How to Buy Rough Gemstones

Written by meredith jameson
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How to Buy Rough Gemstones
Rough gemstone (A Crystalline Quartz and Iron Gem Rock Sample. image by daseaford from

The gemstones typically seen in jewellery are rocks that have been cut, polished and treated to create a bright, faceted item. However, gem stones in their natural state are rough and oddly shaped. Individuals who have the tools and training to correctly cut, polish and mount stones may wish to purchase rough gemstones instead of paying for the final version at a jewellery store. There are several different routes possible when purchasing rough gemstones.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Local newspaper
  • Internet access
  • Jewellery stores

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  1. 1

    Learn as much as possible about the particular gemstone you wish to purchase. Different stones have different world sources and may be available for cheaper prices in some areas of the world or have a higher level of quality. There are often classes on gems available through universities, community colleges and local recreation districts.

  2. 2

    Visit gem and jewellery shows in your area. These can be an invaluable place to meet other vendors, dealers and enthusiasts and learn more about gemstones. You can also purchase rough gemstones at these shows. Check your local paper for listings of shows coming to your area or look on line for upcoming events in your community.

  3. 3

    Speak with local jewellery store owners about whether they cut their own stones and their preferred gem sources. This can be a good source of information when learning about gemstones and the process of purchasing and preparing them for market.

  4. 4

    Look on line. There are many websites that sell rough gemstones, including,, and, among many others. When purchasing on line, look at the pictures closely and ask for more pictures if you are not satisfied with the photos that are available on line.

  5. 5

    Remember that buying in bulk is generally cheaper than buying individual stones, and aim to purchase rough stones that are at least 5 ct in size so that you have enough rock to work with. In addition, look for bright colour and clarity in the rocks. Consider the shape of the rocks, as rough stones that are too thin or have too many angles may be more difficult to cut. Do not purchase heated or treated stones, since these practices reduce their value.

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