Navigating the complex world of color can be an intimidating proposition. With so many varieties of stones to choose from, how can you make an informed choice?

Leber Jeweler Inc specializes in working with all types of colored gems, from the widely available to the truly exotic and rare. We have the necessary gemological training to critically evaluate colored stones, grading them and determining whether they have been artificially enhanced in a laboratory.

We are happy to share our knowledge and love for precious gems, describing the characteristics of any species, and explaining how and where the stones are extracted. We stock a wide array of loose colored stones that can be mounted in a unique setting, added to a gemological collection, or set in one of many award-winning designs.

Please contact us or stop in so that we may assist you in your search for a precious gemstone that will be truly one of a kind.

Critical Analysis of Colored Stones

The standards for grading colored stones are more complex and subjective than those for diamonds. The classic four C’s hold true, but they are applied differently for colored stones. In addition, there is a fifth C to consider.

Color The hue, tone, and saturation of a precious gemstone is the most important aesthetic factor in its grading — and in its value. A colored stone that possesses an ideal balance of color and light can be an excellent investment for a collector or anyone who enjoys wearing a truly precious gem.

Clarity The second most important aesthetic factor of the four C’s is clarity. In most cases, colored stones that are free of inclusions are more valuable than those with flaws. Stones should be examined for inclusions under 10x magnification, as well with the naked eye. Each species of colored stone has its own limit for the acceptable amount of inclusions. Topaz, for instance, should be clean to the eye, with very few inclusions even under magnification. The standard for emeralds, on the other hand, allows for visible inclusions. Colored stones without inclusions are very rare indeed.<

Cut As with diamonds, cut plays an important role in the grading of colored stones. In the hands of a skilled cutter, an exceptional piece of rough gem material can be transformed into a true wonder. Proper cutting focuses the gem’s natural characteristics into a finished work. Poor cutting, on the other hand, can highlight flaws in a stone’s character, such as dark or light colored bands within the stone.

Carat Colored stones, like diamonds, are measured in carats. A carat is equal to one-fifth of a gram.

Country of Origin In our complex world, we must consider the origins of every product we buy. With regards to colored gems, many of the world’s most coveted stones have their origins in some of the most politically troubled and frequently impoverished nations on the globe. It is a necessity to consider all those involved in procuring any gemstone, from the miners to the cutters, and to seek assurances that they are paid a living wage and are not subject to any abuses in violation of accepted human rights standards. It is also important to make certain that brutal dictatorships and other violent and repressive forces do not benefit from the sale of any gemstone one would consider purchasing.

Treatments and Enhancements

Most colored gemstones are enhanced to improve their beauty or durability. These enhancements may intensify the color of a stone, mask flaws, or improve clarity.

Heating gemstones to improve clarity and color has been an accepted practice for many generations. In fact, most sapphires, rubies, and aquamarines have been enhanced through heating.

Enhancements are usually permanent, but not always. Some types of enhancements, such as filling gems with oils to mask flaws or dyeing stones, may be reversible if a stone is subjected to certain conditions. Beryllium diffusion is another non-permanent treatment done to many sapphires. While we will not sell diffused or artificially colored gems, these types of treated stones appear quite frequently, especially from online vendors.

At Leber Jeweler Inc, we have analyzed emeralds purchased in the Caribbean or overseas that were dyed significantly. In these cases, unscrupulous businesses dyed virtually colorless beryls (emeralds) a deep green and sold them as premium Colombian emeralds.

Consumers should be aware of the potential pitfalls of enhanced gems. The best recourse is to consult a trained gemologist before purchasing any colored stone.