Choosing The Right Gemstone

Gemstone Guide

Gemstone Colors

In addition to our stunning collection of diamonds, Sylvia’s Antique Jewelry carries a wide selection of gorgeous gemstones of the highest quality. No doubt, by now, you are familiar with the 4 “C”s which determine the value of a diamond (color, cut, clarity and carat weight), but colored gemstones also have their own 4 “C”s. They are color, color, color and color! The best quality gemstones are those with the best quality color. Period. The finer and rarer the color of your gemstone, the less impact clarity, cut and carat weight will have on it. If the color is not good, then other factors will play a more important role in determining the value of the stone.
Here are some of our favorite gemstones:


Choosing The Right Gemstone

Did you know that sapphires come in many different colors? Sapphires can actually be green, purple, black, orange, yellow and pink, even bi-color, but the most popular color by far is the distinctive cornflower blue, which is often used in engagement and wedding rings in conjunction with diamonds. Blue sapphires can vary in terms of the depth of their color from pale to the darkest shades of blue.Sapphire clarity ranges from IF (Internally Flawless) to opaque; the latter are usually cut as cabochons and they are almost as hard as diamonds so they are ideal for everyday jewelry.

Choosing The Right Gemstone

Tourmalines come in more shades and depths of color than any other type of gemstone. They can be yellow, pink, green, red, purple or even a much desired dual-color pink and green which is called watermelon. Certain types of tourmaline can also change color from green to red depending on the light. Their clarity also ranges from IF (Internally Flawless) to opaque; they can be used in a wide variety of jewelry and represent a great value since their carat price does not increase much when you purchase a larger stone.

Choosing The Right Gemstone

A perennial top seller, the most popular color for Topaz is blue, in varying shades and depths. In nature, it only comes in pale blue, so the deeper tones we offer have been color-enhanced using a special irradiation and heating process to improve the depth of their color. The most popular color-enhanced shades include London Blue, which is a deep greenish blue, Sky Blue, which is a brighter, light blue and Swiss Blue which is a medium shade of blue. Mystic and Azotic Topaz throw off a kaleidoscope of rainbow colors making them highly colorful with that extra special sparkle. What other colors does Topaz come in? You can get yellow, white, orange, light green and a pinkish red color.Topaz is a brilliant stone with high clarity levels, so that it has a special luster not present in other gemstones. Topaz is also reasonably priced, so that you can get a larger stone for your money than you might have expected. It is also hard so is practical for everyday use.

Choosing The Right Gemstone

Known for its varying shades of striking purples and mauves, amethyst has been popular for centuries, particularly with members of Royalty and the ruling classes. From pale violet to a deep, rich purple, amethyst has been a perennial favorite. It is an excellent value, too, so you can choose a large carat weight stone and still stay within a reasonable budget.

Choosing The Right Gemstone

Spinel comes in a variety of different pastel shades of pinks, purples, reds, oranges, blues and violets. It is often purchased instead of a sapphire as it compares well in terms of luster and brilliance. For centuries, red spinel was actually mistaken for ruby, although it is actually rarer. Unlike most rubies and sapphires, spinel cannot be color enhanced, so it is an entirely natural stone, which is appealing to some customers. With a price that is often half that of a heat treated ruby or sapphire, it is a great choice for those looking for a combination of beauty and value.For a complete selection of our colored gemstones, including rubies, garnets, citrine and lapis lazuli, please go to our product pages.
Gemstone Quality
Similar to the way the value of a diamond is determined, gemstone quality is based upon certain characteristics. With these in mind, you will be able to make the best choice and shop confidently, knowing more about what you are buying.


As the most important factor in determining value in a gemstone, color plays a vital role. The best natural colors are saturated, pure color generally with a deeper tone; these can be very expensive however. Most gemstones these days have been color enhanced. The only exception to this is spinel which cannot be treated.

Sylvia’s Antique Jewelry carries superb stones that have been enhanced using heat and irradiation methods commonly used in the industry, so that the range of colors we offer our customers is spectacular. You will find color galore, dazzle and brilliance combined with superb quality and value.


Unlike diamonds, there is no perfect cut for gemstones which shows off their brilliance, so look for a cut which enhances the stone’s color, shows as few impurities as possible and shows the maximum surface of the stone when it is in a setting.


Flawless gemstones are rare and very expensive, but those with a few inclusions, which are not visible to the naked eye, are still an excellent value. Certain stones, such as emeralds, which tend to be more sensitive to everyday wear, can be treated with wax or resin to fill any inclusions that reach the surface. This is a common practice in the industry and it helps preserve the stones from further damage.


Gemstones cannot necessarily be measured accurately by carat weight, since they may have different densities. It is best to judge their size when looking down from above, since this is what will be seen when the stone is in its setting.


As natural gemstones with the best color and least amount of flaws are extremely expensive, most gemstones on the market today have been color enhanced or treated for flaws with oils, wax or resin to fill them in and make them stronger. At Sylvia’s Antique Jewelry, we tell you if your stone has been color enhanced or treated and include details on your appraisal.

If you would like further clarification about buying gemstones, please call us at 800-969-6930 or Email Us  we will be delighted to assist you.