There are many reasons for you to make that ‘stone’ purchase, whether for collecting, being captivated, business, magical or spur of a moment, but if you’re hunting for a specific stone is it the one shinning brighter standing out from the rest?
Or will you be applying some trusted techniques to evaluate your purchases. Whilst gem professionals have studied to evaluate stones and are confident when purchasing, everyday folk can only go by their own experience and that of more learned friends, often prospective purchasers can be seen referring potential purchases to their friends for approval. But perhaps you’ve ventured out alone or want to be confident in your own decision making.

...whether a shop or show, consider the appearance of the stones, how are they presented, we’re all probably drawn on the aesthetically pleasing and pretty display.
A display with hundreds of stones can take a long time to create, is it themed, has it changed since the last time you visited that shop or exhibitor. Displays like this do cost a lot in time and resources, but it works, large events open several days beforehand for exhibitors to prepare. On the other hand we’ve probably all seen old cardboard trays filled with a jumble of material with a
discount sign...perhaps unloved, but a potential for a bargain?

Then you have the perhaps unimaginative cardboard trays or ‘flats’; well sorted and samples displayed partitioned, perhaps stacked adjacently & several high, a knowledgeable seller who focuses on the goods not marketing?
Is the seller looking disinterested reading a newspaper or perhaps the latest copy of this magazine or other gem text, cataloguing other stock or suggesting to you the benefits of a certain stone that they just happen to have available...
Lighting is part of your buying decision, the type of light affects how stones are seen by the naked eye, where gemstones can be graded with the use of a 10x loupe and different ‘standardised’ systems, other stones may have grades applied by the seller.
If the lights are halogen (similar to those you might see in the garden) then they usually give a slightly yellow light which can enhance some colours, fluorescent & tungsten lights can give a more neutral white light although can be slightly blue.
If there’s a window nearby you can use for daylight, mid morning or afternoon light is the most neutral.
Whilst we can all be drawn to a crowd around a seller, oh I wonder what they have that everyone is interested in, or have they just displayed some lower priced material with the hope to catch attention, don’t forget you have a shopping list!
Depending on your focus don’t overlook the seller who perhaps isn’t as knowledgeable as you with regard to the ‘crystal healing properties’ of his goods, he may certainly know a lot about the physical quality and sources of his material, not knowing what popular in one discipline could mean they are offering better value. Don’t forget that on the whole the deeper colour, clarity, flawless(general term for inclusions or interesting things within the stone) and blemish free(term for marks, pits, or surface abnormalities) examples are what we’re probably looking for. However this is where the value can sky rocket especially with size ,a few milimetres increase in circumference of a crystal ball can mean tens of pounds difference in cost.
Purely because they’re harder to source, gemmy material gets whisked away to make gemstones so the price reflects that potential, a miner or supplier isn’t going to sell a gem grade to make a crystal ball for any less than to a gem cutter. A handy reference is to see different grades of the same material near each other, often you can be overwhelmed seeing large amethyst cathedrals or geode, something several feet tall certainly makes an impression, at what price, what a bargain only to put it next you your smaller amethyst at home to realise that actually it’s less purple and more grey! The term if it’s still there when I come back, it’s meant to be echoes around a venue/shop, however or could it be you’ve just missed an opportunity!

To see a list of mineral, crystal, gemstone, fossil shows/events both UK and worldwide visit our show page, if you organise or know of a show please get in touch to list it here.

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