The Carat Price of Gemstones
In the world of gemstone, most of these are priced according to their weight. There is an exception when you are pricing cabochons and carvings, which are sometimes sold as a piece and not really according to their carat weight. This is simply because the cost that is incurred in creating a carving or cabochon is much higher than the value of the resultant material, if considered in terms of weight. A carat is equivalent to 200 mgs of the gemstone material. The carat is a weight that is used to measure gemstones and should not be confused with the Karat, which is only used to measure the purity of gold and other precious metals.
When you consider the carat price of various gemstones, you will find that they vary substantially, and this can be from a few dollars to thousands, per carat. There are several features that are considered when determining the carat weight of a particular gemstones, and these can be characterized as 10 different features. These are:
The gemstone variety
There are those gemstone varieties that usually come at a high price even for small carat weights, and these include sapphires, rubies, emeralds, spinel, and tanzanite among many others simply because they are very rare and have superior color characteristics. When you look at other varieties, you will find that they are abundant in the world and their prices are therefore quite low; these include many types of quartz. However, even if the variety will set a base price for the gemstones, there are several other characteristics that are taken in consideration; you may find a ruby, that is lowly priced, when compared to another, and these other features are the ones that bring about this variation in price.
The color of the gemstone
Colored gemstones depend very highly on the quality of their color when their price is being set. All gem varieties also come with their own ideal colors, but when speaking generally, color features that are highly valued are the vivid, pure and intense colors. You find that gemstones that are too dark or light will be less valuable than those which have medium colors. This means that a sapphire that has a corn-blue color will be highly priced when compared to one with a pale blue, or inky bluish black color.
The clarity of the gemstone
The gemstones that do not have any inclusions, are said to be cleaner, or clearer, and they fetch a high price. The brilliance of a gemstone is determined by the clarity or cleanliness of the inside. This means that if you have a gemstone that has several inclusion, but which do not affect the brilliance of the stone, then these will tend to be ignored, even if the industry standard is that the fewer the inclusion, then the higher the price. For this reason, you find that some of the inclusion found in gemstones such as emeralds are largely ignored, and some people will even pay more for a Jardin Emerald, which has inclusions that resemble a garden.
The cut and polish of the gemstone
It is important that for the true and best brilliance of a gemstone to be seen, then it has to be cut and polished just right. At times, the lapidaries, or cutters, may have to cut the gemstone in certain ways in order to compromise for some fault in the raw material. For example, if the raw material is too light then the cutter has to make it deeper, so that it can show its color. On the other hand, a gemstone that has a dark color will have to cut shallow, so enough light can pass through to show its true colors; without this it would just look like a black stone. The cutter has to make sure that all the facets meet in a clan manner and that the surface of the gemstone is not scratched at all when it is polished.
The size of the gemstone
In some cases, just like the quartz varieties, there is not much change in price, even as the size of the stone increases. However, when you look at the rare gemstones, the price will not increase in this same fashion. You will find that a gemstone will increase the price exponentially, if it is considered to be rare and therefore more precious. You may find a gemstone going at 2,000 dollars for a one carat, and the price shoots to 4,000 dollars for a two carat stone. This is the reason why emeralds, sapphires and rubies tend to have astronomically high prices when in large sizes. Apart from the fact that the larger the stone is the more expensive it will be, there are those that are cut in calibrated stock sizes, and these also are highly priced, because a lot of the raw material has to be lost to get to the calibrated size.
The shape of the gemstone
It is possible to find some shapes fetching higher prices than others, and this is brought about by the demand for the shape, and also how much material will be used in making the particular shape. Many people prefer the round shapes and this is why they are more expansive. Similarly, round shapes are less common than ovals, and this is because the ovals are cut in order to preserve most of the raw material. When a gemstone is cut into a round shape, then it loses more of the raw material, and if you are using rare and expensive materials such as ruby, alexandrite and sapphire, then the price might end up being very high.
The treatment given to the gemstone
Today, in the commercial jewelry trade, there are several treatments that are used to improve the appearance of a particular gemstone. You will find that irradiating, heating, diffusion and fracture-filling can greatly improve the overall appearance of the gemstone. When compared together, a treated gemstone attracts a lower price than one that is natural, all other factors remaining constant. It is very rare to find stones such as sapphires and rubies that are in their original form, since today, most of them are being subjected to treatment. For most consumers the prices of these untreated gemstones are simply too high, and only the rich can afford them. If one would want an untreated gemstone, then there are many other beautiful, yet lowly prices varieties. These are gemstones such as spinel, amethyst, tourmaline, and garnet, which are usually left in their natural forms.
The origin of the gemstone
In essence, two fine specimens of a rare and popular gemstone should really fetch the same price, no matter where it came from. However, the reality is the fact that the gemstone world has placed a lot of value of gemstones that come from particular regions in the world. Brazil, Kashmir, Burma and Sri Lanka are some of the origins which command a lot of interest. This may not be truly fair, when you consider that there are many other fine gemstones that come from other places, especially the continent of Africa.
The gemstone fashion of the moment
You will find that there are gemstones that never go out of fashion. A good example is the blue sapphire. There are other gemstones that come into fashion for a very short period and their prices increase. In the recent years, Andesine Labradorite, and the Diaspore which changes color when exposed to light, become quite fashionable, and their process are quite high. There has also been a lot of interest shown towards the rutilated quartz There are other fine gemstones which are quite beautiful and fine, but which are not adequately marketed due to poor supply, and they end up fetching lower prices than they actually deserve; without marketing, the fashion world will not recognize them and their prices stay low.
The supply chain of the gemstone
Just like any other business, the gem trade is also affected by the supply chain. This means that the supply of the gemstone from the mine to the final jeweler should be effective in order to be profitable. Usually gemstone will pass through many hands, from the moment they are brought from the mine, to the time they get to the buyer; usually, if a gemstone is handled by many hands, then it will be more expensive as each broker has to add a margin for profit. This has sometimes brought about shocking differences in the price. You may find a gemstone having a difference in price of up to 200 percent when it passes through the hands of many people.