Just Because: How to Choose the Perfect Alternative Gemstone For Yourself

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Custom Birthstone Jewelry

Everyone knows about the four Cs of diamonds: cut, clarity, color, and carat, but how does that translate when you’re shopping for colorful alternative gems? At AZEERA, we’re here to help you figure out how to shop for high-quality gemstones that deliver the beauty and sparkle you’re looking for. Whether you’re shopping for personalized birthstone jewelry or just want to add a little color to your jewelry box, explore this overview of the different factors you should consider before shelling out the big bucks for a custom birthstone jewelry piece.


The cut of a gemstone refers to both its shape and the literal cuts that help maximize its sparkle. First, you should decide if you prefer an oval, round, rectangle, cushion, trillion, pear, marquis, or princess cut. Some gems lean naturally towards specific shapes. Sapphires, for example, are typically round or oval, while emeralds are often cushion cut or square. The shape you prefer may dictate the type of stones available to you.

After deciding on the shape of your stone, you want to look at how the individual cuts into the gem change its color and shine. Deeper cuts can make a lighter color gemstone appear more saturated, while shallow cuts can lighten a darker gem. Cutting a gemstone in a very specific design can also hide flaws in the stone in order to guarantee the brilliance and appearance of a new custom birthstone jewelry piece.


colorful gems arranged in front of a seashell

Color is a critical consideration when choosing an alternative gemstone for custom birthstone jewelry. Since each type of stone is available in nearly limitless gradients and hues, you should think about whether the color of the stone or the type of stone is more important to you.

Sapphire is one stone that confuses many people because it comes in the traditional blue, but also in pink, yellow, and even orange. So what’s the difference between an orange sapphire and citrine? It really comes down to the rarity and durability of the stone.


Clarity for colored gemstones is a little more complicated than it is for diamonds. Diamonds have an industry-standard grading chart that applies to all of them in a way that doesn’t work for colored stones. When it comes to other types of gemstones, they’re simply too variable for this approach. Instead, there is a broader system for ratings that classifies gems into three categories:

  • Type I stones have no inclusions or flaws that are visible to the naked eye.
  • Type II gems have one or two minor, yet visible flaws.
  • Type III stones almost always have some sort of visible flaw.

While nearly every type of colored gemstone has some sort of inclusion, the way they’re cut and set can do a lot to hide the problem. A good rule is to examine your stones from the top, as if they’re set. As long as you can’t see any flaws from here, who cares what the rest of the stone looks like? Nobody else will see it once it’s set in custom birthstone jewelry anyway!


teardrop amethyst stone

Carat is a descriptor of the size of the stone or stones used in custom birthstone jewelry, engagement rings, and much more. It’s mainly used for the most precious gemstones like diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. You won’t generally be buying amethyst or onyx based on carats, rather they may be measured in millimeters. Having a caliper to understand millimeter measurements can help you better visualize the size you can expect to get when you buy one of these gemstones.

Other Factors

There are a few other factors that don’t generally come up when you’re dealing only with diamonds. When it comes to gemstones for custom birthstone jewelry, however, you should always think about the durability of your stone and any additional treatments it may have been exposed to.


Choosing personalized birthstone jewelry is often determined by the month that the person was born in. This means that you might be stuck with a softer gem that isn’t ideal for everyday wear — like pearl or opal. Gemstones and diamonds are rated for hardness on the Mohs scale. The higher up on the scale they are, the less susceptible to scratches and chips. The most durable alternative gemstones for custom birthstone jewelry include:

Gemstones with a hardness less than six aren’t really designed for everyday wear and need to be carefully cleaned and maintained to preserve their integrity. If you simply have to have personalized birthstone jewelry with a softer stone, opt for earrings or a necklace that won’t be exposed to as many hardships as a ring.


Generally, you don’t want to buy any gemstones that have been treated, but there are some that must always undergo some sort of treatment process. Almost all blue topaz have been heat-treated to enhance their color, while many emeralds are often oiled to improve their appearance. Always ask about gemstone treatments before buying, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Some gems change color and appearance drastically after treatment and can be sold as other, more precious, gems without the buyer knowing the difference.

Alternative Gems at AZEERA

optional gemstone hues at AZEERA

When you’re shopping for custom birthstone jewelry, AZEERA should be the first place you look. We offer top-quality gems at amazing prices as well as expert guidance for novice and experienced shoppers alike.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our personalization options!

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