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Published Thursday, October 12, 2023

Understanding Stone and Gemstone Grading: A Beginner’s Guide

What Are Stone and Gemstone Grading? Decoding the Lingo!

Hey there, fellow gem enthusiasts! Ever found yourself wondering about terms like AAA labradorite or the rating of an amethyst? Well, today's your lucky day because we're diving deep into the world of stone and gemstone grading. Buckle up; it's going to be a sparkling ride!

Stone Grading: Breaking It Down

At its core, stone grading is pretty straightforward. It's a method to evaluate the quality of stones and gemstones and slot them on a scale. Imagine a ladder of quality, starting from D at the bottom, climbing all the way up to AAA at the pinnacle. Yup, AAA is where the magic really happens, marking the crème de la crème of gems.

The Four Pillars of Gemstone Grading

When examining both precious and semi-precious gems, there are four key players in the grading game:

1. Color

Color is all about the vibrancy and consistency of a stone's hue. Picture a mesmerizing amethyst. You’d expect it to dazzle in purple, right? But sometimes, these gems might throw a curveball with gray or white patches. The more intensely purple an amethyst, the higher its grade.

2. Clarity

Just as the name suggests, clarity zeroes in on how crystal clear a gem is. Gems that let light dance through them effortlessly? Top-tier. Those that seem a tad cloudy or mysterious? A notch or two down the grading ladder.

3. Cut

Cut isn't really about the stone's inherent quality but more about the artistry behind its shaping. Think about enchanting stones like Labradorite or Tiger Eye. The way they're cut can make or break that iconic flash they're loved for.

4. Carat

Finally, carat - measured with a 'C', not the gold's 'K' – is about size and weight. To put it simply, one carat equals 200 milligrams.

How Do Body Jewelry Stones Fit into the Picture?

For classic jewelry, like the gemstones in wedding bands, the focus leans towards high clarity and color grades, but they might skimp a bit on the carat. Because those A-grade stunners? They're a rare breed, especially in large sizes.

But let’s flip the coin. When it comes to body jewelry, we're talking larger designs that often showcase semi-precious stones of slightly lower grades. Now, lower grade doesn't mean less charm. Take large gauge labrets for instance - they flaunt the stone's beauty in ways smaller gauges just can't.

A classic example? Amethyst striping might not be everyone's pick for a posh engagement ring, but boy, do they make some jaw-dropping plugs!

image of amethyst striping on plugs


An exception to this rule is going to be materials like labradorite and rainbow moonstone.

That’s because labradorite is more valuable in larger stone pieces, than it is as a cut gem. This is due to its flash - the iconic rainbow of colors found on labradorite. Because this flash of color is created by mineral layers in the stone that often get lost when cut down into a small gem, thus losing the very thing the stone is valued for.

AAA labradorite is a labradorite with the most vibrant color display, with a cut and polish that serves to amplify this iridescence, which means its most valuable as larger cabochons, stone pendants, or - you guessed it - body jewelry.

You can find AAA labradorite and an array of other beautiful stone body jewelry on our website.

AAA labradorite plug example

Wrapping Up

So there you have it! A whirlwind tour of stone and gemstone grading. If you've got a soft spot for gems like AAA labradorite or just love all things shiny, be sure to check out our selection over at Got questions? Need pointers? We're here to help!

And before we sign off, here's a little shout-out: don't forget to catch us at @Bodyartforms on all social platforms.