How to Buy a Gemstone Necklace

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How to Buy a Gemstone Necklace

Gemstone necklaces are a great way to accessorise an outfit. Buyers have many types of gemstone and styles of necklace to choose from, so it is easy to find one to suit everyone's tastes. Gemstone necklaces vary widely in their design. Buyers can choose from a range including pendants, strands, chokers, beaded necklaces, and torsades. A setting should also be chosen for the gemstones. Jewellers use a variety of metals for settings, such as gold, silver, palladium, and platinum. Several factors should be considered when choosing a gemstone necklace. Buyers should research types of gemstone to learn the options that are available and to understand the difference between genuine, synthetic, and imitation gemstones. They should also plan when and where the necklace is going to be worn, as this affects the style that buyers should choose. Gemstone necklaces are typically available in jewellery shops and department stores, as well as online at eBay.

Types of Gemstone

Gemstones vary widely in their quality and price, so it helps to know a few key terms that are related to them. Buyers should understand the difference between genuine, synthetic, and imitation gemstones; treated and enhanced gemstones; and precious and semi-precious gemstones. Birthstones are a themed group of gemstones that correspond to a month of the year.

Genuine, Synthetic, and Imitation Gemstones

A genuine gemstone forms in the earth naturally, whereas a synthetic stone is created in a laboratory. Synthetic gemstones have the same chemical and physical properties, as genuine gemstones and look identical. However, professional gemologists can distinguish the difference between the two with testing. Synthetic gemstones are less expensive than genuine stones. Finally, imitation gemstones look like gemstones, but are often made from other materials, such as tinted glass or cubic zirconia. Synthetic and imitation gemstones should be labelled clearly by their sellers.

Treated and Enhanced Gemstones

Many gemstones, even genuine ones, have been treated or enhanced in some way. These treatments and enhancements alter the appearance of the gemstone. They can also affect its value. Treatment options include bleaching to make a stone lighter and dyeing it to deepen the colour. Some gemstones are coated with a film or lacquer to give them a sheen, or heated to eliminate imperfections or enhance clarity. Gemstones can also be filled with colourless borax or plastic to repair cracks and fractures. As with synthetic and imitation gemstones, those that have been treated should be marked clearly by sellers.

Precious vs. Semi-Precious Gemstones

Gemstones can also be distinguished by their rarity. Precious gemstones are the most rare, and these are limited to diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. All other gemstones are considered semi-precious. In fact, some semi-precious gemstones are actually more rare than precious ones, and low grade precious gemstones are easily affordable, so the classification of precious and semi-precious is too simple and not always accurate. However, it is standard terminology. The labelling of gemstones also affects the price.

Birthstones

Birthstones are gemstones that are associated with the month in which the wearer was born. This gives the stones sentimental meaning. Birthstone jewellery is a popular choice as a gift for birthdays and other special occasions. The idea of birthstones is fairly universal, but some regions use different gemstones. The accepted birthstones in the UK are outlined in the table below.

Month

Gemstone

Description

January

Garnet

Typically a deep red

Comes in every colour except blue

Belongs to a family of minerals rather than one stone

February

Amethyst

Purple

Ranges in saturation from light to a deep rich hue

March

Aquamarine

Pastel blue

The darker the stone, the more valuable it is

April

Diamond

Ideally clear

Found in several colours

Hardest natural mineral

May

Emerald

Green

Ranges in colour and saturation from very light with bluish hints to dark with brown

June

Pearl

Ideally white and iridescent

Available in several hues including pink

July

Ruby

Red variety of a mineral called corundum

Any corundum that is not red is called sapphire

August

Peridot

Green

Usually olive or bottle green

September

Sapphire

Sky blue, dark blue, and pale pink are the most common

Any corundum that is not red

October

Opal

Rainbow iridescent

White is usually associated with the month

November

Topaz

Can be colourless, blue, black, red, green, or pink

Yellow is usually associated with the month

December

Tanzanite

Ranges in colour from blue to violet

Blue-violet, medium dark, and extremely vivid gemstones are the most valued

Buyers should note that some months have alternative birthstones. For example, March's alternative is bloodstone, which is dark green with flecks of red; April's is rock crystal, a white or clear stone; and May's is chrsyoprase, which can be either opaque green or yellowish green.

Styles of Gemstone Necklace

When buying a gemstone necklace, buyers should consider where and when the piece is going to be worn. Different occasions suit different styles of jewellery. For example an ornate gemstone necklace with many stones may be ideal with a ballgown, but out of place at the office, and a simple pendant may be lost easily in an lively ensemble. The style of the necklace should match the wearer's style, and be appropriate for the occasion. Gemstone necklace styles can include pendants and strands. A pendant has a single piece of ornamentation, such as a gemstone or several gemstones arranged in a pattern and strung on a chain. A strand necklace weaves gemstones, beads, and other pieces into a continuous piece of jewellery. Other types of necklace are defined by their length or construction.

Gemstone Choker

Gemstone chokers fit snugly around the neck rather than hanging over the chest. They have been extremely popular in certain periods of history, including the Victorian era and the 1920s, and remain a popular choice today.

Beaded Gemstone Necklace

A beaded gemstone necklace is another type of strand necklace. Semi-precious gemstones or pearls can be linked together, sometimes with a precious metal backing. These necklaces come in a variety of lengths, from choker length to very long.

Gemstone Torsade Necklace

A gemstone torsade necklace takes its name from the French word for "twist" or "cable". It involves several strands that are twisted together. Many torsade necklaces are short, and pearls are a popular choice, but the necklace can be found in a variety of lengths and materials. 

Gemstone Necklace Settings

Many gemstone necklaces have some kind of metal setting for their gemstones. If this is the case, buyers should consider the metal used. Gold and silver are popular, timeless choices. Gold is available in either white, yellow, or rose varieties. It is often mixed with other metals because pure gold is very soft and malleable. Pure gold is 24 carats, while 75 percent pure gold is 18 carats, 58.3 percent is 14 carats, and 37.5 percent is 9 carats. Silver, like gold, is too soft in its pure form to make jewellery, so it is usually mixed with copper so that the silver is 92.5 percent pure. This is known as sterling silver. Other metal options include platinum and palladium. Platinum has a white finish and is usually found in a 95 percent purity. It is stronger than gold and resistant to damage, which makes it the premium choice for many buyers. Platinum is also more expensive than gold. Palladium has a white finish and resists tarnish and damage. It is much more rare than gold.

Buying Gemstone Necklaces on eBay

eBay is an ideal source for gemstone necklaces, with a large selection available. Before making a purchase, you should always set a budget. Gemstone necklaces range from readily affordable fashion necklaces to expensive fine jewellery.

Finding Gemstone Necklaces on eBay

Finding gemstone necklaces on eBay is a simple process. To start, enter a keyword such as "diamond necklace" or "ruby pendant" in the search box on the home page or other pages on the site. The search feature lists any items that match your description, and you can filter the results by price and condition, or features of the necklace. You can also be very specific by searching for items such as "silver december birthstone pendant" or "vintage sapphire necklace". Read a seller's listing of the product for information about the materials used in the necklace, as well as sizing. If the listing does not address your questions, then you can always contact the seller using eBay's "Ask a question" feature.

Research the Seller

In addition, you should research any potential sellers. Check his or her feedback history, which consists of ratings and comments left by previous buyers. The comments should give you an accurate idea of what to expect from the buying experience. After your purchase, you should also provide feedback, as this helps to build the seller's profile. Visit the eBay help centre to learn more about how feedback works.

Conclusion

When buying a gemstone necklace, buyers should research any potential products. Gemstones can be genuine or synthetic. Genuine gemstones are found in the earth, whereas synthetic gemstones are created in a laboratory and have the same physical properties and appearance as the genuine stone. Experts are able to distinguish between the two types. Imitation gemstones only look like real gemstones, but their chemical composition is different. Gemstones can be precious or semi-precious. Precious gemstones include diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, and semi-precious gemstones include topaz, opal, and aquamarine. While precious gemstones are usually more coveted, semi-precious stones can be equally valuable and just as beautiful.

Buyers should take into account where and when the gemstone necklace is going to be worn before deciding on which style to choose. Finally, buyers should consider any metals used in the jewellery. Gold and silver are traditional, but palladium and platinum are also popular options. When shoppers are ready to make a purchase, they should visit eBay to find a gemstone necklace that fits their budget and style.

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