Given the wide spectrum of gemstone quality, grading therapeutic gemstones can sometimes be challenging and is often subjective. Although there are general rules, each gemstone will have its own unique parameters for color, clarity, brightness, and cut.

We feel it is only fair to evaluate each of these four parameters. Otherwise, you’re not going to know exactly what you’re getting. If a necklace has exquisite color but exquisite plus plus clarity, would you grade that necklace exquisite or exquisite plus plus?

At GEMFormulas, we feel that our customers should know the relatively quality of their necklaces for each of the 4 grading parameters. 

When you receive your GEMFormulas necklace, it will come with a quality tag. The quality tag for a Ruby-Onyx necklace might look like this:

Note: In the case of Ruby-Onyx, the Onyx is Dyed, and thus the color characteristic is not graded.

Here are the four characteristics we examine when grading gemstones and what the letters assigned to them mean:

Four Characteristics of Therapeutic-Quality Gemstones

Color – The range of color in any gemstone can vary widely. Therapeutic color parameters are very specific for some gems, and more broad for others.

Clarity - Clarity refers to the measure of a gemstone’s translucency and inclusions. Clarity varies tremendously among gemstones, and in some cases, such as Rutilated Quartz and Lavender, the inclusions give the gemstone its beneficial properties. Each therapeutic-quality gemstone has unique clarity standards.

Brilliance - Brilliance is a gemstone’s shine. In opaque stones, brilliance has to do with the quality of the gem’s polish. In transclucent and transparent stones, it measures the way physical light moves through the gem and shines from it. Some gemstones, such as Moonstone, display a phenomenon called adularescence, the quality of which can also vary.

Cut - A gemstone’s cut is simply how well it is shaped and how even its drill holes are. Most spheres are AAA. They may fall short of this rating if the material is difficult to cut, such as Unakite, Sugilite, or Dalmatian Jasper, producing a very slightly imperfect sphere (rated AA) or a slightly imperfect sphere (which would be rated A). Rondels would only be AAA if all were nearly identical. If they vary in width, but are otherwise smooth, then I’d rate them AA. If they are a bit angular or uneven, then I’d rate them as A-quality.

GEMFormulas Grading System

When grading gemstones, we assign each characteristic a letter: X, J, C, B, A, AA, or AAA.

X - means the gemstone is damaged in some way, but it can still be useful for spreading in houseplant soil or outside in the garden to uplift the vibrations of the soil and plants.

J - means jewelry only. These gems are not therapeutic, but they’re still nice enough for jewelry purposes.

B - means borderline therapeutic. If 1 of the 4 quality characteristics is B, and all other quality characteristics rate AA or better, then I would allow these gems to be sold therapeutically only if the supply was extremely scarce and the buyer understood what they were getting.

Otherwise, this B rating has been useful in helping us decide whether a gemstone necklace we receive from a customer is worthy of upgrading. If one of the 4 characteristics is B, I’ll go ahead and upgrade it with its symbiotic stones, but if 2 or more are B-grade, then I can’t in good integrity upgrade that necklace.

A - means standard therapeutic quality, but because we have such high quality standards, this grade would be comparable to “exquisite.”

AA - means exquisite plus. Therapeutic-quality gemstones with this rating have a finer vibratory rate than gemstones possessing all A qualities. Higher quality healing gemstones should work longer, deeper, and more effectively and completely than those of A quality.

- means exquisite plus plus quality. Gems that have this rating in two or more categories are rare. When you see such a necklace, your reaction should be an immediate “wow.” Therapeutically, gemstones of this rating have the finest vibrations, which allow them to extend their energies deep into physical and energetic fabric, where even AA-quality gemstone energies cannot go.

AAAA – means museum quality. We’ll be fortunate to find a handful of necklaces of this quality in a lifetime.

How to Read the Quality Tag:

Given the following format: Color - Clarity - Brilliance - Cut

If your therapeutic-quality gemstone necklace is rated: A - AAA - AA - AAA


  • The color of the gemstones in this necklace, although exquisite, may not be consistent throughout each individual gem. Or the color may not be fully saturated.
  • The clarity of the gems in this necklace represent the top of their class in clarity parameters.
  • This would be an exquisite plus rating for brilliance, or candescence. In other words, the way these gems handle light is truly amazing, but even better qualities are available.
  • With an AAA-rated cut, the spheres are perfectly cut.

Note: Necklaces for upgrade will not be graded by GEMFormulas.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.