Jewellery: understanding rubies, sapphires and emeralds

Course Dates: 09/06/24
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
Join this fascinating one day course for a valuable insight into the trade of rubies, sapphires and emeralds, different types of these precious stones on the market, and how to assess them. Learn about how the beautiful stones are mined, cut, graded and priced, as well as exploring common simulants. No previous experience necessary.
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Jewellery: understanding rubies, sapphires and emeralds
  • Course Code: VV342
  • Dates: 09/06/24 - 09/06/24
  • Time: 10:30 - 16:30
  • Taught: Sun, Daytime
  • Duration: 1 session
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Judith Crowe, Derek Jhinnoo

Course Code: VV342

Sun, day, 09 Jun - 09 Jun '24

Duration: 1 session

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Why do these three gemstones have such importance in the jewellery trade? Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds are the most commonly used gemstones in fine jewellery outside of diamonds. They have been revered and sought-after for thousands of years; the Ancient Greeks classified them as more rare and precious than diamonds. In recent years, there has actually been a swing away from the ‘usual’ white diamond, with young couples choosing to buy these rare coloured gemstones for their rings instead.

What will we cover?

The course will cover the history of each gem and the main sources, including mining and processing. Topics will include the geology and physical properties of these gemstones and how to assess them. You will also learn about gemstone cuts and the use of treatments. You will be taught how to use a loupe to assess the gemstones and learn about synthetics and imitations.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Use a loupe to assess gemstones
- Identifiy the geology and properties of rubies, sapphires and emeralds
- Demonstrate awareness of the history of each gem and the main sources, including mining and processing
- Recognise the common cuts and the use of treatments
- List different properties of synthetics and imitations
- Appraise and buy these gemstones.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is at beginner’s level and no experience is necessary. It is ideal for people who have an interest in precious gemstones and jewellery set with precious stones. It would also be a good ‘refresher’ for people who work in the jewellery trade.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, handouts and for health and safety information, and be prepared to take part in group discussions.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be hands-on with many gemstone samples to view and detailed handouts to take away. There will be a short quiz to consolidate the information given out.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs or items you are required to bring.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

City Lit offer a wide range of short and year-long courses in Jewellery design and making, from beginners to advanced, and for professional development.

Browse our current online offer for complimentary courses.

Judith Crowe

Since 2003 Judith Crowe has been running 2 companies - as a gemstone dealer and for making bespoke jewellery. She has a BA Hons degree in Fine Art and from 1985 she worked as a studio manager/designer in graphic design. In 1990 she broke her back horse riding and then worked as a broadcast journalist and TV director at the BBC Disability Programmes Unit. From 1999 Judith retrained in silversmithing at City Lit and she is now teaching short courses on gemmology and jewellery at the college. She has written a book, 'The Jeweller's Directory of Gemstones', published by Quarto. Her website is

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.