Wondering What Your U.S. Paper Money Bills Are Worth?

Wondering What Your U.S. Paper Money Bills Are Worth?

Here Are U.S. Paper Currency Values + Collecting Tips

A lot of folks, myself included, have old U.S. paper money and want to know what it’s worth.



You’d be surprised what some paper currency is worth!

Sometimes, bills that are old and unusual are worth little over face value, while others that look ordinary are rare and valuable.

So, what is your U.S. paper currency worth?

Here are the answers you’ve been looking for…

What Are Those Letters On Paper Money?

The most common question people ask me about paper money has to do with those big letters on the fronts of our currency — you know, A, B, C, D, etc.

What do those letters on paper money mean?

The letter codes simply indicate which of the 12 U.S. Federal Reserve Banks printed a given note. They’re similar to mintmarks on coins.

Here’s a list of all the letter and number codes you’ll find on U.S. paper money:

  • us-paper-money-billsBoston A 1
  • New York B 2
  • Philadelphia C 3
  • Cleveland D 4
  • Richmond E 5
  • Atlanta F 6
  • Chicago G 7
  • St. Louis H 8
  • Minneapolis I 9
  • Kansas City J 10
  • Dallas K 11
  • San Francisco L 12

Here are some more fun facts about paper money:

  • Serial numbers contain 8 numerical digits. The 1st letter preceding the serial numbercorresponds to the Federal Reserve Bank branch that printed the bill (A = Boston, B = New York, and so on). The 2nd letter refers to the number of times that serial number has been used, with A representing the 1st time, B the 2nd, and so on.
  • The series year isn’t necessarily when the bill was printed, but rather the last time there was a change either to the design of the bill or when a new Secretary of the Treasury has been appointed. A suffix letter is added at the end of the series year to indicate a new treasurer of the United States.

U.S. Paper Money Values

Figuring out what paper money is worth isn’t always easy.

Knowing what your dollar bills and other paper currency are worth requires a basic working knowledge of the different types of U.S. currency and what collectors look for on their banknotes.

Here’s a rundown on the 2 major types of U.S. paper money:

  1. Large-size paper currency (issued before 1929) — These old bills measure 7.42″ by 3.125″ and are commonly dubbed “horseblankets” and “greenbacks.”
  2. Small-size paper currency (issued since Series 1928) — Modern-sized paper money measures 6.14″ wide by 2.61″ and is about 25% smaller than their large-size predecessors.

Then, there are the various categories of U.S. paper currency. They include:

  • Silver Certificates — $1 to $1,000, issued from 1878 through 1964
  • Gold Certificates — $10 to $10,000, issued from 1863 through 1933
  • Confederate issues — Issued during the Civil War, which spanned from 1861 through 1865
  • Federal Reserve Notes — $1 to $10,000, issued from Series 1914 to the present day
  • Fractional currency, private-issue pieces, and other types of banknotes

The most widely collected U.S. paper money includes Gold CertificatesSilver Certificates, and Federal Reserve Notes. The values of these banknotes depends on their condition.

There are many, many banknotes that have been issued since the 19th century — far more than I could list in a single post here.

But I’d like to cover the pieces I’m most frequently asked about. What you’ll find below is a basic rundown on the values of various Silver Certificates, Gold Certificates, and Federal Reserve Notes.


Values Of Large-Size Paper Currency

  • General large-size $1 bills pre-1929 — $40+ in worn condition
  • General large-size $2 bills pre-1929 — $75+ in worn condition
  • General large-size $5 bills pre-1929 — $60+ in worn condition
  • General large-size $10 bills pre-1929 — $70+ in worn condition
  • General large-size $20 bills pre-1929 — $75+ in worn condition
  • General large-size $50 bills pre-1929 — $180+ in worn condition
  • General large-size $100 bills pre-1929 — $400+ in worn condition
  • General large-size $500 bills pre-1929 — $4,000+ in worn condition
  • General large-size $1,000 bills pre-1929 — $5,000+ in worn condition
  • General large-size $5,000 bills pre-1929 — Not Collectible
  • General large-size $10,000 bills pre-1929 — Extremely Rare


Values Of Small-Size Silver Certificates

$1 Silver Certificates

  • Series 1928 $1 bill — $20+ in worn condition
  • Series 1934 $1 bill — $20+ in worn condition
  • Series 1935 $1 bill — $3+ in worn condition
  • Series 1957 $1 bill — $2+ in worn condition

$5 Silver Certificates


  • Series 1934 $5 bill — $12+ in worn condition
  • Series 1953 $5 bill — $10+ in worn condition

$10 Silver Certificates

  • Series 1933 $10 bill — $5,200+ in worn condition
  • Series 1934 $10 bill — $30+ in worn condition
  • Series 1953 $10 bill — $50+ in worn condition


10000-bill-paper-money-valuesValues Of Small Size Gold Certificates

  • Series 1928 $20 bill — $100+ in worn condition
  • Series 1928 $50 bill — $250+ in worn condition
  • Series 1928 $100 bill — $1,000+ in worn condition
  • Series 1928 $500 bill — $2,500+ in worn condition
  • Series 1928 $1,000 bill — $2,000 + in worn condition
  • Series 1928 $5,000 bill — Very Rare
  • Series 1928 $10,000 bill — Unknown Value


Values Of Modern Federal Reserve Notes Made Since The 1960s

Generally speaking, most modern-era Federal Reserve Notes (or paper currency made since the last silver certificates were issued in 1964) is worth very little over face value.

For example, worn examples of old dollar bills from Series 1969, Series 1974, or Series 1977 are worth $1.50 to $3.

While paper currency made before the current series has some collector value, it’s normally only a few bucks over face, at best, if it’s worn.

Values for small-size paper currency made since the 1960s are generally higher than face if:


What’s A $2 Bill Worth?

Many people think $2 bills are valuable.

That’s reasonable — because $2 bills don’t widely circulate, so they’re hardly seen by many people. It seems most people have never seen a $2 bill.

Believe it or not, most $2 bills that people encounter are common and, if they’re worn, are worth face value.

For example, Series 1976 $2 bills (the type of $2 bill most often encountered) is worth $2.

Other $2 bills — such as Series 1995, Atlanta Series 2003, Minneapolis Series 2009, and Series 2013 — are also worth face value if they’re worn.


What About Red Seal Values?

Many think that Red Seal and Star notes are worth more than face value. And they’re right.

red-seal-note-1914-paper-money-valuesBut what are Red Seal notes anyway? Why did the United States print paper currency with red seals? Do seals come in other colors?

Here are some interesting facts about red seals and paper currency with seals of other colors:

  • Red seals — Appear on legal tender notes from 1928 through 1966 and signify unbacked paper money
  • Green seals — Seen on Federal Reserve Notes made since 1963 and indicate unbacked fiat money and are the only seal still seen on today’s paper money
  • Blue seals — Printed on silver certificates from Series 1928 through Series 1957 and means the amount on the bill is payable in silver

Some Red Seal notes are quite valuable. Take, for example, the 1928 $1 Red Seal note, which is worth $200 and up in circulated condition.

Other worn Red Seals, such as the small-size Red Seal $5 bills from the 1920s through 1960s, are worth only $7 to $10.


A “Note” About Yellow Seals And Brown Seals

Yellow seals are found on some small banknotes and mean different things, including:

  • Yellow seals on gold certificates issued from 1929 through 1933 indicated the bill was redeemable for gold coins up to the face value of the note.
  • Yellow seals are also seen on emergency-issue silver certificates issued between 1942 and 1945 for use by United States military forces stationed in North Africa and Europe during World War II.

Yellow Seal $1 notes issued for World War II U.S. troops in North Africa are worth about $70 and up in circulated condition.

Meanwhile, brown seals:

  • Are seen on small-size National Bank Notes from 1929 through 1935 issued as receipts for gold treasury bonds
  • Appear on emergency Federal Reserve Banknotes issued during the Great Depression in 1933
  • Can also be found on emergency Federal Reserve Banknotes printed from 1942 to 1945 for circulation in Hawaii to pay U.S. forces in the Pacific theater of World War II 

Brown Seal notes are highly collectible. For example, Series 1935 Brown Seal $1 notes with “HAWAII” overprint are worth about $45 in circulated grades. While 1929 Brown $5 bills are worth about $60 in worn condition.

Values for Red Seal, Brown Seal, and emergency-issue Yellow Seal paper currency varies widely — so it’s important to check with a paper currency price guide or paper currency dealer to get the specifics on your paper money.


Are Star Notes Worth Anything? What Do They Even Mean?

Some collectors have asked me about star notes. What are they?

When inspectors at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Printing and Engraving find mistakes with certain pieces of money, they destroy the error notes and replace the notes with those of the same serial number but with an asterisk (*) after the serial number.

The addition of the asterisk, or star, ensures that no 2 pieces of paper currency of the denomination in the series have the same serial number. This also helps the government keep track of how many bills have actually been printed.

There’s some more info about star notes in this cool video:

So, what are star notes worth?

Given that only about 1% to 1.5% of paper currency consists of star notes, they’re relatively rare.

Even modern star notes are worth more than face value.

Consider, for the matter, worn Series 1981, 1985, 1988, and 1993 $1 star notes — which are worth $2.50 to $5 or more!

Older star notes are worth a little more money. For example, Series 1957 $1 Silver Certificate star notes are worth $4 to $7, and Series 1935 $1 star notes are worth about $1o and up in worn condition.


How Much Is Rare Confederate Money Worth?

A lot of people are curious about Confederate money, including:

  • What Confederate money is worth
  • How rare Confederate paper currency is
  • Where to buy and sell Confederate paper money

Let’s start off by saying this… The vast majority of Confederate paper money people encounter is fake. Best estimates suggest only 3% of the Confederate money that people find is actually authentic.

Fake Confederate money is numismatically worth nothing.

It probably goes without saying at this point that Confederate bills (real Confederate paper money, that is) are quite scarce.

Perhaps surprising to some people, some Confederate paper money isn’t all that valuable. Some pieces are worth less than $100 in well worn condition, while others in nearly perfect condition go for thousands.

How much is your Confederate money worth? That depends on whether or not the name of a certain bank is stamped on the bill, the condition of the paper currency, its date, and other variables.

For this reason, it’s infeasible to provide a detail of Confederate money values here.

I would encourage you to submit an image of your Confederate currency to a paper money dealer or upload the photos to paper currency dealers online to get information about your specific bill.


What Are Fractional Notes? Are They Valuable?

us-fractional_3rd_issueWhen the United States was experiencing the economically painful effects of the Civil War and coin shortages abounded, the government began issuing an array of paper currency with low face values under $1.

These so-called Fractional Notes (often called Shinplasters, because the paper was so cheap one could add starch and use the bills as paper mache shin warmers under socks) were issued from 1862 through 1876 in the following denominations:

  • 3 Cents
  • 5 Cents
  • 10 Cents
  • 15 Cents
  • 25 Cents
  • 50 Cents

These historic, often artful notes are widely collected by paper money enthusiasts.

Those who want to buy Fractional Notes can do so for a relatively affordable price, too. Some circulated specimens of some Fractional Notes can be bought for about $20 and up.

What Old U.S. Paper Money Bills Worth? Here Are All U.S. Paper Currency Values

How to Find Silver Coins in Circulation

How to Find Silver Coins in Circulation

By Contributor

1943 Walking Liberty HalfIt is possible to find silver US coins in circulation. You rarely find them in your change anymore, but they are out there and you can get them at face value. Here’s how to do it.

Silver Kennedy halves found in 2008US quarters and dimes were made of 90% silver up until 1964. Since then, they have been made of the copper-nickel sandwich we see every day. A common silver dime is worth about $1 and a quarter is worth about $2 in melt value today according to coinflation.com. So it would be worthwhile to find them. Half dollars were also 90% silver up until 1964. Those are worth about $5 each. What many people don’t realize is that halves continued to be made of 40% silver from 1965 through 1970, and those are worth about $2 each also. All very interesting, but how do we find them?

Silver coins found in 7 boxes of dimes (17,500)The key is you have to search through a lot of coins to find the silver coins. That means that unless you access a lot of coins at work for some reason, you need to get them from a bank. No problem, just go in and ask for a few rolls of coins and search through them. A roll of halves is $10, quarters are also $10, and dimes are $5.

Silver coins can be foundYour best bets are the dimes and halves. There are a lot of dimes and quarters in circulation. A dime is small enough that you may not notice a silver one, so some slip though everyday commerce, and that’s why you can find them. Silver quarters are scarcer because they are bigger and more easily noticed. So there are not as many to find. Half dollars basically don’t circulate, but they are still made and are sitting in the banks. Since people don’t pull them out of everyday change, you can find them in bulk lots from the bank. I recommend you try some of each and see what you think. You may hear this hobby referred to as coin roll hunting by people who practice it.

50 Rolls of dimesHere are some practical tips for searching for silver coins using this method. Get rolls from a bank you have an account at. If you start asking for a lot of rolls, some banks will want to charge you a fee if you don’t have an account. The coins are delivered to the banks in boxes. You can order boxes from a teller if you want to search a lot of coins. A box of halves costs $500, a box of quarters is also $500, and a box of dimes costs $250.

If your bank has a free coin counter, that is the easiest way to return the coins after searching. If you can unroll the end and put the coins back in after searching, that is good too. If not, sometimes the bank will give you free paper rolls. It is recommended to dump the coins back at a different branch than you pick up from, just to keep the tellers happy. I brought them some chocolates over the Holidays, and they have always treated me nicely.

Proof Kennedy Half found in a bank rollYou can get some coin collecting books and try to fill them up with every date in the series. This is a lot of fun to do with your kids. You can sell the silver coins to coin dealers, but you’ll get a better price on Craigslist or Ebay.

All the silver coins pictured in this article were found recently using this method. It’s really a thrill to pick a nice shiny silver coin out of a roll. Finding silver in circulation is a form of treasure hunting that many thought was long gone.

Good luck and happy hunting!


Silver S mint coins are still made each year for Proof sets. You can occasionally find proof coins as well, they are stamped on polished dies as seen above. The picture doesn’t do it justice. They are beautiful coins. Nickels dated 1942-1945 are 35% silver also, the nickel was needed for the war effort in World War 2.


Wash your hands after searching for silver coins or any coins, they can be quite dirty.




There are several thousand known minerals in nature (with estimates ranging from 2,000 to 7,000), but fewer than a hundred are considered gem minerals. Of these, only about a dozen or so are actually valuable enough to be important gemstones on the world market. In order to be considered a gemstone, a mineral must first of all be beautiful. In addition, it must be hard and durable. Its value increases if it is also rare.

The beauty of a gem is measured in terms of its clarity, brilliance, and color. Its natural beauty can be enhanced by the way it is cut. There are two basic kinds of gem cuts: faceted and cabochon. The faceted cut has many flat cut surfaces (facets) with an overall shape that might be round, oval, square, rectangular, or pear-shaped. Faceted cuts are preferred for brilliant transparent stones such as diamond. The cabochon cut has a smooth rounded top, usually with a flat base, and it is mainly used for opaque or translucent stones.

Hardness is measured using the Mohs’ scale, on which 10 is hardest. (Diamond has a hardness of 10.) Gemstones should have a Mohs’ hardness of 6 or more. A really durable gem should have a hardness of at least 7, which is the hardness of quartz. Table 1 shows the hardness of some familiar minerals on the Mohs’ scale.

The value of a gemstone depends on its beauty and its rarity, but also the size of the stone. Size is measured in terms of weight using the carat as a unit. A carat is 0.2 grams (0.007 ounces). (A 10-carat diamond weighs 2 grams, or 0.07 ounces.) There are 100 points in a carat, so a 30-point diamond weighs 0.3 carat, or 0.06 grams (0.002 ounces). Since gemstones vary in density (weight per unit volume), several different 1-carat stones may vary in size, the stones with the greatest density being smaller than the others.

Some Important Gemstones

Diamond is the hardest substance known to occur in nature, measuring 10 on the Mohs’ scale. It is pure carbon in a tightly packed cubic structure. Diamonds are usually graded on the basis of four Cs: carat, cut, clarity, and color. Carat refers to the stone’s weight and degree of flawlessness. As for color, diamonds are usually colorless, but sometimes they do exhibit color. The famous Hope diamond, for example, is blue. Most diamonds come from mines in Africa, especially southern Africa, although Russiaand Australia also have diamond mines. Industrial-grade diamonds have even been made synthetically at very high pressures and temperatures. A number of other softer colorless stones are often sold as imitation diamonds.

Ruby is a variety of corundum (Al2O3) with a Mohs’ hardness of 9. Its red color results when chromic ions (Cr3+) replace some of the aluminum ions in the crystal. The finest rubies come from Myanmar(formerly Burma) or Kenya. Star rubies are stones with a special starlike appearance. They usually have a cabochon cut and appear to show a 6-pointed star due to microscopic inclusions. Rubies of very high quality are sometimes made synthetically.

Sapphire, like ruby, is made of corundum (Al2O3) and has a hardness of 9. However, instead of Cr impurities, the crystal contains iron and titanium


Mineral Chemical Composition Hardness
Talc Mg3Si4O10(OH)2 1
Gypsum CaSO4 2
Calcite CaCO3 3
Fluorite CaF2 4
Apatite 3 Ca3(PO4)2•CaF2 5
Feldspar K2Al2Si6O16 6
Quartz SiO2 7
Topaz Al2SiO4F2 8
Corundum Al2O3 9
Diamond C 10


Ions, which produce a blue color, ranging from very pale to very dark blue. Sapphires are found in Cambodia and other places in Southeast Asia and Australia, as well as Montana in the United States. Also, as in the case of rubies, there are star sapphires, which exhibit a 6-pointed star. Pure corundum (white sapphire) was the first gem to be produced synthetically. It was a poor substitute for diamond, however, because of its low refractive index. Adding about 0.1 percent chromium, however, produces rubies of excellent quality; and the addition of iron and titanium yields beautiful blue sapphires. Even star sapphires and rubies that rival natural stones can be made synthetically.

Emerald is a variety of beryl, a beryllium silicate, with a hardness of 7.5 to 8. It has a beautiful deep green color, and it is one of the most expensive gems, sometimes outranking diamond in value. The green color results from small amounts of chromic oxide (Cr2O3). The oldest emerald mines were in Egypt near the Red Sea, but the best emerald mines today are in Colombia. There are others in BrazilPakistan, and Africa; synthetic emeralds of excellent quality have also been manufactured.


Aquamarine, like emerald, is a transparent variety of beryl, or beryllium silicate. Its light blue to blue-green color results from small amounts of iron in the crystal. Like most beryl stones, it measures 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs’ hardness scale. Most aquamarine gemstones come from Brazil.

Topaz is a rather rare silicate mineral with a Mohs’ hardness of 8. It comes in many colors from yellow to pink to purple to blue, depending on what ions are present in the crystal. It can even be colorless. However, the favorite variety is orange to brown in color and called “imperial topaz.” Much of the best topaz comes from Brazil. The gem called London blue topaz can be made from the colorless variety by treatment with heat and radiation.

Cubic zirconia (ZrO2), with a Mohs’ hardness of 8, is a beautiful, usually colorless, stone that is made synthetically. Although not as hard as diamond, cubic zirconia has much fire and brilliance, and it is popular as an imitation diamond. Zirconia normally has a monoclinic crystalline structure at room temperature, but when heated to about 2,300°C (4,172°F), it takes on a cubic structure. Ordinarily, it would revert to the monoclinic structure on cooling, but the addition of yttrium oxide (Y2O3) or calcium oxide (CaO) Can stabilize the zirconia so that it retains the cubic structure at room temperature. Cubic zirconia has optical properties very close to those of diamond, and it is clearly the best of all the various diamond imitations.

Zircon is native zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4) that exhibits beautiful transparent crystals and a Mohs’ hardness of 7.5. The tetragonal crystals are usually brownish yellow in color. Also known as jargon or jargoon, zircon is a stable and durable silicate crystal. Small crystals of zircon are among the oldest mineral grains ever found on Earth.

Opal is a hydrous silica (SiO2), sometimes thought of as an amorphous silica gel. It is a fairly soft gem, measuring only 5 to 6 on the Mohs’ scale. It is relatively common in nature except in its “precious” form, which comes mainly from Australia. In Switzerland, since 1970, opal of precious quality has been made synthetically. Usually cut in the cabochon shape to permit its rainbowlike display of color, opals come in white, black, and fire varieties. “Black” opals are dark gray to blue, and fire opals, which are more transparent than other opals, are usually orange-red in color.

Amethyst is a variety of quartz (SiO2) that is violet to purple in color, probably because of iron and manganese impurities. It measures 7 on the Mohs’ hardness scale and is obtained from many places, but mainly from India and Brazil. It should not be confused with oriental amethyst, which is a purple native variety of alumina (Al2O3).

Spinel is a colorless magnesium aluminate (MgAl2O4) of cubic structure. It is hard and durable, but, like white sapphire, it is not a good diamond substitute because it has a low refractive index and lacks brilliance. However, it is readily doped to produce other gems of various colors. Artificial ruby, for example, is often natural red spinel, and most synthetic blue sapphires on the market are actually blue spinel.

Peridot is the gem variety of olivine, a magnesium silicate containing iron (about 9 Mg atoms for every Fe atom). Peridot is usually transparent,With a color ranging from greenish yellow to brownish green. Much peridot comes from an island in the Red Sea, but it is also found in Myanmar and an Apache reservation in Arizona.

Garnet is actually a group of related silicates containing various amounts of magnesium, calcium, aluminum, iron, manganese, and chromium. Garnets have a hardness of 6.5 to 7.5, depending on their composition, and their color also varies along with their composition. The popular dark red garnets are found in many gem sites in the Czech Republic, but garnets of many colors are also found in other parts of the world, such as India, Tanzania, Russia, and Brazil.

Tourmaline is a highly complicated silicate, with a wide range of compositions and colors. It probably exhibits more colors than any other kind of gemstone. Sometimes there are several different colors in the same crystal. “Watermelon” tourmaline, for example, is green on the outside but red in the middle.

Lapis lazuli is a deep blue gemstone that is a complex copper silicate mineral varying widely in composition. It often contains sparkles of iron pyrite or calcite. The best source is probably Afghanistan. A pale blue variety is found in Chile. Some material sold as lapis lazuli is actually artificially colored jasper from Germany.


Onyx is a striped variety of the common silicate mineral called agate, with alternating black and white bands. It comes mainly from India and South America. Sardonyx is a variety of onyx with brown and white bands.

“Organic” Gems

The aforementioned gemstones, unless they are synthetic, usually occur in underground deposits from which they are mined. However, there are some gems that come from once living material.

Pearls are little spheres of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) that form in mollusks (invertebrate shellfish) such as oysters, usually because of some sort of irritation. They are normally white or off-white in color, but they can have bluish or pink tints, and sometimes they are dark gray. Although many pearls form naturally, pearl production has been greatly increased by the “cultured” pearl industry, which raises beds of oysters into which irritants are routinely introduced. The irritants are usually bits of mother-of-pearl, the lining that forms inside oyster shells.

Amber is fossilized tree resin that hardened over millions of years and now is valued as a gem. Baltic amber is thought to be hardened sap from pine trees. It is normally yellow-brown in color, but the shades vary from almost white to almost black. Although sometimes completely clear, amber often contains inclusions of insects or other matter, often considered desirable. Much amber is obtained along the shores of the Baltic Sea, but it is also found along the coasts of Sicily, Romania, and Myanmar.

Coral, like pearls, is calcium carbonate (CaCO3) derived from living matter. It is the outer shells of small marine animals. It occurs in many colors, from white to deep pink and red. The greatest demand is for red coral. The best coral comes from the Mediterranean Sea, along the coasts of Algeria and Tunisia.

Ivory is a bonelike material that comes from the tusks of animals (elephant, walrus, hippopotamus). It has become such a highly prized material that there are unscrupulous poachers who kill these animals in order to steal their tusks. The pale cream color of new ivory becomes darker with age and turns yellow. Ivory is brittle, but it does not peel as do its plastic substitutes.

Jet is actually just a very hard and dense kind of lignite coal. It was probably plant material millions of years ago that has become fossilized and blackened over time. It often comes from northeast England, where it is derived from fossil driftwood buried under the sea. Its primary drawback as a gemstone is that it will burn (since it is basically just highly polished coal).


Ancient Greeks called amber elektron. When they rubbed it with a cloth, it became charged and attracted bits of paper. The word “electricity” derives from the Greek word elektron.



11 Fun Facts About Gemstones

11 Fun Facts About Gemstones

Photo via http://ow.ly/SDye4

Photo via http://ow.ly/SDye4

I always knew that I wanted to work in the jewelry industry because of my love of all things sparkly and colorful. Although my birthstone is the ruby, I have been known to rock an occasional sapphire, emerald, opal, or blue topaz (among many others) every now and then as well. There are so many interesting facts that make me love gemstones, and I’ll list my top 11 here for you!

1.) Cleopatra’s Favorite Gemstone

The ancient Egyptians treasured and valued green gemstones. It is believed that at that point in time, people found it hard to tell the difference between the two beautiful green stones, emerald and peridot, so they occasionally mistook one for the other. Cleopatra was known to favor the peridot. Although she also loved emeralds, since they can look similar, she may have accidentally been adorned with emeralds as well as her favorite.

2.) Garnets and Pomegranates

Photo via http://ow.ly/SDyw2

Photo via http://ow.ly/SDyw2


Some folks believe that the garnet’s name was derived from a word meaning “blood” because of its deep red color. Instead, the garnet is named from the pomegranate because of the blood-red seeds that are found on the inside of the fruit. The pomegranate is believed to represent one’s own life, dying, and rebirth.

3.) The Softest Gemstone

The softest and lightest gemstone on earth is amber. It is so light that it is able to float when in salt water. It is a stone that is a result of the sap and resin from prehistoric trees that have been fossilized. In order to be considered the gemstone that is amber, the fossilized sap needs to be at least 30 million years old. Most jewelry created with amber is made of Baltic amber, which is known to be the strongest type.

4.) The Hardest Gemstone

The hardest gemstone is the diamond. The only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. It measures a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale for gemstones, which means it is as hard as a gemstone can be. This is why diamonds are suitable for everyday wear in an engagement ring, because not much will damage the actual stone.

5.) Largest Gemstone With Facets

The largest faceted gemstone in the world is a record-holding topaz that was found in Brazil and weighs almost 37,000 carats.

6.) The REAL Heart of the Ocean

James Cameron’s Titanic was a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet among other great actors, but it wasn’t entirely a fictional movie. The Heart of the Ocean is a beautiful (but fictitious) sapphire necklace that sinks to the bottom of the ocean when the boat meets its demise after hitting a glacier. But actually, there was a beautiful sapphire necklace that went down when the real Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean in April 1912.

Henry Morley, age 40 and married, was having an affair with his unmarried employee, Kate Phillips, age 20. The two had boarded the beautiful ship to sail to America to start a new life together. Morley had gifted a beautiful sapphire necklace, similar to the one in the movie, to Phillips right before the ship sank. Unfortunately, and much like in the movie, Morley wasn’t able to swim and died that night, while Phillips was able to get aboard a lifeboat and survived, although the sapphire necklace did not make the trip onto the lifeboat. But on a slightly happier note, it turns out she was carrying his baby at the time and had a healthy baby girl named Ellen several months later.

7.) Pearls Take Time

Think about how many beautiful pearls are being worn by jewelry-loving people all over the world. Each one of those pearls took between a year and three years to come to fruition. When a pearl is cultivated, a small piece of shell or a bead, also known as the nucleus, is planted within the mollusk in order to grow into a beautiful pearl. These pearls are then harvested in a couple of years after they grow into the perfect size to create a wonderful piece of pearl jewelry.

8.) The Star of Asia

Photo via http://ow.ly/SDyKO

Photo via http://ow.ly/SDyKO


Star of Asia is a beautiful cabochon star sapphire that currently resides in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington. It is a 330-carat stone that came from the Magok mine in Burma. Its color is rich and the stone is clear, and it is one of the biggest star sapphires on earth. It came from the maharajah of Jodhpur to the museum in the early 1960s.

9.) The Largest Diamond

The largest diamond discovered within the United States is known as the Uncle Sam Diamond. It originally weighed more than 40 carats and was found in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, in the early 1920s at the Prairie Creek Pipe mine. The man who discovered the diamond was Wesley Oley Basham, but his buddies called him Uncle Sam, creating the new name for his discovery, the Uncle Sam Diamond. Basham worked for the Arkansas Diamond Corporation. The mine was later renamed Crater of Diamonds State Park. The stone was eventually cut into an emerald-cut diamond that weighs more than 12 carats.

10.) Striped by Nature

The agate is a gemstone that has natural bands of colors, creating stripes that give the stone individuality and creativity. These stripes appear because of other minerals, such as quartz or chalcedony, within the actual gemstone that give it a “banded” appearance.

Photo via Flickr (pavdw)

Photo via Flickr (pavdw)


11.) Most Colorful Gemstone

Photo via http://ow.ly/SDzlX

Photo via http://ow.ly/SDzlX


The opal and the tourmaline both hold the record for the most colorful gemstone. The tourmaline is also known as the “Rainbow Gem” because of the fact that is the only gem that can come in every color. The opal is also a colorful stone, but some opals can be colorless. Opals can have flashes of color within their black or white background appearance.


What Gold Coins and/or Bullion should I buy?

What Gold Coins and/or Bullion should I buy?

… the ultimate shopping guide to gold and silver

This gold (and silver) shopping guide introduces you into the world of physical gold. At the end you will have an understanding of the different gold products, how to differentiate them and how to buy best value for your money.

There are two main categories of buying gold: Collectors Gold and Investment Gold.

The two main categories of buying gold: Collectors Gold and Investment Gold. 

Buying Physical Gold

Collectors’ coins also called ‘numismatic’ coins are from the Middle Age, Roman Empire or specifically minted for numismatists. The coins are very old, rare and especially traded by collector’s. These coins usually have a high premium to the gold spot price. It’s basically like a rare stamp.

CelticGold does not offer these kind of coins. All products offered in our shop are in the second category: Investment gold.

Investment gold is produced in high numbers and therefore as close to the spot price as possible. The investor is interested to buy as close as possible to the spot price.

Investment gold has in itself two categories that describe the ‘make’ of the gold product: Coins or Bullion, bullion is also called bars.



Mints and Producers

These are the World’s most reputable producers of Gold Coins and Bars:

Gold Coins and Bars Producers

For a professional bullion dealer there are two ways to buy: direct from the mint or from one of the few largest distributors worldwide.

At CelticGold we have a lowest price philosophy and receive our products only from the largest banks and bullion dealerships in the European market. This actually allows us to offer lower rates than compared to receiving the goods directly.

A coin is always minted by a state owned mint, such as the US Mint for the Eagle gold coins or the Austrian Mint that produces the Vienna Philharmonics gold and silver coins. A coin is usually round and goes from 1 gram to 31,1 kilo.

bar or bullion is produced by private corporations and banks. The biggest companies are Heraeus in Hanau, Germany, Degussa/Umicore in Hanau, Germany, The Perth Mint in Perth, Australia and UBS in Switzerland.

A bar is usually square in shape and goes from 1 gram to 1 kilo for the private investor.

Generally is a bar due to lower manufacturing costs closer to the gold spot price and therefore a bit cheaper than a coin.

Coin Specifications: Fineness, Face Value, Purity, Weight and Fractional sizes

The fineness or purity is with the most coins and bars 24 carat or 999/1000. You will sometimes find a fineness of 999.9/1000 which is a bit higher than 999/1000 but still 24 carat.

The weights shown in our shop reflect the actual weight of the pure gold content. For example theKrugerrand contains 31.10 gram (1 Ounce) of pure gold but weighs 33.93 gram. That gives the Krugerrand a fineness of 22 karat or 916/1000. You find all this information in the product description of the gold product.

Almost all coins (except the Krugerrand) have a face value minted on the coin. A coin with a face value is automatically legal tender. This amount which is minted on the coin is the legal tender worthiness of the coin. Obviously a Vienna Philharmonic coin trading at around 1,300 Euro which reflects the value of the gold content and a face value of 100 Euro can only be described as delusional. Delusional because the real value is much higher than legal tender value. Minting a face value to the coin was invented in the 1800’s to generate more revenue for the government by accepting only the minted face value to pay for taxes.

By now you know that there is Collector’s gold and Investment gold. As a Gold Investor you go with investment gold. With Investment gold you can choose between coins or bullion, also called bars.

The worldwide most bought gold coins are: KrugerrandVienna PhilharmonicsMaple LeafAmerican Eagle and Australian Kangaroo. The coins are minted in different sizes mainly from 1/10oz up to 1oz as shown with the Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins here in this picture.


Maple Leaf gold coins

Find here an overview with direct links to our sortiment of the world’s most circulated coins:

1oz Maple Leaf gold 1oz Krugerrand 1oz Philharmonics 1oz Austr. Kangaroo 30g Panda
1/2oz Maple Leaf 1/2oz Krugerrand 1/2oz Philharmonics 1/2oz Kangaroo 15g Panda
1/4oz Maple Leaf 1/4oz Krugerrand 1/4oz Philharmonics 1/4oz Kangaroo 8g Panda
1/10oz Maple Leaf 1/10oz Krugerrand 1/10oz Philharmonics 1/10oz Kangaroo 3g Panda
1/20oz Maple Leaf 1/20oz Kangaroo 1g Panda
More gold coins and bars
Swiss Vreneli 100 Euro German Perth Mint Gold Bullion 1oz American Eagle  Britannia
Heraeus Gold Bullion 1/2oz American Eagle Sovereign Gold
1/4oz American Eagle
1/10oz American Eagle


Five types of Gold Investors – Which group are you in?

I have 10,000 Euro, Pounds, Dollars to invest– What should I buy?

When you like to convert 10,000 in paper-currency in gold, we recommend an assortment of different coins and denominations. For example:

Ten 1/10oz gold coins, such as the Maple LeafKrugerrandPhilharmonics
Five 1oz gold coins, such as the PandaMaple LeafKrugerrandPhilharmonicsAmerican Eagle
50 1oz Silver coins, such as the Maple Leaf

This gives you a nice assortment of the most renowned coins and you have different denominations as well.

Gold Investor Starter mix:

The gold investor starter is curious about the shiny metal and buys whatever he or she sees and likes. A large variety of designs, years and motives are key. Celticgold offers over 90 different investment coins, a coin for every taste.


The Private Trader

The private trader searches for best price ratios and likes to trade physical gold with the up and down movement of the market. Bullion is the best option here.


The Paper-Currency concerned buyer

The paper currency concerned buyer hedges against the devaluation of currency in the worldwide fiat-money system by buying gold and silver. The paper currency concerned buyer starts with a minimum assortment of:

100 of 1/10oz gold coins and
500 of 1oz silver coins

He or she then adds 1oz gold coins to the portfolio with adding 1 kilo bars after the first 100oz of gold are filled up with coins. This group of customers sees the need of owning silver and fractional gold coins to barter with if a crash of the banking systems occurs.


The Moving out of the banking system buyer

This type of buyer is mostly keen on silver but also has a focus on small gold coins. This buyer believes in a systemic crash of the banking system and hedges with the physical ownership of gold and silver against this scenario.

He or she also spreads and stores outside of the home country in different places.

As a professional bullion dealer Goldwiser specialises in helping to develop an individual solution for buying and delivery/storage.


Diamond basic attributes – the 4Cs

Diamond basic attributes – the 4Cs

4C represents Color, Clarity, Cutting and Carat. The 4Cs are the shared common attributes used by different grading institutes, to determine the quality and value of each diamond. Therefore, it is crucial to know the 4Cs before buying a diamond.

1) Carat

Carat is the weighting unit of a diamond, as below:
1 carat = 0.2 grams = 0.007 oz.

Bigger diamonds are rarer, as such, the value per carat will also be higher. For example, the value of a 1 carat diamond would be much higher than the total of two 0.5 carat diamonds.

The weight of a diamond affects its size, although the same weight may lead to different sizes, the following table shows the approximate size to weight ratio:

2) Clarity

Diamond with no magnificationDiamond at 10x magnification

Clarity refers to the inclusion and blemishes of a diamond; the level of clarity is determined by the number, size, place, whether it is obvious and the general effect of those inclusions and blemishes to the appearance of a diamond. Since diamonds are formed naturally, the formation process would usually include some other substances which lead to so called crystals, feathers inside a diamond. Better clarity gives a higher value of a diamond.

The GIA Clarity Scale contains 11 grades. In determining a clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, color or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.


Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification

Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance


Since the diamond with “Included” grading includes quite obvious inclusion, we do not recommend and also do not offer diamonds with Grade I1 , I2 & I3 , except customers request us to provide.

3) Color

It refers to the level of colorless of a diamond. The rating is from D to Z. For D color, the best color level, representing colorless and continues with increasing presence of color to the letter Z, or light yellow or brown, as shown below:



Many of these color distinctions are so subtle as to be invisible to the untrained eye. But these slight differences make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.

4) Cutting

Color and clarity are born naturally with a diamond; however, on the other hand, Cutting is determined by the craftsmanship the diamond receives, which is an important factor to lead the diamond to sparkling perfection. The cutting factor involves complex determination, as a value factor, though, it refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish.

Too Shallow Ideal Cut Too Deep

The proportions of a diamond refer to the relationships between table size, crown angle and pavilion depth. A wide range of proportion combinations are possible, and these ultimately affect the stone’s interaction with light.

GIA diamond graded cutting into 5 categories, from Excellent to Poor.



Diamond Clarity

Diamond Clarity

Buying Tips

FL: No visible blemishes, < 1% of diamonds.
Inclusions are not visible under 10X, rarest clarity grade.


Diamond Clarity Grade Chart


FL, IF Graded Diamond

Flawless, Internally Flawless

Under 10x magnification, inclusions are not visible, rarest clarity grade.

  • FL: No visible blemishes, <1% of diamonds
  • IF: Very slight blemishes, <3% of diamonds

VVS Graded Diamond

Very, Very Slightly Included

Characteristics miniscule and difficult to see under 10x magnification, even to a trained eye.

  • VVS1: Few miniscule inclusions
  • VVS2: Slightly more miniscule inclusions
VS1, VS2

VS Graded Diamond

Very Slightly Included

Minor inclusions ranging from difficult to somewhat easy to see at 10x magnification.

  • VS1: Difficult to see minor inclusions
  • VS2: Somewhat easier to see minor inclusions
SI1, SI2

SI Graded Diamond

Slightly Included

Inclusions noticeable at 10x. Best value. SI2 inclusions may be detectable to a discerning unaided eye.

  • SI1: Inclusions occasionally visible to the keen eye without magnification
  • SI2: Inclusions typically visible from the pavilion, and often seen from the top, without magnification

I1 Graded Diamond


Diamonds may have more obvious inclusions at 10X and may be visible to the eye. Blue Nile offers a limited selection of jewelry with I1 clarity diamonds..

  • I1: Loose diamonds of this grade not offered by Blue Nile
I2, I3

>I2, I3 Graded Diamond

Clarity grades not carried by Blue Nile.

Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification, usually visible to the unaided eye.

More Expert Tips

  • Select an “eye-clean” diamond – one that has no imperfections visible to the unaided-eye through the crown. An excellent value, diamonds of this clarity are much less expensive than flawless (FL) or internally flawless (IF) diamonds, which are extremely rare and command higher prices.
  • If you’re considering a diamond with an SI clarity grade, call to speak to a diamond and jewelry consultant who will review the diamond to ensure the imperfections are not visible to the unaided eye.


15 Things Everyone Should Know Before Buying An Engagement Ring

15 Things Everyone Should Know Before Buying An Engagement Ring

Everything you need to know to put a ring on it.

1. Understand what EXACTLY it is that you’re looking for in a diamond.

Remember the four C's (carat, clarity, color, and cut).

Remember the four C’s (carat, clarity, color, and cut).

2. Know what different size carats would look like on your finger.

Carats refer to how much the diamond weighs. Looking for a ring with a more delicate feel? Consider a smaller diamond (like a .40 carat).

Carats refer to how much the diamond weighs. Looking for a ring with a more delicate feel? Consider a smaller diamond (like a .40 carat).

3. There’s a big difference between a 1 carat and a 2 carat diamond.

If the difference between the two feels too great, you might want to consider something in between.

If the difference between the two feels too great, you might want to consider something in between.

4. Get a handle on diamond and gemstone cuts.

Maybe you've always pictured a radiant diamond, but have you thought about asscher?

Maybe you’ve always pictured a radiant diamond, but have you thought about asscher?

5. If you’re considering a diamond, think about if you want it cut for *sparkle* or ~color~.

Round brilliant and old European cuts both have either 57 or 58 facets, but the placement of those facets gives each cut a unique look, according to jewelry brand Erstwhile. While vintage diamonds were cut for color, modern round brilliant diamonds are cut for sparkle.

Round brilliant and old European cuts both have either 57 or 58 facets, but the placement of those facets gives each cut a unique look, according to jewelry brand Erstwhile. While vintage diamonds were cut for color, modern round brilliant diamonds are cut for sparkle.

6. Here’s a closer look at the difference between the two:

A brilliant diamond or gemstone is cut to have numerous facets on the top and bottom of the stone, which makes it reflect and refract a lot of light. A great way to think of a brilliant diamond: "If you were to draw a diamond on a piece of paper, it has that pointy bottom," Rachel Thames, buyer and manager of Brooklyn-based jewelry store Catbird, told BuzzFeed.

A brilliant diamond or gemstone is cut to have numerous facets on the top and bottom of the stone, which makes it reflect and refract a lot of light. A great way to think of a brilliant diamond: “If you were to draw a diamond on a piece of paper, it has that pointy bottom,”

7. If you want a big stone (without the $$$), look at rose cuts.

You know how we said that brilliant cut diamonds have that pointy bottom? Well, a rose cut has a flat bottom, which means that the stone can have a large appearance while still weighing considerably less. "Prices tend to go down on a rose cut stone since you're getting less carat weight," jewelry designer Anna Sheffield told BuzzFeed.

You know how we said that brilliant cut diamonds have that pointy bottom? Well, a rose cut has a flat bottom, which means that the stone can have a large appearance while still weighing considerably less. “Prices tend to go down on a rose cut stone since you’re getting less carat weight,” jewelry designer Anna Sheffield

8. See how rose cuts compare to brilliant and old European cuts:

Rose cuts are slightly transparent, which can lead to a really delicate look. "Rose cuts catch the light beautifully, but in a more pretty and subtle way," Thames said.

Rose cuts are slightly transparent, which can lead to a really delicate look. “Rose cuts catch the light beautifully, but in a more pretty and subtle way,” Thames said.

9. If you want something a little more *unique*, check out salt and pepper — also known as grey or included — diamonds.

"In the diamond industry, they're not considered very practical so they tend to be a little less expensive," Sheffield said. But they're shimmery, textural, naturally occurring, and magical AF.

“In the diamond industry, they’re not considered very practical so they tend to be a little less expensive,” Sheffield said. But they’re shimmery, textural, naturally occurring, and magical AF.

10. If you want the grey diamond look for less, go for rutilated quartz.

The rutilated quartz stone (pictured above) has black turmaline crystals inside of it, which gives it that mock grey diamond feel. Since quartz is a semi-precious stone, it will cost considerably less than a diamond. Black diamonds also tend to be less expensive than white diamonds as they are *imperfect*.

The rutilated quartz stone (pictured above) has black turmaline crystals inside of it, which gives it that mock grey diamond feel. Since quartz is a semi-precious stone, it will cost considerably less than a diamond. Black diamonds also tend to be less expensive than white diamonds as they are *imperfect*.

11. If you were hoping for a pink diamond, take a look at morganite.

"Pink diamonds are extremely expensive because they're really rare, so morganite is a great way to get that clear pink look," Sheffield said. Morganite is a member of the beryl family (which includes emeralds), and it tends to be very *sparkly*. To play up the color, try setting it in a rose gold band.

“Pink diamonds are extremely expensive because they’re really rare, so morganite is a great way to get that clear pink look,” Sheffield said. Morganite is a member of the beryl family (which includes emeralds), and it tends to be very *sparkly*. To play up the color, try setting it in a rose gold band.

12. If you’re not into diamonds, check out diamond alternatives.

"You want to be careful with pearl and opal engagement rings," Thames said. "They're not built to wear everyday, so if you're out hiking you may want to take it off and wear a gold band that day."

“You want to be careful with pearl and opal engagement rings,” Thames said. “They’re not built to wear everyday, so if you’re out hiking you may want to take it off and wear a gold band that day.”

13. Know how to pick a damn perfect gemstone.

"For precious stones — like emeralds, sapphires, and rubies — there's a grading system where the more clarity and saturation it has, the nicer it is," Sheffield said. Learn about the gemstone grading system here.

“For precious stones — like emeralds, sapphires, and rubies — there’s a grading system where the more clarity and saturation it has, the nicer it is,” Sheffield said. Learn about the gemstone grading system here.

14. If you want an impressive AF-looking ring without the high price tag, get a halo.

A halo is a cluster of tiny diamonds encircling the center stone. "What you save in the center stone you can make up in for in other ways like having a halo," Sheffield said. Exhibit A: the roughly 1 carat stone above (with a halo) that looks just as big as the much pricier 2 carat stone. Also, if you have a rose cut stone that isn't as shiny, a halo is a great way to add some extra shimmer.

A halo is a cluster of tiny diamonds encircling the center stone. “What you save in the center stone you can make up in for in other ways like having a halo,” Sheffield said. Exhibit A: the roughly 1 carat stone above (with a halo) that looks just as big as the much pricier 2 carat stone. Also, if you have a rose cut stone that isn’t as shiny, a halo is a great way to add some extra shimmer.

15. Compare different types of gold to get the perfect color.

"The number before the 'k' refers to the actual percentage of gold in the band," Thames said. "The higher the karat, the more yellow intensity, the softer the metal is." If you're going for a higher karat gold, consider a thicker band.

“The number before the ‘k’ refers to the actual percentage of gold in the band,” Thames said. “The higher the karat, the more yellow intensity, the softer the metal is.” If you’re going for a higher karat gold, consider a thicker band.


Guide to Gemstones

Guide to Gemstones

Gemstones have played various roles in the myths and legends of human cultures throughout history. Some tell a story or are believed to have special powers, but all of them share a common beauty. Each gemstone is unique with a special color, birthplace and story. Gemstones come in every color of the rainbow and are gathered from all corners of the world, with each colored gemstone possessing a unique creation of beautiful color. Some gemstones have been treasured since before history began and others were only discovered recently. Join us as we explore the world of color gemstone jewelry.

Gemstone Index

Alexandrite Gemstone Jewelry


June Birthstone

If you love magic, especially the magic of science, you’ll love Alexandrite, the color-change gem. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish mossy green. Inside in lamplight, it is a red gem with a warm raspberry tone. You can watch it flick back and forth by switching from fluorescent to incandescent light. The value of the gemstone increases as the color change becomes more distinct.

It is truly spellbinding to see the spectacular changing colors in this wonderful gemstone; you just might feel some of the mysterious magic and lore ascribed to it. It’s said to strengthen intuition, aid in creativity and inspire the imagination.

Originally discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the 1830s, it’s now found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, but this gem is exceptionally rare and valuable.


Amethyst Gemstone Pendant


February Birthstone

The ancient Greeks and Romans believed Amethyst would ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, and keep the wearer clear headed and quick-witted. For centuries, Amethyst has been associated with many myths and legends as well as religions in numerous cultures.

Not only is it the beautiful color that makes this gem so popular but it is also widely available in difference shapes and sizes which makes it more affordable. Amethyst complements both warm and cool colors so it looks fabulous set in both yellow and white metals. This unique ability means it enhances almost every color in your wardrobe.


Aquamarine Gemstone Ring with Diamonds


March Birthstone

The name Aquamarine speaks for itself, meaning seawater. Aquamarine immediately brings to mind its stunning pastel sky blue or the bright color of the sea.

For centuries, this timeless gemstone has been a symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. Since this gemstone is the color of water and the sky, it is said to embody eternal life. It was long thought that Aquamarine has a soothing influence on married couples, making it a good anniversary gift.

Aquamarines are found in a range of blues; from a pale pastel to a greenish-blue to a deep color. Darker shades of blue are increasingly rare and in turn, make the value increase. Aquamarine is frequently a pastel gemstone but the color can be more intense in larger gemstones, smaller aquamarines tend to be less vivid.


Citrine Gemstone


This bright shining gem has said to be a gift from the sun. The name Citrine, which is French for “lemon”, fits well with its color range of juicy lemon yellow to a bright orangey brown. Most people choose a Citrine based on their personal preference, but some of the most sought-after Citrine gemstones have a clear, radiant yellowish to brownish red color.

In ancient times, Citrine was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. Today, Citrine is known as the merchant’s stone and is associated with success and prosperity.

Citrine is one of the most popular and affordable gemstones. It is relatively plentiful and available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, including very large sizes. These reasons make it a great gem for that big, bold, statement piece.


Diamond Jewelry


April Birthstone

Since ancient times, diamonds have been admired objects of desire. Formed one hundred miles beneath the Earth’s surface over a billion years ago, diamonds are the hardest gem of all. Diamonds have a long history of folklore; some of which say diamonds were created when bolts of lightning struck rocks, and others said the gem possessed healing powers. For centuries, diamonds have been adorned by women and men and regarded as the ultimate gift and a symbol of eternal love.

Today, diamonds are still admired all around the world. Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was no standard by which diamonds could be evaluated. GIA created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds: ColorClarityCut, and Carat Weight. Today, the 4C’s of Diamond Quality are the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world.

Finding the perfect diamond is not something to take lightly. Visit our Diamond Education section for tips and information on how to find the diamond that is right for you.


Emerald Gemstone Ring with Diamonds


May Birthstone

Green is the color of Spring and has long symbolized love and rebirth. As the gem of Venus, it was also considered to aid in fertility.

Cleopatra, Egypt’s tempestuous female monarch was as famous for wearing Emeralds in her time as Liz Taylor is for wearing diamonds in our time. Ancient Egyptian mummies were often buried with an Emerald carved with the symbol of verdure– flourishing greenness–on their necks to symbolize eternal youth.

The deeper and more vivid the color of green, the more valuable the gemstone. The most valuable and beautiful Emeralds exhibit an intense bluish hue in addition to their basic bold green color. Emeralds, among the rarest of gems, are almost always found with birthmarks, known as inclusions. Some inclusions are expected and do not detract from the value of the stone as much as with other gemstones.


Fancy Colored Diamond Jewelry


Fancy color diamonds are true miracles of nature. The geological conditions needed to create these colors are rare, making them scarce and highly prized. They come in pale pinks and blues, bright yellows, oranges, greens, reds, and brown colors like cognac and champagne.

Fancy-color diamonds are evaluated by their color intensity, unlike colorless diamonds that are graded on their fire and brilliance. Shades that are deep and distinct in color are rated higher than light or pale shades. GIA describes color in terms of hue, tone and saturation. Hue refers to the diamond’s color, tone refers to the color’s lightness or darkness, and saturation refers the color’s depth. Using highly controlled viewing conditions and color comparisons, a fancy color grader selects one of 27 hues, then describes tone and saturation with terms such as “Fancy Light,” “Fancy Intense,” and “Fancy Vivid.” This color system was developed by GIA and is used worldwide.

Today, yellow diamonds are thought of as “traditional” and are among the most abundant of all “fancy colored” diamonds. Red, green, purple, and orange diamonds are generally the rarest, followed by blue and pink.


Garnet Gemstones Ring


January Birthstone

This gem is available in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red Bohemian Garnet to the vibrant greens of the Russian Demantoid and African Tsavorite. We also see it appearing in the oranges and browns of Spessartite and Hessonite from Namibia and Sri Lanka and the subtle pinks and purples of Rhododendron.

Legend says Garnets light up the night and protect their owners from nightmares. Garnets have long been carried by travelers to protect against accidents far from home. Garnet is the birthstone for January but with its stunning variety of colors and its mystical powers it has been given as a gift for all occasions for centuries.


Jade Gemstone Jewelry


Jade has been treasured in China as the royal gemstone since at least 2950 BC. Thought to preserve the body after death, Jade can be found in emperors’ tombs from thousands of years ago. To this day, many people believe that jade will protect them from harm.

Jade is known for it’s vivid green and shimmery, smooth shapes but it also comes in lavender, pink, yellow, and white. The most common shape is the flat, donut-shaped disc called a pi, which is commonly worn as a necklace.

Wearing a stunning piece of Jade jewelry is sure to make anyone ‘green’ with envy.


Blue Lapis Gemstones


Known to man as early as 400B.C., Lapis Lazuli has been a long time treasured gemstone. Used to create the beautiful ocean blues as well as the vibrant sky blues in pantings during the Renaissance, Lapis Lazuli is a colored gemstone that has been revered for centuries.

Its name means “blue stone” and it couldn’t be more accurate. Lapis Lazuli is a dark blue microcrystalline rock that often sparkles with golden pyrite inclusions. This stunning gem is reminiscent of the stars in the midnight sky. Lapis Lazuli was also thought to be a strong medicine. The Romans believed this gem to be a powerful aphrodisiac. In the Middle Ages, it was thought to keep the limbs healthy and free the soul from error, envy and fear.

Once you cast your sights on this gem you’re sure to be entranced by its beauty.

» Take a peek: Lapis Lazuli Jewelry

» Read More: Trends in Blue Lapis


Moonstone Gemstone Jewelry


Ancient Romans believed that this shimmering rock was formed from frozen moonlight, giving it the name Moonstone.

In colors ranging from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink and clarity that goes from transparent to translucent. The best Moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colorless body color. Found in India and Madagascar, rainbow Moonstone has a variety of colors, from pink to yellow, to peach, purple, and blue.

Fine Moonstone is quite rare and becoming rarer. We’ve searched to the ends of the earth to find some of the world’s most stunning Moonstone.

» Take a peek: Moonstone Jewelry


Lapis Lazuli Gemstone Jewelry


With its dazzling brilliance and soft colors of clear pink, peach, and hot fuchsia it’s no wonder it is known as the stone of divine love. The delicate pink gem promotes love and prosperity.

With shades of pink dominating the fashion industry, Morganite is a favorite for women of all ages. Coming in pinks from subtle lavenders to bright fuchsias and even pastel pink apricot blends, Morganite exudes charm and tenderness. Its mass appeal is due to its versatile pink colors that compliment all skin tones and can be set in white or yellow gold.

» Take a peek: Morganite Jewelry


Onyx Gemstone Jewelry


Today when we think of Onyx we often preface the word with black to distinguish it from other varieties of Onyx. This gem comes in white, reddish brown, brown and banded. A variety of Onyx that is reddish brown with white and lighter reddish bands is known as sardonyx.

Black never goes out of style, which is why you can never go wrong with black Onyx. Its appealing rich black color can be both classic and contemporary.


Black Opal Gemstone Jewelry


October Birthstone

In ancient times, the Opal was known as the Queen of Gems because it encompassed the colors of all other gems. Each Opal is truly one-of-a-kind; as unique as our fingerprints. Some prefer the calming flashes of blues and greens; others love the bright reds and yellows. With its rainbow of colors, as you turn and move the Opal the color plays and shifts, giving you a gem that can be worn with a plethora of ensembles.

Australia’s Lightning Ridge is known for its rare and stunning black Opals. The ideal Opal is one that displays broad patterns covering the surface, with all the colors of the rainbow, including red. Since Opals are the most individual gemstone with its range of colors be sure to choose one that showcases your color preference and pattern.

» Take a peek: Opal Jewelry


Paraiba Tourmaline Gemstone Jewelry


Paraiba Tourmaline gemstones have become one of the most precious and valuable gems in the world, even though it was only discovered in the 1980’s. Its rare shades of electric blues and greens are reminiscent of the blue ocean shores of Paraiba, where this gem is mined. These unique, vivid blue and green colors are not found in any other gemstone in the world.

» Take a peek: Paraiba Tourmaline Jewelry


Pearl Jewelry


June Birthstone

In all of human history, mankind has admired, even worshipped, pearls. Persian mythology called them “the tears of the gods.” Ancient Chinese legend claims the moon holds the power to create pearls, instilling them with its celestial glow and mystery.

Pearls are unique because they are the only gemstone formed within a living creature. Since natural pearls are rare and difficult to recover from the ocean’s depths, man invented the technique of culturing salt and freshwater pearls from mollusks carefully seeded with irritants similar to those produced by nature.

Cultured pearls come in many beautiful colors, from pale cream and white to rose, lilac, green, gold, gray, and black. There are four main types of cultured pearls: AkoyaSouth SeaTahitian, and Freshwater each having unique qualities that separates them for the other.

Today pearls are both classic and contemporary; a strand of white pearls can be timeless but a bracelet of chocolate pearls is more modern. One thing to keep in mind with pearls, no matter the color or size, they can be worn every day or they can compliment the most formal attire.

» Take a peek: Pearl Jewelry


Peridot Gemstone Pendant


August Birthstone

Peridot is one of the few gemstones that exists in only one color; a distinctive signature lime green. In ancient times it was believed that Peridot was a gift of Mother Nature to celebrate the annual creation of a new world. When presented as a gift, Peridot is said to bring the wearer magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares. It is also said to instill power, and influence through the wearing of the gemstone.

Today, most Peridot comes from Arizona but it is also found in China, Myanmar, and Pakistan. Peridot is available in several colors ranging from yellowish green to brown, but the bright lime greens and olive greens are the most desired. If you prefer citrus tones or earth tones, you’ll find that Peridot belongs in your jewelry collection.

Peridot gemstones smaller than three carats are very common but gemstones over five carats are rare and therefore have a higher value. Peridot in 10 to 15 carats are even more rare, but provide a big and bold look for an affordable price.

» Take a Peek: Peridot Gemstone Jewelry


Rubellite Gemstone Jewelry


Rubellite Tourmaline, also known as Red Tourmaline, is a combination of vibrant pink and ruby red color. Intense colors that vary in hue from pale to shocking pink to a bold ruby-red, sometimes with a violet tint. While some in the gem world consider “Rubellite” to be merely a trade name for all deep pink/red Tourmalines, the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICGA) defines the criterion for Rubellites by the way they behave in daylight and artificial light. A true Rubellite shines just as intensely in artificial light as it does in daylight.

Its vibrant color reflects passion, energy, and life and it is believed that Rubellite helps bring emotional balance and calm. Whether you prefer subtle pale pinks or hot, vivid shades of magenta, this gem is sure to start a spark.

» Take a peek: Rubellite Gemstone Jewelry


Ruby Burma Gemstone Ring


July Birthstone

The Ruby represents love, passion, courage and emotion. For centuries this gem has been considered the king of all gems. It was believed that wearing a fine red Ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner. Rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages. To this day the Ruby is the most valued gemstone.

The color of a Ruby is the most important feature of the gemstone. Rubies are available in a range of red hues from purplish and bluish red to orange-red. The brightest and most valuable color of Ruby is often “a Burmese Ruby” – an indication that it is a rich, passionate, hot, full red color with a slight blue hue. This color is often referred to as “pigeon blood” red, a Ruby color only associated with the Mogok Valley mines in Myanmar. The color Pigeon Blood Ruby red, is not associated with the color of a pigeon’s blood but rather the color of a white pigeon’s eye.

» Take a peek: Ruby Jewelry Collection


Ceylon Blue Sapphire Necklace


September Birthstone

When hearing the word Sapphire many people immediately envision a stunning violet-blue gemstone because the word “Sapphire” is Greek for blue. For centuries, the Sapphire has been referred to as the ultimate blue gemstone. Since Ancient times the Blue Sapphire represented a promise of honesty, loyalty, purity and trust. To keep with this tradition Sapphires are one of the most popular engagement gemstones today.

Sapphire is found in many parts of the world, but the most prized Sapphires are from Myanmar (Burma), Kashmir and Sri Lanka. Sapphires with highly saturated violet-blue color and “velvety” or “sleepy” transparency are more rare. The purer the blue of the Sapphire, the greater the price. However, many people find that the darker hues of Sapphire can be just as appealing.

Sapphires are not only blue, they come in almost every color of the rainbow: pink, yellow, orange, peach, and violet colors. The most sought-after color fancy Sapphire is the rare and beautiful Padparadscha: a pink-orange corundum with a distinctive salmon color reminiscent of a tropical sunset. These ultra-rare, ultra-expensive stones are among the most coveted gems in the world.

» Take a peek: Sapphire Gemstone Jewelry


Spinel Gemstone Jewelry


August Birthstone

Centuries ago, Sanskrit writings referred to Spinel as the daughter of ruby. The bright red color of Spinel is so closely related to the Ruby the two of them are often confused with one another. Spinels are actually more rare than ruby but, unlike ruby, they sometimes can be found in very large sizes.

In addition to beautiful rich reds, Spinel can be found in shades of orange and beautiful pastel pink, as well as purple. Of particular interest is a vivid, hot pink with a tinge of orange that is mined in Burma, which is one of the most spectacular gemstone colors and unlike any other gem. Spinel also comes in beautiful blues, but these are extremely rare.

Believed to protect the owner from harm, to reconcile differences, and to soothe away sadness. However, its true appeal is the range of rich, brilliant colors and affordability.


Tanzanite Gemstone Ring


December Birthstone

Tanzanite is a one-of-a-kind gemstone unlike any other and can only be found in one place on Earth: the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. This gem possesses an exotic velvety blue with a rich overtone of purple, a color unlike any other.

One of today’s most popular blue gemstones, Tanzanite comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and striking assortments of blue tones. Rarely pure blue, Tanzanite almost always displays its signature overtones of purple. In smaller sizes, Tanzanite usually contains lighter tones and the lavender color is more common. While in larger sizes, Tanzanite typically displays a deeper, richer and beautiful blue.

» Take a peek: Tanzanite Gemstone Jewelry


Topaz Gemstone Jewelry


November Birthstone

In shades of yellow, brown, honey, green, blue, red, pink and sometimes no color at all, Topaz has a mass appeal. Topaz is often found in an amber gold, yellow, or a blushing pink orange but a pale pink or a sherry red Topaz is very exceptional. The most prized color of Topaz is called Imperial Topaz and features a magnificent orange with pink undertones. Blue, once the most rare color of Topaz, is the most common today due to man’s ability to enhance its color; Topaz with a naturally blue color is very rare.

The ancient Egyptians and Romans associated this golden gem with the sun god giving it the power to protect and heal. Legend says that topaz dispels enchantment. With its worldwide mass appeal throughout the centuries, once you find that perfect Topaz you’ll soon be under its spell.

» Take a peek: Topaz Gemstone Jewelry


Tourmaline Gemstone Jewlery


October Birthstone

Available in a spectrum of colors and color combinations, Tourmaline lives up to its name, which means “mixed stone”. With a rainbow of colors, Tourmaline can easily enhance any jewelry collection. Cranberry red, hot magenta, bubblegum pink, peach and orange, canary yellow, mint, grass and forest green, ocean blue, violet: Tourmaline is all of these and more.

Tourmaline is also known for displaying several colors in one gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations and are highly prized. One multi-color variety is known as Watermelon Tourmaline and features green, pink, and white color bands. To resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.

With Tourmaline available in so many colors, you’re sure to find one in your favorite color.

» Take a peek: Tourmaline Gemstone Jewelry


Turquoise Gemstone Jewelry


December Birthstone

Turquoise is among the oldest known gemstones and its popularity has spanned the globe for centuries. It graced the necks of Egyptian Pharaohs and adorned the ceremonial dress of early Native Americans. This beautiful robin’s egg blue gemstone has been attributed with healing powers, promoting the wearer’s status and wealth, protecting from evil and bringing good luck.

Turquoise is an opaque, light to dark blue or blue-green gem with its finest color being an intense blue. Turquoise may contain narrow veins of other materials either isolated or as a network. They are usually black, brown, or yellowish-brown in color. Known as the matrix, these veins of color are sometimes in the form of an intricate pattern, called a spider web.

» Take a peek: Turquoise Gemstone Jewelry


Blue Zircon Gemstone Jewelry


December Birthstone

Most people think of a bright sky blue when they hear Zircon, but it is also available in beautiful earth tones of green, dark red, yellow, brown, and orange. Today, the most popular colors of Zircon are the vivid blue and bright Caribbean Sea colors.

In the Middle Ages, Zircon was said to aid in resting, bring prosperity and promote honor and wisdom in its owner.

The spectrum of beautiful colors, its rarity and affordability are why it is becoming more popular today. Some gem collectors seek out Zircon from different locations capturing gems in every color of the rainbow – colorless, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, dark red, and all the colors in between.


What are precious stones?

What are precious stones?

Precious stones are defined as visually appealing gemstones created from rocks or minerals. Often used for jewelry and fashion accents, this term was created in the mid-1800’s to refer to four specific stones; diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. All precious stones are translucent and are valued by the richness of their color, except for the diamond, which has a higher value based on being colorless.

Their rarity, beauty, and method in which they are produced all add to the allure of a precious stone. Any accessory containing a precious stone would be deemed sophisticated and worn by someone of high class.

What is the difference between a precious stone and a semi-precious stone?

Precious stones and semi-precious stones are terms that were created in the mid-1800’s to describe gemstones, which were categorized solely based on their rarity. Stones found in abundance were labeled semi-precious, and a stone that was rare would be categorized as precious and more valuable. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds were classified as precious stones. All other stones are classified as semi-precious stones. The distinction between precious and semi-precious stones are their rarity and their quality.

Despite this distinction and classification of precious stones vs. semi-precious stones, it is not necessarily true that a precious stones is always more valuable or rare than a semi-precious stone. For ex. a green garnet known as Tsavorite is classified as a semi-precious stone, however, it is more valuable than an emerald, which is classified as a precious stone. Now, value is measured by several different factors, and precious stones often do not hold more value than semi-precious stones. However, the label is still valuable and is used worldwide to promote and sell jewelry.

List of precious stones. Descriptions of diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire


The diamond is the most popular of all gemstones. The diamond is the highest valued precious stone, which takes millions of years to form. A diamond is a mineral compound made of pure carbon and is the hardest natural substance on the planet. Diamonds are so strong, they can only be cut or polished by another diamond. The name itself is derived from the Greek word “adamus,” which means “invincible.” Diamonds are typically colorless, but yellow, brown, green, gray, black, pink, blue, red, and purple stones can also be found along the diamond color spectrum. Jewelry-grade diamonds are rated based on color from bluish-white to yellow, and on clarity, which ranges from pure to various levels of flawed. Diamonds are measured in carats—the higher the carat weight and purity level of a stone, the more valuable the gem. The diamond is the birthstone for April.


Known for its brilliant green color, emerald can also have blue or yellow undertones and loses all color when subjected to high heat. Their brittle exterior makes emeralds difficult to shape.The earliest emeralds were mined in Upper Egypt as early as 2,000 B.C. They were mined throughout the reign of Alexander the Great and were well-loved and collected by Cleopatra. The Aztecs and Incas also coveted emeralds, and the Moguls of India revered them so much they inscribed the gems with sacred text to be used to ward off evil. Historically, emeralds have been mined from Russia, Austria, Australia, and Norway. Today, the majority of emeralds are found in Brazil, Zambia, and Columbia. The emerald is the birthstone for May.


The ruby is a pink to deep red precious gemstone. The name comes from the Latin word for red, ruber. Rubies are said to attract good luck for the wearer. Ancient Hindus believed rubies were a sign of protection from evil. Today, the ruby has come to symbolize love and passion. Rubies were also highly prized by ancient Chinese warriors who were known to wear rubies on their armor. Most rubies today are mined in Africa and Southeast Asia. The largest mined ruby weighing in at four pounds, the Liberty Bell Ruby, was stolen in a heist in 2011. The ruby is the birthstone for July.


Sapphires come in a variety of colors, but are mostly associated with blue hues. A sapphire of another color, like pink, white or yellow, is generally called a fancy sapphire. The blue sapphire represents peace and serenity. It is seen many times in ancient religious writing to symbolize purity, wisdom, loyalty and faith. Sapphires are mined throughout Africa and Asia, but can be found in Australia and the U.S. The sapphire is the birthstone for September.

Famous precious stones


A rare blue diamond, The Heart of Eternity, is a famous precious stone currently owned by the De Beers Group. Now at 27.64 carats, this heart-shaped wonder was originally crafted from a 777 carat stone.

Another famous blue diamond is The Hope Diamond, previous owned by Evalyn Walsh McLean and known for causing her bad luck.


A well known ruby is the Liberty Bell Ruby, originally discovered in east Africa in the 1950’s. At 8,500 carats, it was valued at two million dollars. This stone had been sculpted into the shape of the Liberty Bell, but was stolen from a jewelry store in Delaware in November of 2011. It is the largest known ruby in the world.


The Patricia Emerald, at 632 carats, is the largest uncut emerald in existence. Named after the mine owner’s daughter, this gemstone was discovered in Columbia in 1920 and can be seen on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.


The largest known sapphire, titled the Black Star of Queensland, is black in color and was discovered in Australia in the 1930’s. At 733 carats, it was once on display at the Smithsonian and then at the Royal Ontario Museum. It has since been purchased by an unknown buyer, and is no longer displayed.

How is the value determined for a precious stone?

Value is determined for a precious stone by an experienced professional using only a magnifying tool and a trained eye. To help consumers understand what these professionals are looking for and how they come about each value, the “four Cs” were developed; cut, color, clarity, and carats. Each criteria holds a different meaning for each stone. Other than diamonds, the leading factor when determining a precious stone’s value is color. When analyzing diamonds, the cut is the leading factor.


Precious Stones