You’re at the right place if you’re scouring the internet for the best places to buy gemstones online.
In this detailed jewelry guide, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about buying gemstones online. We’ll also be answering some of the most frequently asked questions including:
- How do you know it’s a good deal?
- What are some of the red flags to look out for when buying gemstones?
- What are some of the things you need to look out for when looking for gemstones online?
- Are gemstones perfect for rings?
Best Places to Buy Gemstones Online
If you’re in a rush, here’s a highlight of some of the best places to buy high quality gemstones online from reputable dealers in no particular order.
Keep scrolling to learn more about these online stores. Let’s get right into it, shall we?
Where to Buy Gemstones Online
If you’re looking for relatively loose colored gemstones, then Brilliant Earth would be an excellent choice for you. This is because they usually give their customers a variety of options to choose from.
Most online retailers carry loose precious gemstones like emeralds, diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Brilliant Earth has all these and even more. Some of the most popular loose precious stones in their collection include aquamarine, morganite and moissanite. You’ll not find these unique colored gemstones in other online stores.
Brilliant Earth is a reputable company that focuses on responsible gemstone sourcing. It doesn’t just pay attention to diamonds like other companies. They let their customers know the country which the loose gemstone was sourced from as well as indicating if its lab created.
Brilliant Earth doesn’t have any colored blockchain gemstones although they offer natural blockchain diamonds that are fully traceable.
Currently, the gemstone inventory tends to change frequently owing to the popularity of colored gemstones. Sometimes, they carry a variety of gemstones and only one in the consecutive weeks. What’s more, some gemstones might be available in lab created variants.
Moyo gemstones is one of the most preferred gemstones in Brilliant Earth’s collection. Their line of loose gemstones usually come from famous female jewelry artisans and the proceeds help support women in the mining industry. These gemstones are sourced responsibly from Tanzanian female miners.
In addition, Brilliant Earth features 360-degree videos for the gemstones like the rhodolite garnet that falls in their Moyo collection. They carry a range of custom cuts of similar shapes as well.
Moyo gemstones always come and go. One minute they are in plenty, the next they are barely there. They are known to carry a variety of garnets, zircon, spinel and tourmalines. The settings of the ring can be limited especially when it comes to loose colored gems owing to their large carat sizes and when you choose non-traditional cuts.
Brilliant Earth also gives their customers a chance to buy the Extended Service Plan along with a three-year warranty for maintenance based on the sliding cost scale of the purchase. However, this option is not available to online shoppers. In this case, the customer has to call right after making the purchase so that they can add it for you.
In addition, Brilliant Earth offers a renewal option after a three-year lapse. They have a 30-day return policy as well if you want to give back the gemstone ring from their company.
James Allen sells loose stones as well. However, he tends to stick to precious gemstones like sapphires, emeralds, rubies along with colored and colorless diamonds. You can’t find semi-precious gemstones in their collection especially in loose form.
The James Allen collection carries preset gems jewelry. However, they can get loose gemstone moissanites over time since they are quite popular and high on demand.
This company has one of the largest selections when it comes to loose colored gemstones. James Allen offers both pink and blue sapphires like most online retailers. They carry a range of less unique loose colored precious gemstones like yellow and green sapphires. You can see all of the clearly in a clear 360 degrees video that’s equally controllable.
AVAILABLE ON JAMESALLEN
The yellow sapphire (as shown in the picture above) comes with in-house GIA graduate gemologist certification. James Allen is as reliable as they come and that means that there’s no way in hell the heated sapphire can be faked.
However, you might want a AGS or GIA grading report when it comes to natural diamonds. James Allen, unlike his counterparts in the industry, has a wide variety of ring settings for the loose gemstones that depends on the shape. You’ll not be able to see an actual representation of the loose gemstones in the ring setting. This means that you have to picture what it looks like.
James Allen offers more than 200 different ring settings that their customers can choose from. Save for that, they have a neat feature on the website like the ring builder that Jared and Kay have on their sites. It’s known as a Ring Studio.
AVAILABLE ON JAMESALLEN
The Ring studio allow you to choose different ring settings and customize them to your personal specifications. This makes James Allen have an edge over other online retailers since they don’t have this extraordinary feature.
What’s more, James Allen offers a lifetime warranty on their products at no cost. The warranty covers all wear and tear needs. They also have a 30-day return policy in case you don’t fancy James Allen’s gemstone ring.
Leibish & Co.
Leibish & Co. is a renowned online retailer specializing in premium grade colored diamonds and gemstones. For the most part, people buy colored diamonds even though the company offers a wide range of other unique colored gemstones.
Leibish & Co. carries a combination of semi-precious and precious gemstones. They currently have rubies, sapphires in different colors, emeralds, tanzanite, aquamarines, topaz, spinel, alexandrite and tourmalines.
AVAILABLE ON LEIBISH
In addition to the faceted gemstones, they carry cabochons as well. Most of their colored stones are untreated and GIA certified. They’ll let you know the types of treatment the gemstone was subjected to if they know. However, since most of their loose colored gemstones are untreated and vivid, they tend to quite expensive.
Leibish’s colored stones and ring settings fall on the higher side of the spectrum owing to their high quality. There are few loose gems inventories that can rival them.
You can buy a loose gemstone from Leibish & Co. just like you would on Brilliant Earth. This is a great option for their clients since choosing a particular ring setting is quite challenging to envision especially with how the ring settings are shown. This is where your imagination comes to play unless you ask them for a mock design.
For instance, check out the ring setting of one of the most common colored gemstones, tanzanite below. It’s an elongated cushion cut gemstone. This means that it doesn’t quite fit like a regular square cushion as shown in the picture.
AVAILABLE ON LEIBISH
They offer free shipping although it takes a while. You might want to explore other alternatives if you always decide on the design last minute because Leibish isn’t quite as perfect in that aspect. Leibish also allows customers to request for a professional appraisal at no extra cost to come with the product.
Leibish & Co. have no warranties for routine maintenance for the ring settings. However, the manufacturer warranty covers any design flaws.
Brian Gavin is less known to new customers as compared to other online retailers. You’ve probably heard about them if you’re an ardent gemstone or diamond connoisseur. The name Brian Gavin tends to float around with different companies like Abe Mor and Whiteflash.
Brian Gavin is a typical jeweler and gem cutter as opposed to an online chain jewelry store. Save for specializing in arrows and hearts diamonds like Whiteflash, they also offer a wide selection of exquisitely cut colored stones. Most of these gems are relatively cheap with many different options below $1000. Plus, you can check out the gemstones through a 360-degrees revolving view.
Their product selection is almost similar to that of Leibish & Co. with plenty of faceted colored stones along with cabochons. However, this company also carries relatively cheap birthstones like aquamarine, amethyst, peridot, tsavorite, topaz and morganite.
In addition, you’ll find star sapphire otherwise known as chatoyant blue sapphire. Like Leibish, Brian Gavin also doesn’t give an ideal visual when choosing a ring setting that will accompany the loose gemstone. Honestly, it’s more difficult even though they have affordable options.
AVAILABLE ON BRIANGAVINDIAMONDS
Most people like their loose gemstones since they are quite affordable. Most of the times, you’ll stumble upon online retailers selling relatively cheap stones like blue topaz at a higher price because finding them loose is quite challenging. Not everyone likes going to jewelry and gem shows. And this is where Brian Gavin takes the mantle!
Brian Gavin makes your search a lot easier since they do the legwork for you and offer a variety of options. However, you can’t return the items upon purchasing. The bezel settings are not returnable. Plus, they have a disclaimer that states customers can hold them liable for scratching soft stones when setting. This is quite strange whether you choose to use their colored stones or use yours.
Don’t put too much thought into that disclaimer since the risk of damage is very low seeing that Brian Gavin is a 5th gen diamond cutter. However, it’s worth noting.
Brian Gavin offers manufacturer’s warranty only on the jewelry and it covers any design defects. You’ll need to dig deeper into your pockets when it comes to routine maintenance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Loose Gemstones
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about loose gemstones:
Are Loose Gemstones Cheaper Online?
Absolutely! Loose gemstones are relatively cheaper online as compared to getting them in retail stores. However, this could be quite different with gemstones.
Local jewelers that source loose stones have similar prices to cheap premium grade colored gemstones online. You’ll probably come up short if you’re looking for various loose stones. If you’re buying from a brick and mortar retailer such as Jared or Kay, you’re likely to pay more than what you normally would for a low quality stone.
Unfortunately, most of their premium quality colored gems are usually part of different brands like the famous LeVian collection and Neil Lane gemstone ring collection. In this case, you’ll be paying more for the brand.
Online prices vary from one store to the other. For the most part, online prices are usually relatively low as compared to those of renowned brands like Kay with an exception of lab created stones. Kay offers tons of lab created rubies, emeralds and sapphires that cost less than $100. You’ll also notice relatively low prices on Amazon, Etsy and eBay.
Are Loose Gemstones More Expensive?
First, this question is quite loaded. Some colored stones are in abundance all over the world. For instance, amethyst gemstones are abundant and equally cheap to come as natural stones every time. Amethyst falls on the lower side of the pricing spectrum and its neither fake nor lab created.
If a gemstone is only mined at one place, it’s value will be higher. Technically, this drives us to the demand and supply concept. However, some stones are usually mid-value and their value tends to increase if its not subjected to gemstone treatment.
For instance, a premium grade treated blue sapphire has a lower value than that of its untreated counterpart with rich color throughout.
Where the gemstone is sourced from also plays a significant role in the price. Some colored gemstones have more value than others depending on their mining location like Columbian emeralds and Burma rubies.
If the gemstone has a larger carat size and is equally high quality, then the price will be higher.
Where Can I Buy Quality Gemstones?
Here are some of our top recommendations of the best places to buy quality gemstones online if you know the specific colored or precious gemstone you’re looking to buy:
- Where to Buy Emeralds
- Where to Buy Sapphire Jewelry
- Where to Buy Ruby Jewelry
- Where to Buy Peridot Jewelry
- Where to Buy Morganite
What are Some of the Red Flags When Looking for Gemstones?
Here are some of the red flags you need to be on the look out for when searching for loose gems.
- Everyday Wear
Colored gemstones are not only beautiful but also better than diamonds. However, they can barely stay the same especially if you wear them daily. Most minerals are usually measured on Mohs scale. The hardness mineral scale equates to the stone’s scratchability.
One of the most common misconception is that people believe that hardness equates to the gemstone’s resistance to breakage. Gemstones tend to break when you hit all the right spots hard enough.
The mineral scale, otherwise known as the Mohs scale ranges from 1 to 10 with a hardness rating for each mineral including gemstones. On this scale, diamonds are the highest, followed by moissanites and sapphires (corundum) respectively.
Gemstones can be worn daily and have a hardness rating of 8. Emeralds, on the other hand, have a rating of 7 and are not ideal for everyday wear. However, some are durable and can last up to a year or more with proper care and maintenance.
Scratchability doesn’t necessarily equate to scratches damage. The stone surface can get scratched from dust and dirt in the air. Softer stones are more susceptible to scratch. The hardness rating level of sapphires is a bit higher. However, white sapphires tend to reveal more subtle scratches that are obvious and look cloudy since it’s clear.
You might have to replace the gemstone over time if your engagement ring has a soft stone at the centre. White sapphires, morganites, opals and topaz are some of the most common gemstones that need replacement.
Always inquire about different treatments before making a purchase especially if you’re going for a colored gemstone. Treatments is no cause for alarm if the stones are lab created. However, some treatments tend to reduce the value of the product especially when it comes to natural colored gemstones.
Most jewelry retail stores aren’t conversant with treatments and will only read to you what the company policy says. In this case, GIA certified gemstones come highly recommended especially those without treatment evidence on their grading report. That’s worth noting when you’re looking for an untreated gemstone.
Don’t get loose gemstones from any marketplace sellers since their grading system is not standard. You can only do that if you’re conversant with gemstones. Different places have different gemstone color grading systems.
Most shady sellers use online marketplaces to make some common gemstone names sound pretty. Online marketplace sellers include those selling on different social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and eBay. However, that would be quite different when you go to local gemstone market in other countries.
But you should also be wary of some of these places because they can dupe tourists as well. Always buy gemstones from reputable retailers with easy and good return process. Cover yourself too to avoid ending up with faceted piece of glasses.
Getting the Best Deals When Buying Gemstones Online
We’ve have highlighted different ways and benefits that will come in handy when shopping for gemstones online. Here’s a recap:
- Always buy gemstones from reputable dealers
- Check the ring for any loose stones
- Those living active lifestyles should go for a protective setting
- Always go for certified colored gemstones
- Know the kind of treatments the stone was subjected to before making a purchase
Brilliant Earth is hands down the best place to buy high quality gemstones online.