Gemstone Necklaces

Gemstone necklaces have been a popular accessory for centuries. Seen in some of the world’s oldest cultures and found in every continent over the last thousand years, precious and semi-precious gems have been used extensively for jewelry and religious artifacts. Unlike other ancient fashion items, it seems that gemstone necklaces aren’t likely to disappear – they remain as popular as ever today.

However, despite their popularity and position as a status symbol, it’s very easy to make mistakes when shopping for a gemstone necklace. From fake gemstones to utterly garish arrangements, the potential pitfalls of high-end jewelry shopping are myriad and daunting. With hundreds of different gems and precious stones to choose from, even a small error can be frightfully expensive.

This seven-part buyer’s guide can help you shop for gemstone necklaces without fear of picking the wrong stone, buying the wrong necklace, or picking up the wrong design for your personal style. If you’re new to the world of high-end jewelry – gemstone necklaces in particular – apply these seven tips to save yourself potential expense, embarrassment, and enduring buyers’ mistakes.

Shop to add variety to your collection
Everyone has a favorite stone, be it ruby, sapphire, or emerald. Likewise, everyone has a particular item that makes up the majority of their wardrobe. It’s best to shop for versatility, both in your gem necklaces and in the type of clothing that you use for special occasions and everyday wear.

Pick gemstone necklaces that are versatile and attractive, not stunning and utterly impractical. The cost of most gemstone necklaces and the massive expense associated with building a collection can make it difficult to buy more than one. Make your collection count by aiming for versatility.

Use gemstones to accessorize and add color to your outfit
The world’s leading fashion designers agree: there’s no color more powerful than black. While black rarely clashes, it can be fairly boring on its own. Use colorful gemstone necklaces to add interesting touches to otherwise boring outfits, particularly those that are primarily black, grey, or dark blue.

An opal necklace or emerald bracelet can make an otherwise bland black outfit striking and full of life. The best designers understand the importance of small contrast points – typically jewelry that’s built to grab the eye. Use your gemstone necklaces to attract attention in otherwise boring outfits.

Don’t be afraid of semi-precious gemstones
Unlike diamonds (which despite being a gemstone, are typically grouped otherwise) there’s no real scale for judging the value or quality of different gemstones. Nevertheless, stones are grouped into two categories according to their availability and cultural appreciation: precious and semi-precious.

Don’t let their identifier judge their value – judge the value of a gemstone necklace yourself. If you see a gemstone necklace that’s absolutely beautiful, don’t let the presence of a ‘semi-precious’ stone put you off. Sometimes, even the most common gemstones can make highly beautiful accessories.

Look for clarity and color depth in gemstone necklaces
Most gemstones, emeralds and sapphires in particular, are judged on their color depth (also known as saturation) and clarity. Spoiled gemstones – ones with marks and cuts – are often considered less fit for use in gemstone necklaces, bracelets, and other pieces of high-end personal jewelry.

Before you purchase a gemstone necklace, check the necklace’s major stone for any cuts or issues with color depth. The most valuable gemstones typically have a deep color and consistent clarity, although this can vary depending on the type of gemstone, its size, and the presence of other gems.

There is such thing as too ornate – think simple
Flashy isn’t always best. While large necklaces and ultra-complex gemstone necklaces were once a symbol of the upper classes, today they can look kitsch and somewhat tacky. Necklaces which have a combination of subtlety, immense beauty, and small size are ideal for adding flair to your clothing.

Don’t fall for ‘bling syndrome’ – thinking that big, invasive gemstone necklaces are the best options out there. Not only are big gems sometimes less valuable than their smaller counterparts, but larger gemstone necklaces can be uncomfortable to wear and very garish when paired with simple outfits.

Small gemstone necklaces often make the biggest impact
Gemstones are frequently used as the centerpiece for a larger design, often a necklace that’s made from silver or another precious metal. From microscopic central rubies to beautiful sapphire-silver jewelry combinations, it’s often the smallest gemstones that end up paired with the biggest jewelry.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. When you want to draw attention to a precious stone, a beautiful gem, or a small yet stunning diamond, it’s often best to surround it in another material. Don’t think that smaller gemstone necklaces should be avoided – they often look better than their bigger rivals.

Buy ethically – avoid stones that can cause suffering
Most of the world’s gemstones are mined ethically, using economies with established labor laws and nonviolent leadership. However, a significant portion of the world’s gemstones – diamonds in many African nations, in particular – are mined using violence, threats, and other manipulative strategies.

Ethical buyers may wish to avoid gemstone necklaces that contain stones from potentially troubled regions, instead using an artificial stone or one acquired ethically. A number of jewelry companies are committed to stamping out violence – support them and help keep gemstone necklaces ethical.

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