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How to choose a gemstone for a bespoke jewellery design

Creating a unique piece of gemstone jewellery for yourself is a great way of expressing your individuality or, if the piece is for someone else, celebrating them and your love for them. But if you have never ventured into designing a piece of gemstone jewellery before there are many factors to take into consideration before your jeweller can start work, the key one being the gemstone or gemstones themselves.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to choosing a gemstone for a bespoke jewellery design:

Step 1: Decide on the what the piece of jewellery will be

One of the first decisions you need to make is what kind of jewellery piece you want to have made - a necklace, ring, bracelet or earrings. This is the key decision as it has a huge influence on what type of gemstone you should or shouldn’t use.

For example, Tanzanite has perfect cleavage, meaning one hit in the right spot and your Tanzanite will crack. Therefore, if you want to make a piece of jewellery with a Tanzanite, we would recommend earrings, a necklace or a brooch, rather than a ring. That doesn’t mean you cannot make a ring with a Tanzanite but with gemstones such as this we would recommend only wearing them on special occasions.

If you are set on making a ring then consider how often the piece is likely to be worn. Is it an engagement ring that will be worn every day or a dress ring for special occasions? The more wear the ring will have, as well as the recipient’s clumsiness and occupation, will dictate whether a durable stone or a gemstone that’s lower on the Mohs scale of hardness would be your best buy.

Step 2: Consider personal tastes and preferences

Next you need to work out which gemstones you or the recipient would like. If there isn’t a particular gemstone that comes to mind then maybe start with the colour or colours you or they like and discuss options as to which gemstones in those colours would be best for the item you are making. If the piece is for a loved one and you are not sure which colours they like, observe the colours they wear, as this can be a good starting point.

Step 3: Consider the occasion you are marking

In many, if not most, cases a piece of bespoke jewellery is intended to mark a particular occasion in the wearer’s life. This may be a milestone birthday or anniversary, or even an engagement. You could choose the birthstone associated with their month of birth or the anniversary gemstone that marks the number of years they have been married or been together.

If you are proposing, think about changing things up from the classic diamond engagement ring and either complementing the diamond or diamonds with gemstones. Or maybe choose a gemstone that is meaningful to you or the recipient, or simply one that you or they love to have set as an engagement ring.

Sapphires and Diamond
Sapphire Engagement Ring

Step 4: Consider the meanings behind different gemstones

Sometimes it is good to consider the meaning behind a gemstone. This is not for everyone but can cover a lot of subjects. Maybe you or the recipient are into spirituality and would like a gemstone that is said to help with self-esteem and give a calming effect which some people believe Emerald does? Or maybe a beloved family member wore Sapphires and including these gemstones in your bespoke jewellery would be a wonderful reminder of them.

Step 5: Consider your budget

Budget is the other key factor to consider when designing a bespoke piece of gemstone jewellery. When setting your budget you should allow not only for cost of the gemstone itself but also the metal the piece will be made from and the jeweller’s time to design and then make the piece.

When choosing gemstones, it can come as quite a shock to discover that a purple Sapphire can cost a lot more than an Amethyst, even if the size, shape and colour are very similar to one another. It is therefore worth devoting time to researching all your gemstone options and talking to gemstone experts who can advise you on this key choice.

Gemstone specialist GF Williams supplies a huge range of high quality coloured gemstones and is an expert and experienced gemstone supplier to designers, manufacturers, collectors and private clients.

Find out more about how GF Williams can fulfil your gemstone requirements by browsing our online gemstone catalogue or contacting our friendly team of gemstone experts on +44 (0) 207 405 5477 or email office@gfwilliams.co.uk.