From Rough to Refined: Exploring Gemstone Collections

Aug 13, 2017

While most gemstone buyers are seeking rough crystals in bulk, there are some rock and mineral enthusiasts who are simply interested in building a collection of beautiful stones. And, while we generally think of gems as the sparkling, finished stones displayed in fine jewelry, even rough crystals are often mesmerizing – each an amazing individual display of nature’s fine craftsmanship.

From skillfully cut, jewel-quality gems, to rough crystal – one can find all kinds of material on the market. The question is, what makes a gemstone collection truly amazing?

Rough and cut aquamarine crystal. Joe Budd Photo.

As with all collectable items, the answer is somewhat subjective. What makes a collection really valuable is not necessarily it’s cost, or the market value of the stones displayed – it is simply the level of interest it generates. And since, in this case, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder – the door is wide open for building an amazing gemstone collection.

One of the special attractions of gemstones is that there are so many options for building an amazing collection. We’ve outlined a few ideas, here.

·      Collecting by color. One approach to collecting is to choose a particular color, and gather any high-quality rough crystals or gemstone specimens which most accurately represent that shade or hue. This allows the collector to showcase a wide array of species and varietals, while still maintaining a sense of cohesion between pieces.

·      Gathering the rainbow. Popular among collectors of both rough crystals and finished stones, the goal is to create a collection which features the full spectrum of shades and hues. This can create a stunning aesthetic when the collection is displayed in its entirety – mimicking a beautiful rainbow of color. It is also an effective way to highlight the beauty of gems and minerals which occur in a wide range of hues. A collection of beryls would create an amazing array for this type of collection.

·      Highlighting rarity. While most gemstones are considered valuable to some extent, there are certain varieties which are prized for their extreme rarity and beauty. A rare gems collection can be challenging to assemble initially – but the challenge of locating suitable specimens only adds to its inherent value, attraction, and intrinsic interest.

·      Celebrating diversity. Some collectors prefer to pursue one particular species or varietal, highlighting the similarities and differences occurring in rough crystals or cut specimens of the same type – especially those which are discovered in varying localities.

This collecting focus can be great for delving in-depth into the qualities or aesthetic features of a particular mineral or stone, and showcasing the beauty of its natural diversity. Tourmaline would be an excellent stone for this type of collection, as it exhibits stunning variation of color and feature, depending its area of origination – as would a collection of garnets.

  • Shape and cut. An in-depth examination of the different cutting styles and shapes of gemstones over time would make an interesting and educational historic collection – and can reveal some unusual insight into the presentation of various gems, and their use as jewelry or personal adornment.
  • Rough and cut collections. One of our favorite ways to emphasize the true beauty of gemstones, a “rough and cut” collection features both a rough crystal and cut stone for each specimen type. This allows the viewer to see both the raw, natural beauty of the uncut stone, and the brilliant, sparkling finished result – creating a gorgeously balanced, aesthetic display. (Really – the best of both worlds!)

This rare combo of rough danburite crystal and cut stone from Mexico shows the beauty of natural crystals and gem.

Whether your preference for collecting is broad or in-depth, specific to a particular species, locale, varietal, or color – the possibilities for defining your area of interest are limited only by your imagination. And, while some gemstones and rough crystals can be extraordinarily expensive, building an attractive gem collection need not require an enormous budget – simply a dedication to discovering and seeking out those specimens which add value and interest to your personal focus.

At the Arkenstone, we’re big fans of celebrating the natural beauty of rocks and minerals – which means we often find a great deal of pleasure in examining rough crystals and stones. We also appreciate the contrast and insight offered by displaying rough and finished stones side by side. If you’re interested in exploring this wonderful aesthetic, take a look at our current collection of cut and rough crystals – we know you won’t be disappointed in these fine gemstone sets!