Why Collect Gemstones?

Notice: All text and images herein are copyright protected and all rights reserved!

The quick answer is "why not?" but let's be a little less flippant. Most people love the color, the variety, the brilliance, the flash, the lore of gemstones. Gems permeate our history -- the lapis lazuli and turquoise treasures of the Egyptian pharaohs, the jades of ancient China, turquoise of the Native Americans, the rubies, emeralds, and sapphires of India and Southeast Asia. The ancient lapis lazuli mines of Afghanistan have been mined continuously for 7000 years! Every royal family has its treasured gems and jewels, and most families of lesser means have their own precious heirlooms. Our museums have vast collections of uncut gem materials, loose gemstones, and precious metal jewelry set with marvelous polish, faceted, and carved gems. Over the past century, we've all been taught that "diamonds are forever" and learned about birthstones. Jesus told the parable of the pearl of great price. Husbands and wives traditionally exchange gifts of precious stone jewelry. We carry gems as lucky stones and amulets. When we graduate from high school or college, our school rings usually contain a gemstone or imitation. Some think that gemstones contain special healing powers. For whatever reason, most of us are attracted to gems, and they will always be a part of our lives.

Some years ago, I exhibited loose gems that I had cut at craft shows. Just loose stones, no jewelry, no settings. One of the questions I heard most often was "what do you do with loose gems?" I've never understood that question. What do you do with postage stamps? Or coins? Or sculpture? Or photographs? Or salt and pepper shakers? Most of the same people who asked that question owned collections of some thing or another, but it somehow never occurred to them that one could collect gemstones in the same way.

Just like other collectibles, gems sometimes appreciate in value and may be sold for a profit. However, most collectors are loath to part with their prized collections -- gems, stamps, coins, whatever -- and prefer to keep them for their entertainment, educational, and aesthetic value. If they happen to make some money off their hobby, great! If not, they have the pleasure of building and maintaining a unique collection of interesting items.

Although gems are frequently used in jewelry, they are perfectly good collectibles in their own right. In fact, there are many attractive and interesting gems that are too fragile or too large to be used in jewelry. Here's a suggestion -- don't think of a gem as a component of jewelry; think of it as a piece of art, a miniature sculpture to be treasured for its unusual nature and for the craftsmanship of the artisan who shaped it.

If you'd like a look at the variety of gems that can contribute to an interesting and varied collection, take a look at the possibilities.

How does one get started collecting gems? Doesn't it require a lot of money? Well, not necessarily. Many interesting stones are available at relatively low cost, and there are many different types of collections that are possible -- collections of rare stones, collections of different colors of one stone (such as different colors of garnet, beryl, quartz, or tourmaline), collections of different cuts (round brilliant, oval, emerald cut, pear, etc., etc.), collections of stones from different localities, and so on. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

To help you get started with a collection of fine quality gemstones, we offer finished gemstones as well as fine custom cutting to create one-of-a-kind collectibles or to spiff up and add zest to an existing collection. Take a look!

[ [Back to Gemology Pages] [Tradeshop Inc.]