How to recognise quality jewellery

What determines quality in jewellery and how can you tell if a piece is of good quality?

Our top tips

Ask questions: Where did the jewel originate from? How was it treated?

Don’t assume that the big names have the best jewellery or gemstones. They also build extra cost into their prices such as high-end rent and advertising.

We have summarised below the most important aspects to look out for when buying gemstone jewellery.

Treated versus untreated

Gemstones are often treated with heat or radiation to enhance or change the colour. An untreated stone is worth more than a treated stone, as a general rule.

Stones like Emeralds are brittle and often have tiny fissures. Using oil makes these fissures less visible. Therefore a stone without fissures or with no oil is more valuable than one that oil has been used on.

What makes a quality gemstone?


Colour: as a general rule, the more intense the colour the more valuable the jewel.

Clarity: you don't want to see inclusions or scratches or fine cracks with bare eyes, and even better under a loupe.

Size: the bigger the more valuable. There are fewer large stones than small ones.

Cut: a good cut is symmetric and follows the natural form of the stone. Its purpose is to enhance the gemstones look, make it sparkle.

Origin of a gemstone

You might want to consider if stones are ethically mined and legally sourced. For example, we wouldn't use diamonds that come from war zones.

These days, stones are grown in laboratories - man made artificial stones that are cheaper but lack what natural gemstones offer. You will want the real thing!

Metals in jewellery

There are a number of metals used in chains and to set jewels. Silver and gold - white, yellow and rose gold - are popular. Others like platinum are less often used due to cost and ability to shape them. Silver is a good entry-level metal and quite durable. Gold is a harder metal and is much more resistant to tarnish and therefore requires less cleaning and polishing.

You will want good workmanship – meaning the gemstones are secured in a well-made setting.

A note on price

Price does not equal quality. Rarity and demand influence the price of a gemstone. Some gems are rarer than others. There are gemstones that have a single source (like Tanzanite) or only a few sources. That makes them rarer and if sought after pushes up their price.

OUR TIP: While ensuring quality, ultimately, you should purchase the gem that’s best for you personally.

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