How Much Do Precious Gemstones Cost?
Jewelry as an accessory has been worn for over 3,000 years.
Thousands of jewelry pieces are purchased every single day across the globe.
As time goes on, different trends rise and fall in popularity. One of these recent trends has been gemstone jewelry.
It's a less flashy yet still luxurious alternative to the typical diamonds and gold look.
"Gemstone" jewelry is a very broad thing. There are hundreds of different stones that are used by jewelry makers around the world. Some are more popular than others.
How much do gemstones cost? Such a massive question can't be answered in totality in this post. However, we can look specifically at the most popular gemstones and analyze their average price per carat.
This will give us a rough idea of how much each stone costs on the market. Keep in mind, these prices do not mean that all jewelers will upcharge you the same amount for the same stone. Two turquoise necklaces could significantly range in price from vendor to vendor.
The graph below shows the price per carat before the actual jewelry pieces are fashioned:
Variation In Price:
As you can see from the graph, certain gemstones have a huge variation in price. Why is that? How can turquoise vary from $10 to $1,000 per carat?!
Again, there is no simple answer.
In truth, there are dozens of factors that determine the price of a gemstone.
One factor that influences the cost the most is the location in which the stone originated.
Gemstones that originate from rare locations will always be more expensive.
Tanzanite, for example, is a popular gemstone that exclusively comes from Tanzania. Because of this, Tanzanite will always be expensive regardless of how small the gemstone is due to limited resourcing.
Tourmaline is an example of a stone that comes from multiple places around the world. As a result, the price can vary extensively.
If you find a simple jewelry piece that seems suspiciously expensive, it could mean that the gemstones used were simply sourced from a very exotic, expensive location.
The Physical Attributes of The Gemstone:
We like wearing gemstones because they are pretty. What makes them pretty, Well, how they look of course!
Looks can be and often are subjective. This plays into the variance in pricing that we saw in the previous graph. Two people may value the same gemstone differently depending on what they believe are natural cracks or dull polish.
Before being given a value, each gemstone is analyzed for the number of cracks, veins, and other marks it contains. A gemstone is generally deemed more valuable the more veins it has.
Another important factor is the natural status of the gemstone.
We humans always prefer things natural, and gemstones are no different. The more enhanced a gemstone is, the less value it has.
Jewelers using authentic, non-enhanced gemstones in their jewelry will reflect that in their hefty price tags.
Color is also important for value.
Tourmaline is a gemstone that comes in many colors, some more rare and valuable than others.
For example, neon-blue tourmaline is the rarest and expensive, while pink tourmaline is the most common affordable.
Many gemstones have great variety in all of the factors above, making it difficult to give an “average” price per carat per stone.
Turquoise itself is especially difficult to price.
That's because no other gemstone has more variety when found in nature than Turquoise.
Even two stones taken from the same mine can be wildly different. While this makes pricing somewhat of a pain, it is a nice feeling to know that and piece of turquoise jewelry you own is guaranteed to be one of a kind!
How Durability Affects Price:
The last factor affecting the price of gemstones is durability.
Hardness is measured on the Moh’s scale, a scale of 1-10 that measures the resistance of gemstones and minerals against scratches. The higher the number, the stronger the material.
As with price per carat, the hardness rating of various gemstones can vary, though not nearly as much.
You can see the different ratings in the graph below.
Based on the data, jewelry pieces like a sapphire bangle or ruby ring are "safer" buys that are less likely to break if dropped. That increased durability means they are also more expensive.
Other gemstones such as any Kyanite need to be handled with extreme care. Even a short drop could damage the gemstone beyond repair.
For those of us with butterfingers, it might be best to stay away from the fragile stones...
There you have it! The average price per carat of the most common gemstones used in jewelry.
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