Rarest Engagement Gems

Padparadscha Sapphire, GIA Certified, Natural GIA Certified Diamonds, 18k

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Pink Topaz, to be mounted. No treatment, very rare. Most topaz is irradiated to get this color. Ready to mount. Brazil.

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Teaberry Pink (also known as Imperial Pink) Malaya Garnet. Very Rare, ready to mount. One of the rarest garnets on earth. Hard enough for everyday wear. Perfect engagement gem. Rough Malaya garnet may no longer be legally removed from East Africa.

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Considered the finest example of Russian, dichroic Rubellite. This super rare tourmaline is not the standard red or pink and comes with an information sheet explaining just how rare this gem is and why it is so dazzling and beautiful,) This mega-Rare, flawless, tourmaline is one of the rarest in the world. This flawless, master-cut gem is known as “The Tigress,” and it is as exotic as its namesake, the tiger. Shown here in shade it is even more dazzling in sunlight. An engagement gem for the wild child.

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This neon-pink Mozambique Rubellite, though large at 7 carats, is stunning and would make any girl happy mounted in platinum with a couple of accent diamonds. A dead ringer for ruby this is natural, earth mined, Rubellite tourmaline.

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Over 50,000 times more rare than sapphire; this blue spinel is from one of the rarest locations and most desirable, Madagascar. Usually over 3500.00 per carat for true Madagascan, blue spinel (untreated), you’ll be pleased with the price. About as hard as sapphire it will stand up to daily wear. Royal Blue!

Old Virginia Gem Co.

Contracting Your Own Jewelry Saves $$$$

Choosing and Buying Your Dream Gem

 One of the biggest ways jewelry stores make money is buying gems from a wholesale broker and then marking them up double or more. 

If the average gem changes hands 9 times before it reaches the, jeweler when is the stone best obtained? 

Answer: As close to the mine as possible, before it changes hands more than 3 times.

Each time a hand touches your gem the price goes up. It starts with a miner who discovers the gem. The supervisor of the miner sometimes gets a bonus along with the miner when a gem of value is found. For a very valuable gem the miner gives a small percentage to everyone on the crew which encourages the miners to not smuggle out the stone and sell it on the black market. The other crew members are more apt to turn in a fellow miner if they know they will be losing their bonus for being a member of the discovery team. But, mine workers still smuggle out stones which we do not encourage.

Then comes the “true broker,” who buys the gem(s) from the mine owner. The true broker markets the rough, uncut gem to a “buyer,” who takes a group of “rough,” gems to a cutter for grading/cut and then sells the stone(s) to another “wholesale,” broker as cut gem(s).

Either the stone continues changing hands (which usually happens,)or the buyer having paid for the cutting of the stones sells to yet another broker who markets the stones to either an American broker or a flipper who sells the stone to a jeweler or the general public. Sometimes a stone gets flipped multiple times at this point with the price of the gem soaring ever higher.

The average gem changes hands 9 times before reaching a jeweler or flipper and then you. Each hand it touches causes the price of the gem to rise. The way to get quality gems at true wholesale pricing means having a broker who deals with miners, cutters and a true wholesale broker and keep those extra hands out of the sale. This requires having a wholesale broker willing to sell single stones to an individual and who has connections around the world in or near the mines.

This is how we are able to offer you stones at prices your jeweler would not match even if they could find the rare stones we deal in. Jewelers prefer diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies because these are easier stones to obtain from the large gem brokers and they pay for the privilege of not having to send money to foreign countries, track down rare stones and grab them as quickly as they appear as close to the mine as possible. As an avid collector of gems this is what I do. I always try to stay as close to the mine as possible. The only brokers we deal with are very close to the mine and we are offered these gems first, because we buy a lot and have established relationships world-wide. When we cut out hands, we save you money.

What Is Rubellite and Why Is It So Expensive?

Rubellite is a form of tourmaline which closely resembles ruby. Specimens have been found in royal jewel collections mistaken as ruby for centuries. Under modern testing techniques large rubies mounted in crowns, necklaces and scepters have turned out to be rubellite tourmaline.

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Rubellite is one of the most valuable tourmalines and can sell for thousands of dollars a carat. Lower quality or standard pink and red tourmaline may sell for much less. The word rubellite was coined from the root word(s), “ruby like,” which morphed into the more scientific sounding term, rubellite.

The price of tourmaline has gone up substantially with the resurgence of interest in colored gems and popularity of tourmaline which comes in virtually every color. The most expensive varieties are rubellite and the (usually,) artificially heated newcomer, “Paraiba,” tourmaline which is subjected to high heat to go from pinkish red to greenish-blue or “swimming pool blue,” that is so prized in jewelry. Naturally occurring (no heat,) Paraiba, blue tourmaline from Brazil can exceed the price of unheated sapphire and sells in excess of 10,000.00 a carat.

Heating also improves clarity, so beware of the, “too perfect,” rubellite. While Paraiba for the most part has gone down in price; rubellite continues to increase in value right along with its namesake, the ruby. As ruby prices soar the price of rubellite climbs too. Rubellite like emerald is a type III gem, meaning it rarely comes without inclusions (imperfections visible to the naked eye) however, unless the imperfections detract from the beauty or integrity of the gem they do little if anything to bring down the gem’s value.
You will almost never see an emerald without eye visible inclusions and the same goes for rubellite.

Rubellite should have inclusions and the “gemmy,” look of an emerald; only in the ruby range shades of red to purplish pink. While they do exist, the chances of you finding a large (5 carat +) rubellite without inclusions for less than $10,000.00 a carat would be, odd and highly suspect. If a rubellite has no inclusions it is most likely not of the highest quality, or even a fake. However, as with emeralds, the inclusions should not detract from the beauty of the gem. In other words, expect inclusions in fine rubellite and emerald it is part of the gems identity and signature. If the inclusions detract from the gem’s beauty, on, too close to the surface, or unattractive, pass it by. If the gem is beautiful get over this American obsession with clear and clean, which is fine for diamonds but not rubellite, or emerald, again like emerald they are Type III Gems.

After color and clarity, origin affects value in rubellite the most. The finest rubellite we have seen comes out of Nigeria. Mozambique and Brazil and is a dead ringer for the color of a top ruby. This material is expensive and hard to come by but some dealers were fortunate to buy the rough early on. This allows those dealers to sell the gems at competitive pricing, for now.

Rubellite has retained, even gained in its value and is considered by many in the jewelry industry to be a top investment gem but be sure you know who you are dealing with. If in doubt it is strongly suggested you buy a gem certified by experts such as the labs of GIA. They can detect heat, type of stone and even the origin of a gem. Though large (5 carat+), rubellite can still be too expensive for many people to invest in if you buy wisely it should maintain its value and may be handed down from generation to generation.

Rubellite is hard enough to be worn in rings, but most people consider it too precious for everyday wear. Gems are always safer in pendants than on the hand and a large rubellite set in an enhancer and hung from a strand of pearls can make a regal statement in any crowd. But it will take daily wear if you choose, but avoid chemicals.

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Remember, a top-quality gem does not need diamonds to be beautiful, usually small accent diamonds are enough. A good stone should look good even if mounted alone in a solitaire mounting. Diamonds drive the price up. If you do use diamonds, high quality is better than larger inferior diamonds. A lot of younger buyers are choosing man-made diamonds which are real diamonds but not earth- mined and they are conflict free plus less expensive than earth-mined diamonds.

A quality rubellite set in jewelry with accent diamonds will be more rare than the diamonds surrounding it. Diamonds are not rare as gems go. They are expensive because the mine owners control the release of the gems to keep demand up. They have to store them in underground vaults because if they were all released at once people would start thinking about the fact that you can buy diamonds at Walmart, but not rubellite tourmaline.

One other fact is, the finest rubellite is never brown in tone. Pigeon blood red, (purplish pink) is the finest color of rubellite tourmaline, at least as far as most jewelers are concerned.

Places Rubellite are mined:
Afghanistan, Nigeria, Madagascar, United States, Brazil

This blog was written by Ezekiel Loftin of Chateau Peridot a subsidiary of Twisted South LLC.

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Chateau Peridot, Fine Gems

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7+ carat rare Cobalt Blue Spinel, Ceylon

Chateau Peridot was named after our French Second Empire home in Virginia, built in 1875. My wife our dogs and I live in the Chateau and do business in an office in Roanoke by appointment only. We sell our gems primarily to jewelers but we recently opened our stock to the public online.

We strive to help our customers save money by using the same formula the jewelry stores use. Purchase the finest main stone you can afford. Have your gem certified if you wish (We will help you get a GIA certification,) and choose your mounting from thousands we have available through the same companies jewelry store use, but for a fraction of the cost. We provide free design assistance and when you have found your ideal mounting be it silver, gold or platinum you may add diamond accents if you wish and we will work with you from beginning to end on your budget.

What does this mean for me how do I save?

First like a jewelry store you are buying your main gem wholesale and we carry much finer gems than most jewelry stores. We never buy our gems (except diamonds,) through the companies that make our mountings. We have found none that can match our quality and price. They do however give us very reasonable costs on the diamonds, platinum and gold you will want to mount your gem in. Since we do not have a large overhead we are able to work on small margins on the mountings giving you close to the cost the average jewelry store pays. In essence you have cut out the middlemen.

Why are you saying your gems are better?

Because we go direct to the mines, mine agents, and gem cutters to buy the finest material they have to offer. They know our standards and when gems come up they know we would be interested in we have bought the gems almost immediately after they are discovered and many times we have bought up all of the finest gems and/or rough before the jewelers even know they exist. Jewelers rarely have time to do this, they would have to hire a team. This is what we do and we risk our money at times in turbulent oversea locations because the most beautiful gems seem to appear in the most dangerous places on earth both geographically and politically. We buy direct from award winning cutters on three continents and are proud to represent the finest cutters in the United States, Europe and Asia. We can buy these gems cheaper than you can buy them direct from the cutter, because we get volume discounts.

How do I save money on design?

We offer all basic design free and if you want something even more special it will cost you 100.00 to 350.00 more. Or if you want a fabulous piece for the red carpet the sky is the limit but you always get discount rates even when working with our top design firms.

How do I save on the mounting?

We do not make our money on the mounting. This is a service we offer. Many jewelers double and even triple their mounting costs. Our charge is 10 to 30% of the total cost of the mounting and that is WHOLESALE COST! Whether you have 300.00 or 50,000.00+ to spend we will respect your budget and old fashioned advice is free. We love to talk to our customers and we are located in the United States and are a small family company

How do I know I am getting a good deal?

Our stones are not treated (a few exceptions exist and they are marked TREATED very prominently. We only carry the treated stones our customers have requested and have less than 20 in stock. Our gems are of the finest quality, cherry-picked by us out of what is available. We buy them before the market drives the prices up and pass that savings on to you in the gem, design and mounting prices. We save you a lot of money! We buy the best color, clarity and cut the miners and cutters offer. Our estate jewelry is below appraisal value. When we finish your piece we will happily have your piece appraised for a reasonable fee and if it is not worth at least 50% more than we charged you then you pay nothing. We will credit back your account 100% and not ship your piece.