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The Best Value in Gemstones

We’re often asked “Which gem offers me the most value?” There’s no easy answer to that question since gemstones and their corresponding market constantly fluctuate. One thing is for sure: the values of gems go up generally, not down. According to one service that tracked gemstone prices for the last 3 years, prices have risen an average of 20% since  2005. Those that have risen the fastest?  Tanzanite and Burmese ruby.

If you were to rate a good gemstone based on superior hardness (greater than 7 on the Mohs scale), durability, good transparency and clarity and depth of color, here’s what one expert considered the best value (or bang for your buck).



Pros: hardness of 9; no cleavage; high refractive index (so excellent brilliance); good dispersion (fire); good choice of colors though blue is the perennial favorite.
Cons: usually heat treated
Price range: $300-$600+ per carat for heated sapphire; $1000+ per carat for unheated sapphire

Spessartite Garnet

Pros: hardness of 7.5; indistinct cleavage; very high refractive index (higher even than sapphire); always untreated
Cons: available only in yellow-orange to orange-red
Price range: $75-$150+ per carat


Pros: hardness of 8; indistinct cleavage; high refractive index; very good fire; wide choice of colors; always untreated
Cons: can be difficult to find, especially in larger sizes
Price range: $50-$400+ per carat, depending on size


Pros: hardness of 7 to 7.5; indistinct cleavage; good brilliance and fire; amazing choice of colors; affordable in large sizes; usually untreated
Cons: stones tend to be highly pleochroic or multicolored
Price range: $25-$150+ per carat, depending on size; paraiba tourmaline $300 to $1000+ per carat


Price ranges are approximate.