Over the last few years we've noticed a growing interest in very large gemstones. Our Huge Gemstones page is one of the most visited pages on the GemSelect website, and we usually have more than 700 gems over 10 carats in our inventory.
Large gemstones are in demand by collectors who are always on the lookout for impressive specimens. But recent fashion trends in jewelry have added to the interest in big stones. Many designers have used large gems not only in pendants, but in rings and earrings as well.
So what's available in larger gems? What are your choices and how much will it cost for these big stones?
Our largest pieces are usually in the quartz family. In the last few months we've faceted some pieces of rose quartz as large as 300 carats. That's 60 grams (or about 2.1 ounces for those who haven't yet joined the metric world). We also stock some unusual star rose quartz cabochons from South Africa, with some pieces over 200 carats.
Other members of the quartz family can also be found in huge sizes, including lemon quartz, smoky quartz, amethyst and citrine. One of the attractions of quartz varieties is that prices per carat remain constant as the gems increase in size. The finer quartz -- amethyst, citrine and ametrine -- can often be found for as little as $5-$6 a carat, while the other quartz varieties are even more affordable.
Among the brilliant faceted gems, blue topaz can often be found in sizes as large as 30 or 40 carats. There are a range of stunning hues, from the lighter sky blue to the rich swiss blue and the deep london blue. Prices are generally in the $7-$8 per carat price range for the larger pieces.
Some patterned stones make wonderful pendants. You can find agate and jasper in impressively large sizes, with many pieces over 50 carats. We've had some jasper from India that has been carved and drilled, just needing a chain to make a unique piece of jewelry. Agate and jasper are very affordable, sometimes as little as $1 a carat.
Some of the classic gems of antiquity can often be found in the larger sizes. Lapis lazuli, the vivid blue stone of truth and friendship, can be found in a variety of interesting shapes in sizes approaching 100 carats, at prices well under $2 a carat. Moonstone, the unique gem with the unusual shimmering light, is usually available in sizes up to 80 carats, at prices around $3 a carat.
Fluorite is a gem loved by collectors for its brilliant colors that range from purple, blue, green, yellow, colorless, brown, pink, black to reddish orange. Most of the fluorite we see is under 20 carats, but we have bought a number of pieces over 40 carats. Fluorite is quite inexpensive, often selling for around $4 a carat even in the large sizes.
There are many other interesting gems that can be found in big sizes, including tourmaline, peridot, spodumene varieties (kunzite and hiddenite), fire opal from Mexico, chalcedony and some members of the garnet family. It is even possible to find cabochon rubies and sapphires in sizes over 10 carats.