emerald necklace

A 2021 guide to understanding precious stones: sapphires, rubies and emeralds

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Emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are traditionally known as precious gems. This distinction between these jewels and other semi-precious gems reflects their long-held reputation as elegant and sophisticated jewelry choices, and our diamond experts will further explain.

There are several things you need to consider when purchasing these items. You need to pay particular attention to their grading – done by clarity, size, color, shape, and source. The system for these jewels is slightly different than the famous system used for diamonds. While the white gems are graded on a strict scale (the 4 Cs), emeralds, sapphires, and rubies are graded by eye. This requires both the buyer and the seller to be informed about what makes a quality stone.

The most important factor when choosing any of these three gemstones will often come down to color. This is a personal preference but usually the deeper the saturation, the higher the value of the stone. For example, one current trend, perhaps inspired by the future Queen of England, Catherine Middleton, is to use bright blue sapphires for engagement rings.


If you have your heart set on a blue sapphire, then there are a number of shapes and styles which may catch your attention. The cut is very important for sapphires, as the depth and style can affect the color of the stone itself, as well as the style of the jewelry. A brilliant-cut stone, for example, will have the effect of slimming the finger due to its elongated teardrop shape.

When it comes to color and clarity, there are also a lot of options out there. The deep royal blue Ceylon sapphires are highly coveted, while Australian blue sapphires also offer glorious saturation – just at a cheaper price. The source of the sapphires will also affect their value massively – for example, the most expensive sapphires will be those from Kashmir, Burma and Sri Lanka due to their famed bright blue color. For a more unique stone, there are also popular pink varieties of sapphire, or rarer varieties which have a peach tone.


Rubies are another vibrant and brilliant color choice if you’re searching for the perfect precious gem. The deeper the color, the greater the value as a general rule, but rubies also find value where there are small inclusions in the stone that create the illusion of stars in their tiny glimmers. It’s very important to have guarantees of quality and origin when purchasing a ruby – more and more of these stones are being created in the laboratory.

Just as with any other stone, there are particular varieties of ruby which are especially sought after. For example, Myanmar’s “pigeon blood red” stones are in high demand, which means those looking to buy them need to be aware of imitations.


Bright green, forest green, and deep green emeralds are all excellent choices for jewelry and have been increasing in popularity in recent years. They will often have inclusions within the stones and this is an accepted fact which does not significantly affect their value within the trade. They are often treated with an oil or coating to reduce the visibility of these tiny flaws.

The most commonly used cut for emerald stones is, unsurprisingly, the emerald cut. This particular style refers to a stone cut with four different sides, each of which has rectangular facets which are cut to help create stunning visual depths within the stone.

Precious stones for everyday wear

All three of these gems have increased in popularity for everyday wear as they are both beautiful and durable. For example, a sapphire has a rating of 9 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. This means if you buy a quality gem it should remain polished and beautiful for the lifetime of your jewelry. Rubies are also known to be resilient – though not as hard as diamonds – and can be worn regularly.

Sell or loan precious stones today

Whether you’re looking to sell or loan precious stones, Pawnbrokers Rodeo Drive will be able to find a price which works for you. We base all of our offers upon current market value and take into account a variety of different factors when making our valuation to ensure you’re getting the best deal. We’ll look into manufacturer, material, weight, quality of stone, and where the stone is from, to give you a comprehensive valuation of your precious stones. Why not get in touch with our friendly Beverly Hills pawnbroking team for more information? We’ll be happy to tell you more about the services we provide to our satisfied customers.