About Gemstone Matched Pairs
Matched pairs are highly sought after in the gemstone world, especially for earrings, and also for rings and pendants. However, matched pairs can be difficult to find because a lot of work is required to produce them.
Putting together matched pairs requires sorting through hundreds of stones to find good candidates, and then careful cutting to make sure the pieces are well coordinated. A finely matched pair will be as similar as possible, and that can be a challenging task. Matching the size is not that difficult, since a larger piece can be cut to match the smaller one. But finding two pieces with identical color and clarity is always difficult. Then the gems must also be faceted with the same angles to achieve the same brilliance.
One trick of the trade is to cut a matched pair from a single piece of rough, sawn in half. However, this option is not always possible. If a matching pair of 1 carat sapphires is required, for example, it would not be advisable to use an extremely valuable 4 carat rough stone to do it! It is more economical to find two smaller pieces that have a good color match.
Some gemstone varieties are more difficult to match because of subtle color variations. For example, tourmaline is famous for its subtle color zoning and pleochroism. Trying to produce a matched pair of watermelon tourmaline gems is extremely difficult. Even an apparently 'solid' colored tourmaline displays different colors from different angles. That is why matched pairs of tourmaline gemstones are quite rare.
In general, the cost of matched pairs is higher on a price per carat basis. One reason is rarity - it's more difficult to find a pair of stones that are matched for color, clarity and cut. This is not the only reason. Usually one of the pieces has to be reduced in size to match another stone. So this means that the cutter has sacrificed valuable material to create the pair. Therefore, the price per carat must be higher to compensate.
Most matched pairs will have a total carat weight of 0.5 to 2.0 carats. Larger sizes are more difficult to match, even in gems like quartz, where larger sizes are abundant. Matched pairs in calibrated sizes are even harder to find, since it usually means that the cutter has to reduce the size of both pieces to achieve the desired size. So calibrated matched pairs tend to be even more expensive.
- First Published: December-22-2007
- Last Updated: October-24-2017
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