Evidence of the gemstone trade dates back seven thousand years, but it is only since medieval times that trade in gems became organized and secretive.
Secrets of the trade were passed on from generation to generation and are still evident today. It was essential for merchants to guard the source of their precious finds as a matter of self preservation. Today, the gemstone trade is a closed fraternity based on high levels of trust between members.
TRUST is the cornerstone of the professional jewellery and precious stone business. As a gem buyer, I depend on honest information from trusted dealers with a gemological background. But in a world of enticing colours and glitter, the paths are fraught with deception and misrepresentation.
Just as in any other field, human ingenuity has entered the realm of gemstone enhancement, by artificially improving the appearance of the natural crystal. Heating and or irradiating certain stones to saturate the colour may increase their values, while an untreated naturally beautiful sapphire or aquamarine will be traded at a premium. Industry standards mandate full disclosure of any enhancement a stone has been subjected to. This transparency is vital to the trade, from the gem dealer down to the client adoring an original piece created with precious gems.
Gemstones, in particular coloured gemstones, also boast the attribution of rarity and healing power.
Precious stones are graded for value by a set of criteria known as the 4C’s: CUT - COLOUR - CLARITY - CARAT. One could arguably add the characteristic of rarity to this formula.