Have you wondered what defines a jewel, how it’s value is determined, and how processing it can aid in the value?
The dictionary defines jewel as a precious stone, that has been cut and polished. It is like a gem, but while gems are stones that are precious or semi-precious, jewel is defined as precious alone.
Known as the “four C’s” a jewel is graded by it’s Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat. In this, it is graded by the rarity of it’s features, so a jewel with less common features is of a higher value. The value of one jewel compared to another, rests not in it’s being of higher quality because it serves it’s purpose better, but rather because it’s more rare.
Three factors describe the color: hue, saturation, and tone. Hue is basically the gradation or variety of color in the stone: red, blue, green, etc. White, black, and gray have no hue. Saturation is the degree of admixture with white (or grays) in the jewel, which affects the purity of the color. White itself has no saturation, so 100% saturation means there would be no gray/white in the jewel. However, nature does not create 100% saturation, so every jewel contains some. Those with the higher saturation (less gray, creating purer color) are of greater value. Tone is used to indicate the the intensity of the color.
Clarity is defined by “inclusions”. Inclusions are, loosely, anything that could interfere with the travel of light as it passes through a jewel. It can be a pocket of gas or liquid, or a fracture, enclosed within the jewel. These are quite natural, but the less there are, the higher the quality.
Carat is the measure of weight of in gemstones. Generally, larger stones are rarer (and weigh more), so the higher the carat, the more valuable the jewel.
The cut is dependent on the workmanship of the lapidary. The cleaner the cuts, the style of cuts, and the level of polish all affect the end value of the jewel. Properly processing it at this point can aid in the value.