Questions About Gems and Jewelry


Questions from consumers and novice gemologists about all things related to gemstones and jewelry.

Should You Buy Jewelry on a Cruise?

Should You Buy Jewelry on a Cruise?

Are the offers you'll find for jewelry on a cruise ship too good to be true? Learn to look beyond...
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Does Synthetic Jade Exist?

Does Synthetic Jade Exist?

You might find synthetic jade for sale, but is this material really lab-made jade or something else? Learn how to...
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Is Xinjiang Nephrite Banned in the US?

Is Xinjiang Nephrite Banned in the US?

How does the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act of 2021 affect imports of Xinjiang nephrite jade from China? Learn what...
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Do the 2021 US Myanmar Sanctions Affect the Jade Trade?

Do the 2021 US Myanmar Sanctions Affect the Jade Trade?

What do the 2021 Myanmar sanctions cover and will they affect the jade trade? Learn about the origins, scope, and...
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Does Chrysoprase Jewelry Fade?

Does Chrysoprase Jewelry Fade?

Should you wear chrysoprase jewelry only at night to protect the gem’s striking green color? Learn the facts here.
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Can You Identify Gems Without Seeing Gemstone Colors?

Can You Identify Gems Without Seeing Gemstone Colors?

Did you know most gem species can be distinguished without the element of color? Learn the role gemstone colors play...
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Price and Value: Factory-Cut vs Custom-Cut Gemstones

Price and Value: Factory-Cut vs Custom-Cut Gemstones

How does faceting affect gem value? Custom-cut gemstones are unique pieces and command a high price. Learn how custom cutting...
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The Foundation Stones of the New Testament

The Foundation Stones of the New Testament

Commentaries on the foundation stones of the Book of Revelation influenced the development of the Western birthstone system. Learn more...
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Is Golden Beryl a Good Gem Choice for Jewelry?

Is Golden Beryl a Good Gem Choice for Jewelry?

Golden beryl, also known as heliodor, can display rich colors and is an excellent gem choice for jewelry. Learn more...
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Gemstone Wholesale Prices and the Art of Appraising

Gemstone Wholesale Prices and the Art of Appraising

There are few guides to gemstone wholesale prices. However, appraising gemstones requires in-depth knowledge and experience, not just price lists....
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What Were the Gemstones of the Breastplate of Aaron?

What Were the Gemstones of the Breastplate of Aaron?

In Exodus, the breastplate of Aaron was said to hold 12 gems. However, the gemological identities of the stones, like...
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Recommendations for Polishing Silver Jewelry

Recommendations for Polishing Silver Jewelry

These cleaning tips will make polishing silver jewelry a little easier. Learn how to prevent tarnish and how to clean...
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The Pocket Spectroscope: A Quick Guide for Gemologists

The Pocket Spectroscope: A Quick Guide for Gemologists

An inexpensive pocket spectroscope can be great for student gemologists as well as pros who need to identify gems while...
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Do Emeralds and Peridots Look Good Together?

Do Emeralds and Peridots Look Good Together?

Although emeralds and peridots are both green gems, differences in shade might make it hard to pair them in jewelry....
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How to Dry Opals Safely

How to Dry Opals Safely

Opals should be handled with care. If you buy opals that have been kept in water, follow these instructions to...
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Opal Wearability and Jewelry Tips

Opal Wearability and Jewelry Tips

Are opals too delicate for jewelry? Learn how to choose the right settings for opal wearability, so you can enjoy...
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What Does the GIA Colored Gem Grading Code Mean?

What Does the GIA Colored Gem Grading Code Mean?

The GIA grading system describes gem color in terms of hue, tone, and saturation. Learn what the abbreviations and numbers...
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Should I Make an Investment in Bargain Rubies?

Should I Make an Investment in Bargain Rubies?

Do you have an offer for bargain rubies that's too good to be true? Learn what you need to know...
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Can Wearing Gems That Touch Your Skin Improve Your Health?

Can Wearing Gems That Touch Your Skin Improve Your Health?

Will wearing gems that touch the skin of your finger bring you health benefits? Before you buy any ring stone,...
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Is Lab-Created Alexandrite Real Alexandrite?

Is Lab-Created Alexandrite Real Alexandrite?

Natural alexandrite is popular and rare, which creates a market for synthetics. But is lab-created alexandrite real alexandrite? Learn the...
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Is Uranium Glass Safe to Facet?

Is Uranium Glass Safe to Facet?

Uranium glass, or Vaseline glass, is a prized collector's item and is generally safe to handle. But is it safe...
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Aquamarine Enhancements

Aquamarine Enhancements

The most common aquamarine enhancements try to turn blueish green stones pure blue. Learn how heating and other aquamarine treatments...
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Aquamarine Durability

Aquamarine Durability

Aquamarines are fairly tough jewelry stones, but they do have some weaknesses. Learn about aquamarine durability and what precautions you...
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Emerald Myth Busters: Identifying Colombian Stones

Emerald Myth Busters: Identifying Colombian Stones

Colombian emeralds can command premium prices. Jeffery Bergman separates emerald myth from fact when it comes to determining the origins...
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What is a Gem Reflectometer?

What is a Gem Reflectometer?

What’s the difference between a reflectometer and a refractometer? If you’re interested in studying or buying gems, learn the facts...
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What is the Usambara Effect In Gemstones?

What is the Usambara Effect In Gemstones?

The Usambara effect is a gemstone color change phenomenon distinct from pleochroism or the alexandrite effect. Tourmaline and other species...
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What is a Chameleon Diamond?

What is a Chameleon Diamond?

A classic chameleon diamond can change color from green to yellow under certain conditions. Learn more about this process and...
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Can Diamonds Burn?

Can Diamonds Burn?

Diamonds may form under intense heat and pressure, but under what conditions can diamonds burn? Learn the science behind a...
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What Causes Fuzzy Refractometer Readings?

What Causes Fuzzy Refractometer Readings?

Fuzzy refractometer readings may be the result of poorly faceted gems, the wrong amount of refraction liquid, and even stone...
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How to Re-Polish a Refractometer Hemicylinder

How to Re-Polish a Refractometer Hemicylinder

The glass used to make refractometer hemicylinders is susceptible to tarnish. Here's a step-by-step guide for re-polishing a refractometer hemicylinder....
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Tucson Gem and Mineral Show Reviews

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show Reviews

Novice and expert gemologists discuss their experiences at the celebrated annual February Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. You'll find reviews...
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What Do the GIA Gem Clarity Grading Codes Mean?

What Do the GIA Gem Clarity Grading Codes Mean?

A gemstone’s clarity grade indicates how free it is of inclusions and blemishes. Learn how to decipher the GIA clarity...
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What Causes Emerald Fractures?

What Causes Emerald Fractures?

Emeralds get their green color from chromium and vanadium. Learn how the presence of these elements affects their formation and...
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Are White Aquamarines Genuine Aquamarines?

Are White Aquamarines Genuine Aquamarines?

Aquamarine is the blue to blue-green variety of beryl. If you encounter so-called white aquamarines, buyer beware. Learn the facts...
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Is a Lab-Created Emerald a Real Emerald?

Is a Lab-Created Emerald a Real Emerald?

What's the difference between a lab-created emerald and a natural emerald? Is a synthetic gem a real gem? Learn the...
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Are Serengeti Rubies Real Rubies?

Are Serengeti Rubies Real Rubies?

Although Tanzania is a source of rubies, so-called Serengeti rubies are more likely to be garnets. Learn more about rubies...
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Do Natural Rubies Fluoresce?

Do Natural Rubies Fluoresce?

Both natural and synthetic rubies fluoresce under UV light. Learn how slight differences in fluorescence patterns can help gemologists distinguish...
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Ruby and Sapphire Survey: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Ruby and Sapphire Survey: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Our survey asked for your input on the age-old question: where is the line between ruby and sapphire? The results...
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An Introduction to Conflict Diamonds and the Kimberley Process

An Introduction to Conflict Diamonds and the Kimberley Process

NGOs and movies have helped raise awareness of conflict diamonds, and governments have taken steps to stop their trade. How...
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Fake News in the Gem Trade: A Waterworn Emerald from Chivor?

Fake News in the Gem Trade: A Waterworn Emerald from Chivor?

A number of online sites have reported on a large emerald, supposedly recently extracted from the Chivor mine in Colombia....
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Pricing Information For Star Opals From Spencer, Idaho

Pricing Information For Star Opals From Spencer, Idaho

Some opals from Spencer, Idaho show asterism or the “star stone” effect. Learn how to price these beautiful but rare...
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What Is The Difference Between Chert, Flint, And Mozarkite?

What Is The Difference Between Chert, Flint, And Mozarkite?

Flint and mozarkite are types of chert. While flint is known for its practical use, mozarkite is a colorful variety...
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An Introduction To Turkey's Gemstones

An Introduction To Turkey's Gemstones

Turkey's gemstones include well-known species such as diaspore, chalcedony, and jade, as well as unusual specimens of lesser-known gems. Learn...
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Where Can You Find Agate Stones Forming?

Where Can You Find Agate Stones Forming?

Agate stones typically form slowly in the cavities of ancient hardened lava flows. Learn where you can see this process...
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Why are Topaz and Citrine Gemstones Misidentified?

Why are Topaz and Citrine Gemstones Misidentified?

Learn why citrine gemstones are sometimes misidentified as topaz. A professional appraisal by an independent gem lab is the best...
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Sphalerite Appraisal

Sphalerite Appraisal

Learn what factors most influence a sphalerite appraisal and what kind of jewelry will best showcase this beautiful gemstone.
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