There are many kinds of loose gemstones to choose from - from the well known classics such as diamonds and sapphires to lesser known gems such as iolite, opal and tanzanite. From cut, polished multi faceted gems to cabochons or uncut natural stones, loose gemstones are popular amongst both collectors and those who want the perfect stone to set in jewellery. Buying your own loose gem to set in jewellery gives the item that special touch and the satisfaction of choosing exactly what you want.Opals
The national gemstone of Australia, opals are known for their rainbow coloured, fiery sparkle. With a myriad of colours in each stone, there’s nothing quite like an opal, and the play of colour in the stones can be even brighter than the sparkle of a diamond. Good quality, well cut opals can hold similar values as diamonds and sapphires, giving them some serious clout in the gemstone market. A slightly softer gemstone, loose opals are best set in jewellery which is either designed to protect the opal, or doesn’t see hard wear and tear.Boulder Opals
Coming a close second in terms of value to the black opal, boulder opals are sourced from large ironstone boulders under the ground. They are characteristically “backed” with a brown ironstone on one side, and the brilliant multi coloured fire of the opal on the other. Colours tend to be bright and rich. The boulder opal is only found in Queensland, Australia, making it a very rare stone indeed. Loose boulder opals allow you to select the perfect individual stone to set into a stunning necklace or ring.Black Opals
Holding the highest value of all opals, black opals are known for their deep, rich colours. Iron oxide and carbon trace elements inside the stone cause a darker backdrop for the brilliance of the opal’s colours to shine through. Mostly mined in the tiny, somewhat isolated town of Lightning Ridge in Australia’s New South Wales, the black opal has been known to fetch up to $15,000 per carat.Collections
Not just for jewellery, loose gemstones hold appeal for collectors both in trade and for hobbies. Gemstones which aren’t commercial grade quality still hold plenty of value in the collectors market, whilst simultaneously at a more affordable price point. Cabochon gemstones and those which have slight imperfections are often just as gorgeous as the commercial grade stones at a fraction of the cost.