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    For thousands of years man has fashioned uncut gem specimens into faceted and cabochon shapes, experimenting with cutting techniques, learning to enhance the play of light across their surfaces, to coax brilliance or fire from deep within. This art of cutting is the lapidary's craft.

    What you should know.
    (Information provided in cooperation with American Gem Trade Association.)

    Most people have appreciated the beautiful world of colored gemstones from afar, unaware of how these splendid works of nature could become part of their life. Now, more people are discovering the vast array of unusual gems available for use in jewelry and for collecting, and the exciting opportunities these stones represent.

    Fine gemstones of natural origin have been valued for centuries as desirable and beautiful objects. Gemstones offer a never-ending world of beauty, rarity, romance, and mysticism that only nature can create. In addition, the variety of shapes and colors available in natural gemstones opens an infinite range of fashion statements for you. And how satisfying it is to know that the beautiful, enduring gem you own may very well become a family heirloom.

    Discover the vast array of natural colored gems found in jewelry today.

    Express yourself by wearing captivating jewelry set with beautiful colored gemstones.

    What is a gemstone?
    In order to be classified as a gemstone, a naturally occurring mineral (garnet) or organic material (pearl) must possess beauty, rarity, a reasonable degree of durability, and value.

    Materials as diverse as sapphire, coral, and opal are all considered gemstones.

    What are Fashionable Cuts and Styles?
    Gemstones are available in a wondrous array of cuts, shapes, and styles thanks to the endeavors of creative lapidary artists. Traditional shapes include round, oval, pear, marquise, and emerald cuts. Other popular styles of colored gemstones include the versatile cabochon (rounded, non-faceted forms) and fancy cuts (sculpted gemstones) which offer incredible diversity and unique shapes.

    How Is Value Determined?
    The value of a gemstone is determined by a combination of its color, clarity, cut and rarity. While clarity and cut affect the overall value of a gem, color has the greatest impact on the quality. Generally, the purest and most vibrant color possible in any given colored gemstone is the rarest and most valuable.

    Ben Bridge Jewelers can advise you as to which colors in a particular gem are the most rare. However, the color you prefer may not necessarily be the most expensive. Keep in mind that the size of a gemstone is of less importance than its overall quality and beauty.

    Which Gemstone Is The Best To Buy?
    The most important consideration when selecting a gemstone is that it is a stone you will enjoy. You should choose a stone that fits your lifestyle and possesses a color you find attractive. Whatever gemstone you choose, you will want to buy the best quality you can afford.

    Where Are Gemstones Found?
    Gemstones are mined in many countries throughout the world. Most gem materials are minerals which form in the earth when elements combine with heat and/or pressure to develop crystals. Only a very small percentage of these natural crystals are fine enough to be considered gemstones. Some gems, such as pearl and amber, form through the activity of a living animal or plant. One thing is certain, all natural gemstones are a true miracle of nature.

    Where Should You Buy Colored Gemstones?
    Consult a reputable jeweler, such as Ben Bridge Jewelers, whom you know and trust. If you don't know one, it is wise to obtain referrals from friends. Check the qualifications of a jeweler carefully before you make a purchase. Also be realistic. There are very few "bargains" and you usually get what you pay for.

    Color Variations
    Gemstones offer a wide variety of color choices.

    • Single Color
      Some gemstones are found in only one color, with variations within that one color - for example ruby occurs in red, with slight variations of color.
    • Various Colors
      Other gemstones occur in more than one color - for example garnets are found in red, pink, purple, orange, yellow, and green.
    • Multi-color
      Yet other gems may contain more than one color in one stone - tourmaline can exhibit two (bi-color) or three (tri-color) different hues in a single gemstone. Opal often displays a rainbow of colors in a single gem.

    Gemstone Colors
    The following list gives you an idea of the diverse colors, or hues, found among a number of different gemstones. Consider this sampling of gemstones available within each color range.

    • Red: Ruby, Garnet (including Almandite and Rhodolite), Tourmaline, Spinel, Red Beryl
    • Pink: Tourmaline, Spinel, Sapphire, Kunzite, Morganite, Topaz, Garnet (Rhodolite), Pearl, Opal
    • Purple: Amethyst, Sapphire, Tanzanite, Spinel, Iolite, Garnet (Almandite)
    • Blue: Sapphire, Tanzanite, Tourmaline, Iolite, Spinel, Aquamarine, Topaz, Zircon, Chalcedony
    • Green: Emerald, Garnet (Tsavorite), Tourmaline, Peridot, Green Beryl, Sapphire, Andalusite, Jade (Jadeite and Nephrite)
    • Yellow and Orange: Citrine, Golden Beryl, Sapphire, Topaz, Tourmaline, Fire Opal, Diamond, Zircon, Garnet (Spessartite, Malaia, Hessonite)
    • Brown: Smoky Quartz, Tourmaline, Andalusite, Topaz
    • White: Pearl, Moonstone, Jade (Jadeite and Nephrite), Chalcedony
    • Colorless: Diamond, Zircon, Sapphire, Quartz, Beryl, Topaz, Moonstone

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    For five generations, Ben Bridge has been committed to offering the finest jewelry and unsurpassed personal service at the best value.

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