Seeking Buying Guides for the Following

The IGS is currently seeking Buying Guides for the following gemstones:

Please contact IGS (via the form below) before submitting a Buying Guide for consideration. Once we receive more information about you and the Buying Guide that you’d like to write, we’ll get back to you with stipend information.

What to Cover in a Buying Guide

Make a Pitch

There are many gems available to consumers. Make a pitch for this particular gem. Why buy an aquamarine, or moonstone, or zircon, etc.?

Consider who the target consumers may be. For example:

  • Is the gemstone comparable to a more well-known and expensive stone? This might appeal to bargain hunters.
  • Is this a prestige gemstone, something rare and/or expensive? This might appeal to those who want to make a statement.
  • Is this a currently popular gemstone, something that’s new or experiencing a surge in interest? This might appeal to the fashion conscious.
  • Does this gem have particular properties that make it a good performance stone for a jewelry piece? This might appeal to the custom jewelry connoisseur. They would be interested in the physical and optical properties of the gem, as well as any potential weaknesses, flaws, or faceting concerns.
  • Also, remember the casual shoppers. They may to want mark an event or make a gift. To them, the moment or the act may be more important than the stone itself. The romance, symbolism, or lore of the gem may appeal to them more than scientific properties.

What are the Current Prices for this Gem?

Based on your experience and knowledge, what prices does the gemstone command in today’s market?

  • What is the top price per carat?
  • What are the top value factors?
  • What would make a bargain find? (What are the best combinations of value factors a consumer could find for the lowest price?)
  • Buyer Beware! What combination of factors should consumers avoid, unless they just desperately want to complete their gem collection.

What are the Sources of the Gems on the Market?

  • What are the classic sources and/or new sources of the gems?
  • Are there any notable differences in price due to a stone’s origin?
  • Are there any notable differences in features due to a stone’s origin?

The 4 Cs: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat

Casual consumers and experienced gem buyers alike break down gemstones into these four well-known, if not always well-understood, categories.


  • What are the colors of the top stones? Use the GIA color grading system or the best descriptions you can write.
  • Are there any popular/trending colors?
  • Does the stone have any color effects, like pleochroism or color change?


  • What’s the clarity grade of the top available stones? Use the GIA clarity grades or the best descriptions you can write.
  • Are there inclusions or other factors that could affect the stability of the gem?


  • What types of cuts would you recommend for this gemstone?
  • Are there any special considerations (cleavage, orientation, heat sensitivity) gem cutters should keep in mind when working this stone?


  • What sizes can the consumer find easily? What might require additional effort and/or cost?
  • What’s the largest size commonly available for this stone?
  • Are there jumps in the price per carat as stones increase in size?

Buying Rough Gems

  • Are there any special considerations consumers should take when buying rough gems?
  • How much mass will likely be sacrificed for particular cuts to emphasize brilliance or color?

Synthetics and Simulants

  • Are there synthetic versions of this stone available for jewelry use?
  • If so, are there any distinguishing characteristics?
  • What’s the price difference between synthetic and natural gems?
  • Are there any natural gemstones that could be misidentified or passed off as this gem?
  • Are there any other materials, such as glass or plastic, that could be passed off as this gem?
  • Are there any ways to distinguish these simulants?

Gemstone Treatments

Many gemstone treatments are commonplace and some are almost impossible to detect. With this caveat in mind:

  • Does this gemstones commonly receive any particular enhancements?
  • If so, why are they applied and do they have any impact on the gem’s stability?
  • Do treatments affect the gem’s value?
  • Are there any ways to detect these treatments?

Jewelry Uses

  • What is the gem’s overall wearability? How well will it hold up to everyday hazards like scratches, knocks, light, temperature changes, sweat, etc.
  • What jewelry cleaning methods would you recommend, and which should the consumer avoid?
  • What types of jewelry are well suited for this stone?
  • What types of settings would you recommend?
  • What types of jewelry use should be avoided, if any?

Gem Collections

  • If this gem is destined for display in a collection, do you have any advice or recommendations to keep it in the best shape?
  • Any tips for displaying the gem to show its best features?

Other Requirements

  • Article should be at least 600 words long.
  • For any images you include, please tell us exactly where those image came from so we can seek permission to use them.

Buying Guide Idea Submission