Jewellery is big business and the real value of any real jewelry is dependent on the gemstone that is part of it. With this in mind, how do buyers know or make sure that they are paying for the real jewellery? What are the qualities or characteristics to check or watch for to be sure that the gemstone is genuine jewellery?
It takes training and the right equipment to determine if a gemstone is genuine jewellery. The term "genuine” means that the gemstone doesn't only look as expected, it should also meet the physical and chemical characteristics unique to that gemstone. It takes training and the right equipment to determine if a gemstone is genuine jewellery or not and there is testing laboratories to do this job.
Before going any further, are treated gemstones still genuine jewellery? A treated gemstone, as long as its molecular structure isn't altered, can still be the real jewellery but it is no longer natural. Some gemstones are treated to enhance their appearance and decorative value.
What to Check
Yes, there are professionals to perform the tests that determine if a gemstone is genuine jewellery or not but it is a valuable asset to any gemstone buyer to know the attributes to be tested. The following are the characteristics to check:
- Chemical composition and atomic structure
- Hardness and durability
- Other physical properties like the refractive index, dispersion and specific gravity.
The atomic structure is what differentiates diamond from other carbon based matter like graphite. The stone's hardness, and light reflection is dependent on the atomic structure. Gemstones usually have crystalline structures.
Hardness is reported in a scale of 1 to 10, a method developed by Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist. The hardest are diamonds at (10) and the softest is talc at (1). A gemstone should have a hardness of no less than 7.
The following organizations provide certifications on the results of testing conducted. They also provide training and research services to their members
- Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
- American Gemological Society (AGS)
- American Gem Trade Laboratory of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA).
- AGTA the largest trade organization of gemstone traders
- American Gemological Laboratories (AGL)
- European Gemological Laboratory
The true value of any gemstone shouldn't be determined by just the physical appearance. Advancements in science have produced synthetic "gemstones" which cost just a fraction of the genuine jewellery of gemstones. Knowledge is the best protection against paying for the price of the real jewelry item and getting a "fake".