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Best Value Gemstones

Best Value Gemstones
Best Value Gemstones

One question we often hear from our customers is:

"What are the best value natural gemstones?"

We've been giving the matter some consideration and would like to share our thoughts on the topic.

First we must point out that this is not an article on the most expensive gemstones or best gemstone investments. That is a totally different issue. What we will be talking about is the best ‘value for money’ gemstones.

What do we mean by value for money?

For example you may have the choice of two cars. One is $50,000 dollars and the other is a $1000. The expensive one is comfortable, reliable, fast but economical while the cheap one is always breaking down, guzzles gas and its bald tires, squeaky brakes and torn safety belts are a life-threatening danger to passengers. Only one of these cars gives any value for money.

In our case it is simply a gemstone that is worth the money you pay for it. NOT a cheap stone but something that will give you pleasure for years to come without breaking the bank.

There are a few factors that determine the price of a gemstone:

  • The type of gemstone
  • The condition of the gemstone itself – color, clarity, size, etc
  • The gemstone is officially certified
  • The origin of the gemstone – Burmese rubies are more valuable than Thai rubies
  • Simple supply and demand
  • Worldwide ‘trends’ for particular gemstones which can fluctuate – what cool people are wearing one year they may not be the next!

Of course the most important element is that you must love the look of your gemstone and it fits your budget.

We have put together a selection of gemstones that we feel offer the best possible value for money.

We have based our choices on factors such as:

  • Great color and clarity
  • Sufficient durability for most jewelry (Rated 7+ on Mohs Hardness Scale)
  • The less treatment the better
  • Wide range of sizes and shapes
  • Rare but not impossible to find

Let’s begin with the king of colored gemstones, they are quite expensive but they are the best!

Sapphire

Pros

Very durable at 9 on Mohs Hardness scale, excellent brilliance and fire, famous for the deep velvety blue color but also available in yellow, orange, purple, pink and more.

Cons

Usually Heat Treated but this is a standard practice and has been for centuries.

Price

$300 - $600 + per carat for heated sapphire, $1000+ per carat for unheated sapphire.
Certain colors, treatments and clarity can bring the prices down to little as $20 per carat.

Buy Sapphire Gemstones
Shop Sapphire here

Spessartite Garnet or Hessonite Garnet

Pros

Durable at 7.5 on Mohs Hardness scale, excellent brilliance (higher than sapphire), gorgeous burnt orange colors, no treatments.

Cons

The color is limited to orange tones although it is a gorgeous orange. Bigger stones can have inclusions.

Price

$25 - $150 + per carat.

Buy Spessartite and Hessonite Garnet
Shop Spessartite and Hessonite Garnet here

Spinel

Pros

Durable at 8 on Mohs Hardness scale, great brilliance and fire, wide choice of colors, no treatments.

Cons

Larger gem sizes hard to find.

Price

$20 - $400 + per carat, depending on size.

Buy Spinel Gemstones
Shop Spinel here

Tourmaline

Pros

Durable at 7 to 7.5 on Mohs Hardness scale, good brilliance and fire, the best choice of colors in the gemstone world, affordable in large sizes and usually untreated.

Cons

Bigger gemstones can have uneven coloring.

Price

$20 - $300 + per carat, depending on size, Paraiba tourmaline $300 to $1000 + per carat.

Buy Tourmaline Gemstones
Shop Tourmaline here

Golden Beryl

Pros

Very durable at 7.5 to 8 on Mohs Hardness scale, high levels of brilliance, vivid golden yellow colors, great clarity, same family as emeralds but much more affordable, no treatments.

Cons

Not very well known – is this a bad thing?

Price

$25 - $40 + per carat

Buy Golden Beryl Gemstones
Shop Golden Beryl here

Topaz

Pros

Very durable 8 on Mohs Hardness scale, great sparkle, wide array of colors but the sky blue one of the most popular gemstones in the world, excellent clarity, some very large sizes available.

Cons

Most Blue Topaz are treated

Price

$5 - $40 per carat. Imperial Topaz $500 - $1500 per carat

Buy Topaz Gemstones
Shop Topaz here

Zircon

Pros

Very durable 8 on Mohs Hardness scale, great sparkle, wide array of colors but the sky blue is the most popular, excellent clarity, some very large sizes available.

Cons

White and Blue Zircons are often heated

Price

$15 - $400 per carat with price increasing with size

Buy Zircon Gemstones
Shop Zircon here

The Quartz Family including Amethyst, Citrine, Smoky Quartz and Rose Quartz

Pros

All a very durable 7 on Mohs Hardness scale, wide range of colors including purple, golden yellow, pink, brown and more, excellent clarity, found in huge sizes, readily available.

Cons

White and Blue Zircons are often heated

Price

$2 - $80 per carat

Buy Quartz  Gemstones
Shop Quartz here

Peridot

Pros

A durable 7 on Mohs Hardness scale, excellent clarity, no treatments, great golden green sparkle, long history.

Cons

Only comes in green colors, gemstones bigger than 5 carats harder to find.

Price

$10 - $80 per carat

Buy Peridot Gemstones
Shop Peridot here
Notes:

Price ranges are approximate, based on our current inventory. The upper ranges for any gemstone variety are always unlimited, since very special pieces are priced accordingly.

There are many fine gemstones which didn't make our short list, including ruby, emerald and tanzanite. Our intention is not to disparage any of these, but to identify the very best value gemstones on today's market, based on the gemstone characteristics cited above.

Our Quick Guide to Value for Money Gems

Gemstone Price / ct Color

Sapphire

$20 - $600

All Colors

Spessartite

$25 - $150

Orange / Red-Orange

Spinel

$20 - $400

Multi Colors

Tourmaline

$20 - $300

All Colors

Golden Beryl

$20 - $40

Yellow / Golden

Topaz

$5 - $40

Multi Colors

Zircon

$15 - $400

Multi Colors

Quartz

$2 - $80

Multi Colors

Peridot

$10 - $80

Green

  • First Published: March-17-2008
  • Last Updated: February-06-2022
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Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart