Common Problems Associated When Selecting a Gemstone

Looking to purchase a gemstone? Want to make sure you purchase the best? Gemstones come available in a variety of designs and types to choose from. They offer beauty like no other and, when used in jewelry, can really complement your attire. When it comes to buying gemstones, the obvious advice would be to purchase from a respected gemstone company. However, if you don’t have this luxury, the following are some of the common problems associated with gemstones when looking to purchase one in jewelry or singularly.

Things to Watch Out For When Buying Gemstones

Visible Natural Flaws

Before purchasing your gemstones, it’s important to check each one for any natural visible flaws using a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe. Gemstones are susceptible to inclusions. Inclusions are structural irregularities or naturally formed tiny debris bits which are located within the gemstone. Inclusions may be seen as a bubble deep inside the stone, or a crack that may run right through it.

Although some may not be a major issue for buyers, up to 95 percent of them can lower the value of the gemstone. Most inclusions can add beauty to the stone; however, for many buyers, they’re an unwanted nuisance. If you find a gemstone which features an inclusion, it’s best to know more about it before making your final decision, especially if you’re looking to sell it at a later date. However, if you really like the look of the gemstone, you can always get a second opinion by taking the stone to a cutter, appraiser, or gemmological expert who can give you more information about your stone.

Surface Scratches and Blemishes

Scratches and blemishes on the gemstone’s surface area are another common problem that you may encounter. Generally, these aren’t desirable, and they mean the stone hasn’t been handled correctly during the cutting or transport. If you’ve purchased one that is scratched, try to return it for a different one that is more valuable to you.

It’s important to keep in mind that when a scratch occurs on the stone, to remove the scratch will change the cut, size, and shape of the stone significantly. This is because it needs to be re-cut around the scratched area and polished again. In cutting the scratched side, the other sides will then have to be recut to create a uniformed shape. If a gemstone dealer is trying to sell it to you, saying things such as “it will buff right out,” don’t believe them. It’s a little more complicated than that.

Windows and "Fish Eyes"

The windows of a gemstone are noticeable areas on the top surface or crown where light doesn’t reflect back within your eye. This means, essentially, you can see through the gemstone. This can be tested by placing the gemstone over dark writing on a piece of paper. If the letters can be seen, the gemstone has a window. In cases such as this, it means the stone wasn’t cut correctly when made, and that light passes right through without reflecting back to you. This causes the gemstone to lose its brilliance.

Another term for windows on stones is “fish eyes.” In mounted stones where you can’t do the paper test, the stone will appear with dark or black spots as you look at the pavilion. If you find a stone such as this in a ring or other jewelry piece, avoid it, as it’s not as valuable as it could be. 

Jewelry and Television Don't Mix

You may have seen the commercials on TV where they’re selling beautiful jewelry at a low price. They make you believe that this is a great deal, and that the stones are rare, real, and man-made for brilliance and beauty.

In reality, however, gemstones are either real or man-made, and not both. You’ll find, when purchasing these types of jewelry pieces from the TV, they won’t have the “wow” factor that real gemstone jewelers have to offer, leaving you disappointed with your purchase.

Some of the common problems that many TV gemstone buyers encountered were:

    • The gemstone was scratched or badly cut.

    • The color was darker or lighter than they hoped it would be.

    • The stone was a lot smaller than what was seen on the TV.

    • The stone wasn’t mounted correctly and it fell out of the jewelry.

In gemstone buying, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.


When it comes to buying a beautiful gemstone, it’s always best to inspect it first for any of the common problems associated with these lovely stones. Unless, of course, you’re buying them from a respected gemstone jeweler. By following these tips above, you can easily find the right gemstone with value to match its beauty. So, have you found the gemstone of your dreams yet?