Full Disclosure: Does Your Jeweller Make The Cut?
Have you ever purchased something you thought was made of natural gems only to find out it's made of glass? It's a horrible thing to experience, not just because you feel you didn’t get value for your money but also losing confidence in buying jewellery.
Selling gems requires honesty and integrity, and a jeweller should be truthful about the products. But customers should also be aware of what gives a particular piece its value.
There are many different materials used to make jewellery. These include gold, silver, platinum, brass - and even shells, acrylic and resin. On the other hand, stones can either be made from natural, earth-mined gems or their lab-produced counterparts, as well as cut glass.
These different materials affect how much the final product is worth. Gold, for instance, commands a higher price than silver, while platinum is worth more than gold. The same goes for earth-mined gems, like sapphires, for example, vs lab-grown sapphires. Though lab gems might be flawless since they are engineered to be perfect, they will still fetch a lower price than naturally occurring earth mined gemstones. Glass, of course, sits at the bottom of the price chain.
Natural or Synthetic
Choosing to wear jewellery with natural or synthetic gems is a matter of personal preference, and both have an appeal that fits different wearers. We all want to wear something beautiful, but some will go for synthetic gems because they want a more budget-friendly option. Others want the charm and provenance of something natural and more valuable, so they choose earth-mined gems.
Flaws and Inclusions
Though we often hear of how jewellery should be flawless, many pieces have inclusions and flaws. There is nothing wrong with selling flawed gems as long as they are disclosed. An inclusion is any material that is trapped inside of another mineral while the mineral forms.
There are also advantages to choosing "slightly imperfect" goods. They often have more character and are more environmentally friendly since they won't get thrown away or cut up into even smaller gems resulting in wastage. And, of course, it celebrates the power and beauty of nature and who wouldn't want that on their hands (literally).
According to the Gemological Institute of America, Gem treatment refers to any process, other than cutting and polishing, used to alter the appearance of a gemstone. Your jeweller needs to disclose any treatments, as it greatly affects the value of a gem.
If a gem, for example, is a glass-filled natural sapphire, it will be way cheaper than an untreated and less abundant, earth-mined sapphire. If this is not disclosed, clients will be unable to make the right purchasing decisions. Assembled gems (e.g. doublet, triplet), or when stones are glued together to create a larger gem, fall under this category as well. If you are not told it is assembled, you might not be getting what you expected.
ProTip: Always assume that your gem has had some treatment if you are unsure. What rocks is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with treatments - it infuses new life into gems. By enhancing their color and appearance, they won't get rejected and still be used for jewellery that one can enjoy for a long time.
Origins & Provenance
Although this is not available all the time, it is best to disclose the origin (if it is known and verified) as this affects the value of any piece. Though this might not be as important for certain pieces, in general, it is a factor because where a gem comes from geographically determines how rare it is and its superior color and quality. Emeralds from Colombia, for instance, are more expensive because they contain less iron and fewer impurities and fractions than emeralds from other countries like Brazil and Zambia.
Your gem's provenance may also be a factor if it has been confirmed. Who made your piece, when was it made and who first owned it will also add significant value. Sadly, this is an often-overlooked quality.
We get it. Buying jewellery can get highly stressful.
There is the overwhelm from just how gorgeous they all are and, of course, the substantial amount you need to invest in them. There are all the other little things you need to consider, for example, will it fit me? Does it go with my personality? Is this a generational piece or something disposable?
When in doubt, we encourage you to do your research and reading and ask as many questions as possible to strengthen your confidence when buying jewellery.
Jewellers should do their best to champion full disclosure. Like gems, striving for CLARITY in all transactions that would avoid potential red flags that COLOR reputation is important. Making the CUT supported by the quality of products and great customer experiences is always on top of mind.
Drop us a message if you have any questions or need advice regarding our products or even your gems! We'd love to have a chat and help you out.