May 2019 Newsletter: Fine Gems Under $300


It's a fact of life that fine gemstones are expensive and getting more expensive every year. If you want to buy fine Burma ruby or Blue Sapphire, a significant investment is required, typically in the thousands of dollars. The same tends to be true for Paraiba Tourmaline, Mahenge Spinel and Tsavorite Garnet. The prices for these gems reflect their rarity and strong market demand.

Yet there are still fine gemstones in the market at very affordable prices, even under $300. You just need to know where to look and what to look for. 

Note that we use the term fine gemstone to refer to a stone of excellent color, cut and clarity. We don't recommend that you compromise quality to reduce cost. There are many commercial grade stones in the market at low cost, but buying a gem of mediocre color or clarity or a poorly cut stone is never a good buy, regardless of price.

The key to finding high quality gems under $300 is first, selecting the right gem variety; and second, understanding how carat weight affects price.

Certain gem varieties continue to be very affordable, and top quality examples are always a good buy. These gem types include Apatite, Chrome Diopside, Zircon, Petalite, Danburite, Peridot, Black Star Sapphire and many of the quartz varieties -- Amethyst, Ametrine, Citrine, Chrysoprase and Chalcedony.

High quality Tourmalines can still be found for under $300. These tend to be smaller gems (under 2 carats), but quite suitable for rings since Tourmaline is a fairly low density material that gives you a lot of size for the carat weight.

If you are looking for a larger stone, there are a number of gem varieties where you can find very good gems over 5 carats that cost under $300. These include Black Star Sapphire, Apatite, Amethyst, Citrine, Chrysoprase, Kunzite, Danburite and Fluorite. There are still excellent bargains in the gem world.


Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature some of finest gems in our collection under $300. Click on any photo to view the details for the gem.

2.64 ct Apatite Matched Pair from Madagascar
2.64 ct Matched Pair of Apatites from Madagascar  [SOLD]
A beautiful matched pair of aqua blue Apatites that look like paraiba tourmalines which sells for thousands of dollars per carat. Very clean and well matched, these 7 x 6 mm ovals will make a lovely pair of earrings. Guaranteed natural.

1.93 ct Pink Tourmaline from Nigeria

1.93 ct Pink Tourmaline from Nigeria  [SOLD]
A lovely gem Tourmaline from Nigeria in a saturated pink color. Completely clean, this fine material has been fashioned in an 9 x 7 mm cushion, perfect for an elegant ring. Guaranteed natural and untreated.
6.27 ct Petalite from Brazil

A fine gem-quality Petalite from Brazil, over 6 carats. This is beautifully clean material, pure white with no trace of color. It has been precision cut in a radiant cut for maximum brilliance. At 12 x 11 mm, this will make an impressive ring or pendant. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

Only $279.00

3.08 ct Chrome Diopside Matched Pair from Russia

3.08 ct Matched Pair of Chrome Diopside from Russia  [SOLD]

A fine matched pair of Chrome Diopsides in a saturated chrome green. Though Chrome Diopside is a softer gem -- 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale -- they are perfect for earrings. This 7 mm pair rounds has the rich color of Tsavorite Garnet, but at a fraction of the price. Guaranteed natural and untreated.


8.32 ct Amethyst from Uruguay

8.32 ct Amethyst from Uruguay  [SOLD]

A large Amethyst from Uruguay in a rich deep purple. This is fine clean material that has been expertly fashioned in a well proportioned pear shape with portuguese faceting. Perfect for a pendant or a cocktail ring. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

10.15 ct Chrysoprase from Australia

10.15 ct Chrysoprase from Australia  [SOLD]

A very nice Chrysoprase cabochon over 10 carats, at an excellent price. Vivid apple-green color with excellent translucency and a distinctive glow. This fine Chrysoprase will set up beautifully in your jewelry design. Guaranteed natural and untreated.


News from AJS and the Gems World

Rare Cobalt Blue Spinel Found in the Canadian Arctic

Cobalt Blue Spinel

Canada is a well-known source of diamonds, but has not produced much yet in colored gemstones. However, mineralogists at the University of British Columbia have just published a study documenting the discovery of a rare blue Spinel in Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic.

Blue Spinel colored by traces of cobalt is an exceptionally rare gem in fine quality. In recent years there has been a very small and sporadic supply from Vietnam, but barely enough to even whet the appetite of fine gem dealers and collectors.

The Canadian researchers analysed 14 occurrences of Spinel on Baffin Island, including two of cobalt blue Spinel, to better understand how it forms. The Baffin Island Spinel contains up to 500 parts-per-million of cobalt, giving it a vivid blue colour comparable to the best sources worldwide.

The commercial potential of this find is yet to be determined. But the limestone rock in which the Spinel is found is very well exposed, making it suitable for remote detection methods using drones and satellites for geological mapping.


Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

I love your gems and all your gem information, but I was wondering if you ever sell rough uncut stones? JC, USA

Our business is mainly in fine cut and polished gems, but we do offer small parcels of rough material from time to time. These are suitable for collecting, faceting, wire wrapping or other creative jewelry projects.

We currently have parcels of Color Change Garnet, Green Apatite, Red Zircon and Chrysoprase. You can click on the photos below to see prices and details.

Color Change Garnet Rough Green Apatite Rough

Color Change Garnet


Green Apatite


Red Zircon Rough Chrysoprase Rough

Red Zircon





All the best in gems,

Ron, May & and Rung