Precious gems, such as diamonds, emerald, or rubies all have specific characteristics that dealers use to determine the quality. Experienced dealers in gems know what to look for when considering the value of a particular gemstone. Rhinestones, crafted to mimic precious stones a fraction of the cost, also have certain characteristics. The quality of a rhinestone is determined by color, cut, clarity and contour.
Since there are many manufacturers of rhinestones, it’s important to know what to look for to ensure a quality stone. Manufacturers use different materials, arrangement of facets and cuts when making their brand. Also, every brand offers a different assortment of colors. Therefore, depending on the quality and color of the rhinestone you want will determine which brand you buy.
Color of Rhinestones
Let’s begin with color. Since rhinestones are man-made, manufacturers can make them any color they wish. However, some colors are more expensive than others. Crystal or clear rhinestone is the least expensive. Next, standard color such as reds, pinks, blues, greens, and others are slightly more expensive. Crystal AB, a clear rhinestone with an Aurore Boreale or rainbow coating is next, followed by the AB colors. Finally, the most expensive color is the Aurum which is a gold rhinestone with a thin coating of 14k gold.
As with real gemstones, the color should be consistent throughout the rhinestone. Additionally, the color should be consistent within batches. For example, all rhinestones in the color Fern Green should be the exact same shade and hue with no variations.
Cut or Facets of Rhinestones
Notably, rhinestones have facets, or small plane surfaces, that catch and reflect the light. Facets must be symmetrical and uniform so that the facets reflect light evenly. Indeed, the more facets a rhinestone has, the more light the rhinestone reflects. And generally, a rhinestone with more facets is more expensive than one with less.
For example, Swarovski’s Xiruis rhinestone has the most facets of any rhinestones, 16, arranged in a star shaped pattern. It’s also the most expensive rhinestones on the market. Preciosa’s Maxima rhinestone has 15 facets while other brands have between 8 and 12 facets. Manufacturers arrange facets for light distribution and brightness, generally around the sides of the table or top of the rhinestone.
The next characteristic of a quality rhinestone is clarity or the state of being clear. It’s is a term used to describe the absence or presence of flaws inside the rhinestone. Cheaper rhinestones may contain cloudiness or bubbles within their structure. A quality rhinestone will be clear without any imperfections.
Certainly, the most common shape of rhinestone is the circle. However, rhinestones are available in a myriad of shapes including rectangle, triangle, or oval. Moreover, fancy shapes like heart, moon or star are also available. Some brands only have the round shape available as this is the most popular shape. It’s also the least expensive shape.
In conjunction with the shape of the rhinestone is the size of the rhinestone. There are various sizes of round rhinestones measured by the “ss” or stone size. Usually, retailers will also give the millimeter size for reference. Generally, fancy shaped stones are available in millimeter sizes. Typically, it is the shape and the size that helps determine the price of the rhinestone.
So, the next time you’re rhinestone shopping, keep in mind the 4 C’s: color, cut, clarity and contour. These 4 characteristics will determine rhinestone quality and price.
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