Colored gemstone jewelry has always been popular, but the range of choices and colors has never been so varied as it is today. Not so many years ago, you could find only sapphire, emerald and ruby pieces in your typical jewelry store. The choices expanded somewhat when jewelers starting carrying birthstone jewelry, and you might find amethyst, topaz, garnet and peridot rings as well.
Gemstone enthusiasts may find purchasing commercial gemstone jewelry to be underwhelming. In many cases, the gems used in such jewelry are of low quality to reduce costs. Additionally, obtaining information about the origin or treatment of the stones set in these pieces is often challenging or impossible.
The choice of gemstones in commercial jewelry also tends to be very limited. This is true of the choice of gem varieties, and the choices in cut, size and quality of each variety. Your local jeweler may carry some garnet jewelry, but can you choose from spessartite, rhodolite, hessonite, pyrope, grossularite and tsavorite garnet varieties?
Of course it is unreasonable to expect a retail jeweler to carry garnet jewelry in all those varieties, not to mention all the different cuts and sizes that a customer might want to consider. That is why many gemstone lovers take a different approach in buying gemstone jewelry. They buy high quality loose gems and have them set by a jeweler or jewelry designer.
This approach has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are numerous. They include the ability to buy exactly the gemstone you want, in the variety, color, size, cut and quality of your choice. Imagine being able to choose from 1,000 different pieces of tourmaline to find the exact color you've always wanted. You can buy your gems from a gemstone specialist who carries many of the 100+ varieties of gemstones available on the market. Some of these gems, such as natural spinel, are rarely found in commercial jewelry due to their rarity. A specialized gemstone dealer will know the origin of the gems for sale, and any treatments that may have been used to enhance them. The seller will also be able to provide certification for the gems on sale.
The main disadvantage of buying loose gems is time and, to some degree, cost. If you buy a gemstone in a standard or calibrated size, it will be easy for a jeweler to mount it in a standard commercial setting. If you are having a custom design created for you, then it is unnecessary to buy a stone in a calibrated size, since the jeweler can create a setting to accommodate whatever size of stone you buy. But there will be additional cost and time involved.
While high-quality gemstones come at a premium price, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that many varieties are quite affordable when purchased from a wholesale dealer such as Gemselect. Custom jewelry naturally commands a higher price compared to commercially available pieces. However, if you have acquired a unique gemstone for a special jewelry piece that you intend to cherish for years to come, the additional cost may be deemed insignificant.