Sun, 06 Jul 2003

It takes a cut above in choosing the right gemstone

Maria Endah Hulupi The Jakarta Post Jakarta

We all know that diamonds are a girl's best friend, but what about all the other gemstones? There are many meanings contained in your choice of colored stones for jewelry, apart from the messages of status and money they give off to others.

Precious and semiprecious gems also represent love, power, purity and wisdom.

Gemologist/jewelry designer Betty Gunawan said local gem lovers were familiar with only one third of the existing stones, such as diamonds and sapphires.

Trends in the past few years have also brought the other colored gems to a wider audience.

"Like sapphires, topaz and coral are also gaining popularity because leading jewelry designers have been using them in their designs," she said.

"And in Indonesia, the trend is going back to China and jade is making a comeback."

Apart from the mainstay of diamonds, other transparent colored stones, such as amethyst, zircon, ruby, topaz, citrine, aquamarine and tourmaline, can be cut into different shapes to bring out their sparkle.

Among the well-known cuts include diamond, emerald and mixed, as well as other fancy shapes like baguette, square, antique cuts (consisting of rectangular antique cut and square antique cut) and emerald cuts (rectangular step cut and square step cut).

"I believe there are other variations since people have become more creative and introduced other designs to the market," said the graduate of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Whether buying for an investment or pleasure, a buyer should keep in mind certain points.

Gem value is determined by several factors, which include rarity of the gem or whether it is certain type gem from the same type, its colors, size and degree of clarity.

When buying gemstones, the only way to make sure that you are getting original items is by purchasing them from reputable jewelers.

"You have to be able to trust to your jeweler. This is important. Professional jewelers can equip their products with lab-based certification of origin based on customers' requests," she said..

Some gems, like sapphires, have similar hues to other colored stones, like topaz or aquamarine, and the similarity may go unnoticed by unskilled or uneducated jewelers.

"This kind of thing will not happen at reputable stores because they have the knowledge and the proper tools to determine the type of the gems," she said