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Pricing gemstones

Hi guys. I have been reading with intrest the discussion on value
of I was wondering (since I am a newbie at all this…)
whether there is a source list of approximate prices for gemstones
per carat ? Or do you just have to go by what you pay for them.
That is pretty hard since the prices vary so much.
Thanks ! Syl (Midi73)

Hi Syl, JCK magazine (Jewelers Circular Keystone) lists a monthly “Gem
pricing update”. It includes prices for diamonds, ruby, emerald,
blue saphire, akoya pearls and other stones. It lists suggested
prices per carat by quality and size. You can subscribe to JCK by
calling 1-800-305-7759. Prices listed are actual wholesale
memorandum prices paid by retail jewelers on a per-stone basis. Good
Luck! Dawn

Syl, there is a book available called “Jewelry & Gemstones: The
Buying Guide” by Antoinette L. Matlins and A. C. Bonanno and it
retails for $17.95. This book will not give you a spreadsheet list
of gemstones with their prices, but will educate you on what to look
for in a quality stone and a reasonable price you can expect to pay.
It goes in depth on the different treatments of the various stones
and also into the many deceptive methods used in their sale. It will
be a tremendous help to anyone new to buying

Charles Heick

The problem with price lists for colored gemstones is that one
person’s red is another person’s pink. Color descriptions are often
vague or difficult to convey. Although there are a number of color
charts that are available, if you and your suppliers aren’t using the
same one it’s hard to discuss. You need to look at as many stones as
you can from as many dealers as you can. Going to shows like Tucson
are great for doing this.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Syl, Pricing of gemstones is a very complex process. You must truly
learn what cut, clarity, carat weight, and color mean. Clarity and
color are the two most misunderstood and hardest parameters to
determine. These two make up 90% of the value of a stone. To
accurately learn how to grade colored stones you must have an idea
what the top stones look like. Go to the Smithsonian and view the
national gemstone collection. Go to the library and research photos
of the top gem collections. Learn what the best example is for each
stone. Once you learn what the stones look like you can make
comparisons. Cut and carat weight are used in the pricing process to
either elevate or lower the price. For instance a poorly cut top
color stone will not cost as much as a well cut top color stone, each
stone weighing approximately the same. Top stones are usually sold at
auction. The reason being that the highest price is realized when
qualified bidders are together vying for the opportunity to own the
stone. The final hammer at the auction sets the price for the stone.
When you finally see a top stone it will stop you in your tracks.
They are truly one of a kind and special to anyone that views them.
Some want to own them, some want to steal them, and some are just
mesmerized by the phenomena.

Gerry Galarneau

Hi Syl. The prices on most colored stones (pretty much everything
but diamonds) is set for many dealers during the Tucson shows in
February. There is no conspiracy, just intense competition between
hundreds of vendors that yields a price range for standard cut gem
stones. Many dealers honor these prices for the remainder of the
year, unless supply quantities change.

This does not mean that you cannot pay much more for stones than
February Tucson prices. There are dealers who tout their stones as
excellent buys and ask for higher than retail prices, trusting the
lack of reliable pricing references to gouge the unwary.

I would suggest rather than looking for price lists, look for honest
and reliable dealers who offer good quality stones at reasonable
prices. There are many, including some Orchid list members. You may
want to look in the classified ads in Lapidary Journal for the
particular stones you want. A few phone calls will give you a price

Visiting a gem show is an even better way to become acquainted with
gem prices. You can see how color intensity, freedom from inclusions,
quality of the cut, type of treatment used and other factors impact
the price. Better yet, start saving your money and visit Tucson next
February. Probably not cost effective, but very educational in a mind
blowing sort of way.

John McLaughlin
Glendale, Arizona

Thank you all for being so “gentle” with a newbie like me and my
question on gemstone pricing. BG I totally appreciate all the advice
and will indeed start saving my $$ for Tucson. My husband has
finally gotten intrested in all this too, and it would make a great
trip for us. It seems as tho it will take me a lifetime to learn all
I should begin to know about all this. Thanks again. Back to lurk
mode now, to soak up all the knowledge and someday perhaps give
back some! Syl

Syl: Here are a couple of book titles that may help you. The Dow
Jones-Irwin Guide To Fine Gems And Jewelry (author is David Marcum)

The Complete Guide To Buying Gems (authors are Antoinette Maltins and
Antonio Bonanno)

The Diamond Book (author is Michael Freedman)