Gemstone Ratings Explained

by Dale Armstrong


Some sites advertise gemstones or pieces of jewelry with "A" ratings, i.e., "A", "AA", or "AAA". Is "A" better quality than "AA"?


Gemstone ratings are as follows:

AAA = exceptional stone with excellent color, great cut resulting in lots of light getting through and the top rating for precious stones such as sapphires, emeralds, and rubies.

AA = top quality stone, great color, little if any visible inclusions and usually the best rating for semi-precious stones like citrine, amethyst and garnet.

A = good quality stone that has very few inclusions, good color, transparent and has a nice cut that lets light through to sparkle.

B = ok but not top color, still transparent stone with light inclusions.

C = usually not consistent color throughout the stone, inclusions are visible to the naked eye and stone is not as transparent so it doesn't sparkle much.

D = low value stone with major visible inclusions and usually rather dull as they are less translucent.

Jewelry is usually rated according to the stones it is made with/of.

To see what other enhancement codes mean, see our AGTA guide:
American Gem Trade Association Enhancement Codes

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong


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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Design