It has been said that gemstones are “half enjoyment, half investment.” Most people are fascinated by the beauty of a gemstone when they purchase it. Not many people buy gemstones merely thinking of investing in their asset value-in such a case, gemstones would not be recommended. The value of these gifts not nature is first appreciated when they are worn and enjoyed. Around the year 1990, Japan purchased about one-third of the world’s gemstones, whereas in the 1960s the United States purchased about two-thirds or more. Since ancient times, gemstones have come to people and nations during periods of economic boom, and it is advantageous to dorm a clear understanding of quality and to buy the finest one can when given the chance.

In the long run, even the price paid for a gemstone that is purchased solely for enjoyment will rise if it a high-quality item. However, if someone plans to buy and quickly sell a gemstone in order to make a profit, they will be disappointed. There is no way they will make money, since it is difficult even for professional gemstone dealers. There are stores that guarantee to buy back merchandise at the purchase price, but this is just another marketing technique used by fast-talking retailers to gain the trust of the consumer ling enough to make a sale. During times of crises or high inflation, there are many businesses that will buy gems. The Japanese economy happened to perform well during the 1980s, with lower inflation than dollar-based economics. Selling was consequently difficult, because prices were lower than on the international market.

So what, then, would be best to buy? There are numerous styles and variations of jewelry available, but they all can be categorized into five basic groups. As shown on the next page, there are rings, brooches and pins, earrings, and pendants and necklaces, as well as bracelets. The basic ring types are main-stone rings and band rings. The main-stone ring will emphasize the gem the most, so careful attention to quality is particularly important. Since the gemstones in brooches, earrings, and necklaces are seen by others from a distance and not by the wearer when they are worn, quality is not as noticeable as in rings, which are constantly in one’s sight. Based on the principle that the beauty of the main stone is the focus of an exquisite ring, it should be of a quality that the wearer can feel satisfied with. The impression of a beautiful sparkling diamond floating on a woman’s finger is the idea behind the diamond solitaire ring, and this archetypal main-stone ring illustrates the appeal of simplicity. Simple designs are best for jewelry that one plans to wear and enjoy for a ling time.

Band-type rings are suited for wearing on a daily basis. These rings wrap around the finger like a belt, and the easiest to wear have gemstones set in about one-third to one-half the circumference of the ring. Of course, some may have gemstones set around the whole ring. The band-type ring on the next page is set with small rubies, all gem-quality in color. Several small diamonds and colored stones may appear to be casually set here, but matching the brilliance of diamonds and the hues of colored stones is surprisingly difficult. Though the two may be worn together, there is a tendency to wear main-stone rings for formal occasions and band-type rings for daily use.

Brooches are worn over clothing, unlike rings, earrings, pendants, and bracelets, which are worn directly on the skin. Because of this, it is important to match a brooch to the material and color of the garnet. Brooches and pendant heads are suitable as gifts because they do not require resizing, but rings are the gifts most often exchanged between intimate acquaintances. This is supported by the fact that over half of the total shipments in the jewelry trade consist of rings. Demand for earrings is substantial, but the fact that they can easily be dropped is a negative factor. As a general reference, the price for earrings is about one-half that or rings.

What to look for when buying individual gemstones was covered in Chapter 1, but I would like to briefly touch upon gemstone quality and jewelry types here. First, you will quickly tire of accessory qualities, so these should probably not even be considered except as a way to introduce younger people to jewelry. After all, jewelry should be something that can be worn again and again over a ling period of time. For rings, choose gem quality or jewelry quality on a case-by-case basis. Gem qualities are especially recommended for main-stone type rings of amethyst, rhodolite, and other relatively inexpensive stones. There merit will become more apparent after looking at them over and over again, captivating you with their beauty and hopefully cultivating a taste for gem qualities. It may be necessary to choose jewelry qualities of precious gems such as emerald and ruby in order to ensure a large stone, but first conduct extensive research, seek the advice of a knowledgeable salesperson, and choose a beautiful stone. In pieces other than rings, it may be wise to use jewelry quality as a reference in choosing. However, even within gem qualities, manufacturers may use beautifully sparkling diamonds with inclusions that are not visible to the unaided eye in order to keep prices low, and choosing a design you like from among such pieces is also a smart way to buy. It is best to compare a few favorite pieces at a trustworthy store, using the degree of attractiveness as the key in making a decision.