Newsletter -  October 31, 2012

The Jewelry Crafter

A newsletter for the home jeweler

This newsletter will be published once per month, and will include hints and tips for your jewelry business.  Any feedback or comments about the topics presented here are always appreciated.  Click here to e-mail us.

If you have an idea for an upcoming article, or would like to submit an article for the newsletter, please contact us.  Anyone who submits an article will receive a permanent link to their website  in a special section of our link pages.

Custom Jewelry Supply is having a Tool Sale!

All in-stock wire working and beading tools are now 30-40% off regular price!

We are closing out our entire stock of EuroTool tools, including pliers, cutters, mandrels, gauges, tool pouches and bags,  beading tools and more.  These tools are overstocks, discontinued or old stock that we need to move.

Stop by our online store and check out the Closeout section for all the great deals on all of our quality hand tools.

Sale is limited to stock on hand - when they're gone, they're gone.   Discounts automatically applied - no coupons necessary.  And don't  forget - all orders over $75 ship FREE.


Gemstone Clarity Explained

by Mary Harvey

You want to buy some gemstones, but how do you know what you are getting?  A lot of gemstone sellers use a grading system  to classify their gemstones.  Listed below are the types and grades of gemstones to help you understand the terminology of gemstone clarity.

Gems are usually graded by a type (1,2,or 3) and by clarity (VVS, VS, SI, etc.).  Below are the grading criteria used by the Gemological Institute of America for colored gems:

  • Type 1 gemstones are are stones that are usually free of inclusions.  They include gems in the quartz family, like amethyst and citrine, topaz, zircon, and beryls, like aquamarine.
  • Clarity in the type 1 group are classified as VVS (minute to detectable), VS (minor), SI1 (noticeable),  SI2 (obvious) or I (included) 

  • Type 2 gemstones include garnet, iolite, alexandrite, ruby, sapphire, or peridot.
  • Clarity in the type 2 group is classified as VVS (minor), VS (noticeable), SI1 (obvious), SI2 (prominent), or I (prominent, affecting appearance)

  • Type 3 gemstones are stones that are almost always included.  These include emerald and red tourmaline.
  • Clarity in the type 3 group is classified as VVS (noticeable), VS (Obvious), SI1 (prominent), SI2 (more prominent), or I1 (affecting appearance or durability)

For example, if you are looking at a stone that is VVS type 2, that means that it is a type 2 stone which has minute inclusions that may be visible only under 10x magnification.  On the other hand, A VS type 3 has inclusions that are easily visible to the naked eye.

Some sellers may use simpler terms to describe the clarity of their gemstones.  For example:

  • Clean - no inclusions visible under 10x magnification
  • Eye-clean - inclusions not visible to the naked eye
  • VVS, VS, or  SI - Inclusions visible to the naked eye, but still a beautiful gem
  • included - numerous inclusions that affect the beauty of the gem

Knowing this terminology will help you in making an informed decision when buying colored gemstones. There are several great books on gemstones and gemstone buying on the market.  For more information, check out Gemstones of the World by Walter Schumann, and Jewelry and Gems, the Buying Guide by Matlins and Bonano.  Both of these books are a great resource for learning about gemstones.