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How Are Colored Gems Valued?

April 16, 2018 4 min read

Most people have heard about the four C’s of Diamond valuation; Cut, Clarity, Carat weight and Color. What many people don’t realize is that colored gems are valued in the same way.

Here at Biographie we offer a wide selection of designer colored gem jewelry, and when browsing our website you may notice that prices for somewhat similar pieces of jewelry with similar sized gems can vary massively. Even pieces of colored gem jewelry featuring the same gems can be priced differently, and this can sometimes cause confusion. We have even had customers reaching out to us to ask why one piece is priced so differently to other similar designs.


When it comes to colored gems, the clarity of the gem has an enormous effect on that gems value. While some gems such as Citrine and Amethyst are relatively easy to find in larger sizes with excellent clarity, gems such as Peridot almost always have inclusions. Most colored jewelry fans are used to seeing perfect gems in retail jewelry stores however what many people don’t realize is that most jewelers sell artificial colored gems and advertise them as natural earth mined gems. Usually these ‘gems’ are colored glass or heat-treated quartz crystals.


Both the type of cut and the quality of the cut can drastically affect the value of the colored gems we use in our jewelry. Many precious gems are rarely cut in ways that involve drilling the gem. This is because whenever a gem is drilled, part of its carat weight is lost due to the drilling and as many gems are purchased by carat weight, reducing the carat weight is undesirable to gem dealers. Drilling the gem also poses a significant risk of cracking the gem and making it lose all value; again this makes it an undesirable option for many gem dealers and gem cutters. Due to this, it can be difficult to find colored gems in the cuts needed to make contemporary colored gem jewelry, thereby increasing the cost of this jewelry type.

The quality of the faceting or cut is an often overlooked factor when customers view precious gems. High quality faceting makes an enormous difference in the appearance of the gem, and the quality of the faceting can be particularly noticeable in colored gem beads. Often, colored gems are cut into beads by hand by unskilled workers and their faceting is uneven, making every bead a different shape and size. The actual facets often display rough edges rather than the sharp crisp edges of well cut gems. These flaws are sometimes hard to notice in person, but when inspected under a loupe they are apparent. The best faceting is usually done by machine as this produces clean, crisp facets and uniform sizes and shapes. Here at Biographie we hand select our gems for the quality of their cut, and our jewelry product photography shows each gem magnified so that the quality is easy for our customers to see. We purchase our colored gems from gem cutters using machine cutting techniques, and from highly skilled artisans who are able to hand cut their gems to a high level of quality.


As with Diamond value, the carat weight (size) of a gem has considerable impact on its value. As a general rule, larger gems have more value, however, a larger size in one gem may be many times what is considered large for another gem type. Some gems such as crystals can be found in enormous sizes, while gems such as Diamonds are typically sold in smaller sizes.

Generally, a large sized gem that has significant inclusions and flaws won’t be worth more than a smaller gem that is flawless.


Most colored gemstones have multiple color variations, which can vary from subtle variances in tone through to entirely different colors. Some colors of the same gemstone are particularly rare and valuable; one example of this is Paraiba blue Tourmaline which is significantly more valuable than most other Tourmaline colors.

When the color variance is a more subtle one, there tends to be a preferred color that holds more value than other shades. An example of this is Rubellite pink Tourmaline being many times more valuable than pink Tourmaline.

Buying Colored Gem Jewelry Online

If you’re searching for a piece of genuine colored gem jewelry, its important to purchase from an online jeweler who discloses not only the flaws of a gem, but also whether the gem is genuine.

All of the gems used in our colored gemstone jewelry are genuine gems and as such often have natural inclusions. We try to offer a large selection of colored gem jewelry in all price ranges, with everything from flawless gems at a higher price point, to those with a few inclusions at a lower price point. If you see a piece of jewelry with colored gems on our website but would like to have the same piece with a different clarity, just ask; we have an enormous stock of gemstones waiting to be made into handcrafted jewelry and can almost always make a piece of bespoke jewelry to your request.

Shop our exclusive collection of colored gem jewelry.