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Advice & Tips about Precious Gems

Labeled the 'Top Gem Man' at Tiffany's in an interview article dated 24 April 2008 in the Urban section of The Straits Times newspaper, gemologist Mr Peter Schneirla gives out valuable advice regarding buying of jewellery & gems:

  • Factors of a good-quality gem include strength of colour, purity, cleanliness & the cutting of the gem.

  • Never buy a gem from a piece a paper. All factors of 2 gems may read the same on paper but look very different from each other.

  • Buying from a good merchant with intergrity, honesty & expertise is very important.

  • Value of the gem itself is worth much more than the mounting of the gem.

  • To a non-professional, the colour of a diamond is more obvious in comparison.

  • For those with a tight budget, you will definitely find a good stone in your price range. Bottomline is do your homework and pick the type of stone your heart desires.

  • To build up your own jewellery collection, start with a coloured stone you can wear a lot. Recommended are easy to match cool coloured stones like a blue stone. eg. sapphire, blue tourmaline, aquamarine, blue spinel..

  • Your skin's complexion determines which colour gems suit you. Eg. white pearls with a pink overtone look best on very fair skin while yellow pearls on olive complexions. Red & green gems would suit brunettes to brighten them up.

  • Advice for the men: The fool-proof gift is diamond studs, which can be worn casually or formally. Best to get a more traditional design, which will look good today and ten years down the road.
    You can gradually upgrade your gifts to more elaborate earrings, either mixed with stones or pearls.

Tips from Mr Schneirla on how to care for your gems:

  • Unclean diamonds, esp at the back, reduces its sparkle.
    To clean, brush with off-the-shelf diamond cleaner, rinse it and let it dry. You can also soak your diamond in a homemade solution of one part ammonia & four parts hot water.
    The same can be applied to rubies & sapphires too.

  • Emeralds, being the most delicate major stone needs to be gently cleaned with very mild soap  & water. It is also ideal to send emeralds to be cleaned by professionals.

  • Pearls are organic and have a porous surface, so never let your perfume touch your pearls. Always put on your jewellery after you have done your makeup.
    Clean pearls by immersing the whole strand in a not too soapy solution. Pat dry with a cloth & leave out to dry naturally for a day or two. This is to ensure the drill holes & the silk within dry completely.
    Never dry pearls under extreme heat, eg. lamp or hair dryer.

Afternote: I've learnt a lot from this great interview with Mr Schneirla. Really looking forward to starting a nice jewellery collection of my very own!