"Beauty, durability and rarity; such are the three cardinal virtues of a perfect gemstone. Stones lacking any of them cannot aspire to high place in the ranks of the precious stones."
Dr. G.F. Herbert Smith (1872-1953), Gemstones and their Distinctive Characters
In my experience, most people are far more comfortable buying Diamonds than coloured gems, and I guess this isn't surprising considering the amount of money the Diamond industry has spent on advertising. But when it comes to coloured gemstones, most people are unsure what's available, let alone how to determine value. Sure, they might be able to rattle off a few birthstones and some of the more well-known varieties, but unless they or someone they know is 'into' coloured gems, their knowledge barely scratches the surface.
Though mineral or organic materials might be worn for personal adornment, a gem is only a gem when it is beautiful, durable and rare. Occurring entirely by chance, gemstones truly are amazing miracles of nature. While anyone can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of gemstones, even a basic understanding will make owning gemstones much more rewarding.
Gemstone is durable
Thanks to Diamonds, most people have at least a fleeting recognition of the 4Cs (color, cut, clarity and carat weight). The 4Cs are a good way to describe beauty in gemstones; they give us an easy value guide to what initially seems like very complicated territory. While the 4Cs are a strong foundation, there are other factors that also need to be considered when purchasing gemstones. We'll cover these below, including their relative importance and interrelationship to a gemstone's final value.