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Frequently Asked Gemstone Questions


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3. What Makes Gemstones so Valuable?

What Makes a Gemstone So Valuable?
When one asks why genuine natural gemstones are so expensive, it is usually by way of comparison with synthetic stones, and other cheap man made imitations which are produced by the ton in factories. Imitations are never rare and therefore can never hold any significant value - more can always be made as needed. Natural gemstones are both beautiful and rare - they exist only where mother nature put them and cannot be mass produced on demand. Their beauty puts them in demand, and their limited numbers together with the demand and high cost of mining makes their prices high. For all valuable stones some form of imitation or synthetic exists, but the special feeling of owning a rare and fully natural gem far outweighs the benefits of cheap "costume" type jewelry made of imitation or synthetic stones.

The small size of most gemstone deposits and the primitive nature of gemstone mining make the supply of gems "inelastic". That is, no matter how rapidly demand may develop, the rate at which gems are produced is comparatively limited or fixed. There is a certain increase in production due to demand, but the response is slow and depends on the discovery of new deposits which may or may not occur. Some deposits are marginal producers that are not profitable to mine unless gemstone prices rise substantially. Gemstone mines are also subject to the whims of weather, such as rainy and dry seasons, and local politics. All these factors combined suggest continued rising prices for gems in the years ahead, as demand increases, localities are exhausted and geopolitical factors interrupt the tenuous supply chain from the miner to the consumer.


What Are The Costs Of Turning Rough Into Gems?
The most difficult part of my business is acquiring high quality gemstone "rough". It is always in short supply due to its very nature. Through of my travels and personal contacts, I do acquire sufficient quantities to keep my business going. The next step, the "gem processing" is the most critical. This is the process of transforming the "rough" gem materials into the cut and polished gems. There is no question that this takes great skill and experience. The costs associated with gem processing are not cheap, and are a significant part of the cost of gemstones. Although I do much of the initial work myself, most of my gemstones are finished by Sri Lankan cutters based in Dehiwala who produce high quality work - I have worked with them for many years.

I want to see more about how Gemstones are cut and polished.

I have a whole web page devoted to the process of cutting and polishing gemstones by the method known as faceting. Learn about the process from gem rough to finished jewelry by checking out our faceting web page: FACETING AND POLISHING PAGE HERE



Nevada Outback Gems

Find out more by checking out all of our links below:
Our Free Colored Gemstone Information Encyclopedia Amethyst and Citrine info Aquamarine information
What Really Is A Gemstone? Apatite information Chrysoberyl information
How are Gemstones Mined? Diamond information Emerald information
What About a Gemstone Makes it so Valuable? Garnet information Morganite information
What About Investing in Gemstones? Opal information Peridot information
Nevada Outback Library and Bookstore - Learn more! Ruby information Sapphire information
The Rockhound's Corner for Gem Hunting Spinel information Oregon Sunstone info
Take a virtual tour of our Nevada Turquoise mines Tanzanite information Topaz information
Rare Crystals and Gemstone Rough, including Turquoise Tourmaline information Tsavorite information
Natural Gold Nugget Photos: Big Nuggets, Crystal Gold Turquoise information Zircon information
Chris' Gold Prospecting Encyclopedia Nevada Outback Gems Homepage Nevada Outback Gems Site Map