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Gemstone Buying Guide

Buying luxury gemstone jewellery can at first seem daunting, but when buying through a trusted and experienced manufacturer like W Hamond, you can feel confident knowing each gemstone is carefully assessed and graded before adorning our stunning jewellery. 

With 150 years’ experience designing and handcrafting exquisite gemstone jewellery, W Hamond has learnt a thing or two about the different characteristics and properties of gemstones. We have become renown across the country for being the UK’s leading supplier of Whitby Jet and Blue John jewellery, two unique gemstones that are highly coveted for their rare and beautiful appeal. 

Before you begin exploring our stunning collections of fine jewellery, learn everything you need to know about precious and semi-precious gemstones with our helpful gemstone buying guide. Let us give you both the knowledge and confidence to buy gemstone jewellery of only the highest quality. 

The 4 C’s of Gemstones

The 4 C’s are incredibly important when it comes to deciding which style of gemstone is right for you. Each of the 4 C’s affects a gemstone’s quality and value, therefore it is extremely important to consider each of these factors when purchasing gemstone jewellery.  

The 4 C’s include: cut, colour, clarity and carat weight.  

A gemstone’s cut relates to the overall shape of the gemstone when it has been cut and faceted. The fire and brilliance of a gemstone depends heavily on its cut and may be affected by the shape of the stone. Brilliant cut gemstones are one of the most popular cuts, especially in diamonds and engagement rings and is believed to be the ideal shape for a gemstone. Its increase in facets minimizes the amount of light that escapes from the bottom of the stone and consequently emits the most brilliance (or sparkle). Other gemstone cuts include princess cut, emerald cut, radiant cut, asscher cut, oval cut, pear cut, marquise cut and heart cut. 

The colour of a gemstone is also extremely important. If you were looking to purchase sapphire jewellery for example, the colour of the sapphire is what immediately captures your attention. A high-quality sapphire will have a bright and intense blue colour while low quality examples have dull, colourless almost grey tones. 

The clarity of a gemstone refers to the amount and size of any surface blemishes, inclusions and other internal imperfections on the stone. Almost every gemstone has some evidence of inclusions but those with smaller and fewer flaws are valued higher than those with more. 

Finally, carat weight is the unit of weight by which a diamond or gemstone is measured. It is important to note that carat weight does not always reflect the size of a gemstone, so some stones may appear bigger but weigh less. It is also worth conceding on size over quality to ensure you can get the best quality gemstone for your budget.

Precious Gemstones

Examples of Precious Gemstones: Emeralds, Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires 

There are not many differences between precious and semi-precious gemstones since the terms were only constructed to seperate emerald, ruby, sapphire and diamond from other stones. It was during the 1800’s when these terms first came into play in order to designate the four stones as being more valuable, popular and beautiful than other gemstones during this time. Precious gemstones are considered rarer and more valuable than other variations and have often been held in high regard since ancient times. They are typically pure in colour and have limited supplies.

Semi-precious Gemstones

Examples of semi-precious gemstones: Blue John, Amethyst, Opal, Garnet, Tanzanite, Morganite, Turquoise 

Many semi-precious gemstones are also considered precious, since they are just as rare and valuable as diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Nevertheless, most semi-precious gemstones are found to be slightly more affordable while still boasting fantastic colours and exceptional clarity. 

Organic Gemstones 

Examples of organic gemstones: Pearl, Whitby Jet, Amber, Coral 

Organic gemstones are those that have formed from living organisms like plants and animals. Pearls, for example, are found within the mouths of oysters and other molluscs while Whitby Jet is formed from fossilised wood over millions of years. Just as rare and valuable as diamonds and rubies, organic gemstones like Pearl, Amber and Whitby Jet make fantastic adornments to fine jewellery designs. 


If you’re struggling for birthday gift ideas, then birthstone jewellery is a truly unique and memorable way to celebrate the occasion. It is believed that birthstones originate back to the breastplate of Aaron referenced in the Hebrew Bible which contains twelve gemstones to represent the twelve different tribes of Israel. 

The gift of precious gemstone jewellery is remarkable as it is, but when you correlate the jewellery with the receiver’s birthday month then it makes it even more special.  You can find all the months below with their birthstone counterparts.  

January: Garnet

February: Amethyst

March: Aquamarine

April: Diamond

May: Emerald

June: Pearl

July: Ruby

August: Peridot

September: Sapphire

October: Opal


December: Tanzanite

W Hamond Jewellery

Discover the finest selection of gemstone jewellery at W Hamond including gemstone engagement rings, wedding rings, eternity rings, ruby earrings, sapphire necklaces and emerald bracelets, each with an incredible choice of cuts to choose from. 

Contact our dedicated and talented team of gemstone experts today on 01947 603330 or by email at info@whamond.com for help and advice selecting your perfect piece of gemstone jewellery.