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Gemstones Buying Guide: Colored Gemstones

Phrases used to describe optical effects in faceted and non-faceted gems

Physical traits of colored stones are often described when it comes to the way light travels via them, their unique visual effects, and the way they are cut. Here are just a few phrases it’s essential know:

Transparent. Light travels via the stone easily, with minimal distortion, enabling one to see through it easily.

Translucent. The stone transmits light however diffuses it, crating an effect like frosted glass. For those who tried to read by such a stone, the print will be darkened and obscured.

Opaque. Transmits no light. You cannot see by way of it even at a tin edge.

Special optical effects

Adularescence. A billowy, movable, colored cloud impact seen in some gemstones, such as moonstones; and inside, movable sheen.

Asterism. Used to explain the display of a star impact (four or six rayed) seen when a stone is lower in a non-faceted style. Star ruby, garnet, and sapphire.

Chatoyancy. The impact produced in some gems (when reduce in a cabochon style) of a thin, brilliant line across the stone that often moves because the stone is moved from side to side; typically called a cat’s eye effect.

Iridescence. A rainbow shade effect produced by a thin film of air or liquid within the stone. Most iridescence seen in gemstones is the results of a crack breaking their surface. This detracts from the worth, even when it looks pretty.

Luster. Usually refers back to the surface of a gemstone and the degree to which it displays light. Seen as the shine on the stone. Diamond, for instance, has a lot better luster than amethyst. Pearls are additionally evaluated for their luster, but pearls have a softer, silkier looking reflection than different gems. The luster in pearls is commonly called “orient.”

Play of color. Used incessantly to describe the fire seen in opal.


Colored gems can be faceted or cut in the cabochon, or non-faceted, style. Usually speaking, the desire in the United States until lately was for faceted gems, so the finest material was usually faceted. Nonetheless, this was not always the case in other eras and different international locations; in Roman instances, for example, it was considered vulgar to wear a faceted stone. Choice also varies with totally different cultures and faith and the world’s finest gems are cut in each styles. Don’t draw any conclusions about quality solely on fashion of cut.

Cabochon. A side-less type of chopping that produces smooth reasonably than faceted surfaces. These cuts might be almost any shape. some are round with high domes; others look like square form domes (the popular “sugar-loaf” cabochon); others are “buff-topped,” showing a some what flattened top.

Many people around the world favor the quieter, often more mysterious personality of the cabochon. Some connoisseurs believe cabochons produce a richer color. Whatever the case, as we speak we’re seeing much more curiosity and appreciation for cabochons all over the world, and more stunning cabochons than have been seen in the market in lots of years.

Faceted. A style of reducing that consists of giving to the stone many small faces at varying angles to 1 another, as in varied diamond cuts. The placement, angle, and shape of the faces, or facets, is careabsolutely planned and executed to show the stone’s inherent magnificence; fire, colour, brilliance, to the fullest advantage. In the present day, there are a lot of faceted kinds, together with “fantasy” lower which mix rounded surfaces with sculpted backs.

The importance of lower

Cutting and proportioning in colored stones are vital for two foremost reasons:

They affect the depth of colour seen within the stone.

They affect the liveliness projected by the stone.

Color and reducing are the most important criteria in determining the fantastic thing about colored stone, after which carat weight must be factored in; the higher carat weight will usually improve the value per carat, usually in a nonlinear proportion. If a colored gemstone was a superb quality material to begin with, an excellent reduce will improve its natural beauty to the fullest and permit it to exhibit its finest color and liveliness. If the same materials is cut poorly, its natural magnificence will be lessened, inflicting it to look dark, too light, and even “dead.”

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