Gemstone Facts

Gemstone Facts
Ruby in its matrix gathered in Greenland by Inuit small scale miners. We have been involved in a campaign for Inuit mining rights.
At a Glance
  • Between seventy and ninety percent of gemstones are supplied by small operations, benefitting local economies.
  • Ethically sourced gemstones have a very limited range of options.
  • We personally pick our gemstones for color, saturation, cut and value.
Gemstone facts

Much of the gemstone supply is from small scale miners. Between seventy and ninety percent of gemstones are supplied by small operations, benefitting local economies.

Ethical gemstone sourcing hinges around three primary questions: To what degree is their traceability and transparency back to mine? What are the conditions at the mine and cutting facility? What do we know about the ethics of the supplier?

Ethical Sources
We have a great offering of colored gemstones in which we have a clear chain of custody from mine to market, but the range is limited only to the more expensive gems. Generally, less expensive "semi-precious" gems, with a clear chain of custody, are not available. However, unlike diamonds and gold, colored gemstones do not generally finance wars, and their mining is less toxic than mining precious metals. Plus, between seventy and ninety percent of gemstones are supplied by small operations, benefitting local economies.
Color
Every colored gemstone is completely unique, with its own character. When we consider whether or not to purchase a gemstone, certainly the most important criteria for judging the quality of a gemstone is color purity. Except for the rarest gemstones which demand extraordinary prices, gems will have some minute elements of secondary color. This does not, with the gemstones we choose, diminish the natural beauty of the stone.
Tone
Gemstones range from light, medium-light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Those that are dark or light are generally referred to as "commercial" stones and we avoid purchasing them.

Instead, we personally pick out the best gemstones that represent an excellent value, aiming for those that are in medium, medium-light and medium dark tones.

Unlike diamonds and gold, colored gemstones do not generally finance wars, and their mining is less toxic than mining precious metals.

Saturation
Saturation refers to the degree of color purity. Another way of describing this is that certain gems actually pop under the light. What we look for when choosing a gemstone for you is a "strong" or "vivid" saturation of desired colors, with a minimum of grays and browns.
Enhancements
Many colored gemstones, including sapphires and rubies, are generally heat treated to enhance hue and color. This enhancement enriches the saturation and draws out the gemstones vibrancy. Heat treatment permanently changes the color of a gem. In context to our gemstones, the vast majority of our gemstones are natural, except for our sapphires and topaz which are generally treated.
Cut and Inclusions
Gemstones are not cut with the same specifications as diamonds. "Ideal" cuts do not exist. Instead, gemstones are cut to reveal their optimum even color and the fewest possible inclusions.

Natural gemstones, except for those that demand exorbitant prices, have slight to moderate inclusions as part of their makeup. We choose to sell gemstones with only a minimum number of inclusions, representing the best possible value.
Size
Size does matter in the case of gemstones. Larger gems are much rarer than smaller gems and therefore more expensive.

Regarding the visual appearance, size and weight have a great deal of variance. In fact, since there is no "ideal " cut in gemstones, it is not always possible to judge a gemstone's visual size by its carat weight. When we measure gems, we measure from the top down, as if you were seeing the design in one of our pieces.
Gemstones being polished in Sri Lanka. Taken during our visit to the country right after the tsunami, where we spent two weeks building houses.

Copyright © 2017 Reflective Jewelry
Follow Us
Join In!