Know the Stone

What’s a surefire way to lose money in the gem trade? Buy a gemstone you know nothing about.

Here are six steps you can take to help you prepare for gemstone negotiations and get the best possible price:

  1. When you start investing in gems, specialize in one or two types of popular stones. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds all make good starting points because they enjoy consistent demand. (I’m partial to spinels, but these less well-known gems aren’t a good choice for novice investors).
  2. Once you choose your specialties, identify the experts on your gemstones. Take advantage of the IGS Learning Center. It’s a good place to find them, because we source articles from globally renowned gem experts.
  3. Read everything those experts have written, whether on the IGS website or elsewhere.
  4. Get out from behind your computer and go to gem shows. Start looking at gem material in person. Look at all kinds of stones (not just your specialties): large and small, rare and common, expensive and cheap. Learn the differences. 
  5. Take IGS mini-courses on your gems to learn about their varieties and most common treatments. Become an expert yourself.
  6. Review the IGS