I’m making a video/blog post about common nomenclature for gem & jewellery qualities and would love some input/feedback. Before anyone points it out, yes, I know that none of these are gemological terms. This is for beginners who have so many terms thrown at them that they don’t know what to do.
Here is a very rough script (I usually ‘polish my scripts’ on the fly)
Paste/Costume Jewellery: Fake gems and base metals. Price point usually $1-$150 for new pieces, Swarovski is a good example of Costume jewellery, you can also see it at any department store while waiting in line to check out. Antique and vintage costume jewellery can sell for quite a bit of money, but you will have to learn about that elsewhere.
Fashion Quality: Usually natural gems and metals, usually silver or 10k gold can be both silver & gold, can be gold and other metals like titanium/tungstun etc., often contains synthetic side stones like CZ. This type of jewellery will compromise the majority of the stock that most beach tourist type jewellery stores or places like Zales in USA or People’s in Canada will stock and usually has a price point from about $15-$20 up to $700-$800. Some examples of fashion jewellery would be charms/charm bracelets, those trays of silver rings you see on the beach with either natural or synthetic gems and most freshwater pearl jewellery, Pandora is a great example of Fashion Jewellery (there are exceptions to all of these)
Commercial Quality: This is the bulk of jewellery on the that you will find in most independent jewellery stores in Canada & USA, gems should be natural. Metals generally from the noble group like Gold, Silver, Platinum. Something of note is that qualities of gems can move between these designations over time, for example, better commercial quality Colombian emeralds that were selling for $600-$800ct wholesale twenty years ago were considered ‘high commercial quality’ at the time and were generally selling for $1500-$2500ct retail. Many of those same emeralds today are now considered ‘fine’ and are selling for $3000-$4000ct today and what was ‘FINE’ twenty years ago for $2000ct wholesale around $3500-$4000ct retail is now $12000-$15000ct!)
‘Fine’ quality jewellery and gems: This is when we are getting to the cream of crop. Gold & Platinum only. The gems should be rare qualities. Price point starts at about $2000-$2500 with semi-precious gems like amethyst and garnets and the sky is the limit.
Gem/Gemmy quality gemstones: This term isn’t used for jewellery, but is often used to describe the best quality gemstones. Any gem that is referred to as ‘Gem Quality’ or ‘Gemmy’ should be one of the finest examples of the species. Price depends on the species, for example, a gem quality tourmaline is usually in the $600-$800ct range, where a ‘gem quality’ 5ct Colombian emerald starts at about $15,000ct
Museum Quality/Museum Grade:
For jewellery, Museum quality generally needs to be a piece signed by an important designer and is very rare or a one of a kind haute couture piece. It has very little to do with the price tag or metals used and generally needs to be ‘priceless’, especially for finished jewellery.
For gemstones, a gem should not only be one of the finest examples of the species as with ‘fine’ quality gems, it should be near irreplaceable due to size, quality or special phenomenon! Price for museum grade gemstones is often referred to as ‘off list’, as in ‘you make your price, because there is nothing to compare it to’ For example, nice bi-colour tourmaline is usually about $400-$600ct for fine qualities, but I have a 8.65ct stone priced at $1000ct. It may be expensive for a 8.65ct bi-colour tourmaline, but it’s so rare that I couldn’t replace it even for the full $1000ct because there is nothing in the market to replace it with. This is what we talk about when we speak of ‘priceless’ gems.
Thanks for watching… blah blah blah