
Do your research and shop at a reputable dealer. Don't fall for the "to good to be true" deals, because they probably are. If you want something valuable, you need to pay for it. Jewelry and gemstones are appraised and valued, and there is no reason a dealer should sell it to you for less than it's worth, unless they are passing off fake gemstones as being real.

To shop for unique handmade bridge jewelry, visit www.kincaidesigns.com. We have handmade jewelry using handcrafted glass beads, semi-precious stones, pearls, Swarovski crystals, sterling silver and 14kt gold fill. We use only quality materials and we guarantee you are happy with your purchase. See our 30-day return policy.

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