Updated: Apr 28, 2020
I've been collecting Gemstones and Minerals for nearly ten years, and I wanted to share with you my experience, tips and tricks of organising your collection.
1. Decide how your Collection would be stored
The first thing you need to decide is what type of collection you would have. Would you have an Open, Closed or a mixture of the two?
An Open collection is one with glass cabinets, wall shelves, bookcases. A closed one is a collection with trays and storage boxes that are kept stacked up to save space (Perfect if you haven't got much room to display your Gems). Whichever type you decide on, make sure it works for you!
I have an open collection for the majority of my specimens.
TIP: Think, plan and measure before investing in anything
Love, Love, Love Displays!
One of my favourite things about my collection is the way I display it. I'm a bit OCD when it comes to it 😀 Everything has it's place, label and detailed information.
I've tried many different ways to display my gemstones; it all depends on how much space you have. I'm fortunate enough to have a room dedicated to my love of Gemmology, but you can achieve the same result with just a corner of a room.
I recently invested in two Glass cabinets—one for my rough samples and one for my faceted gems. I purchased the cabinet you see in the picture at the beginning from Amazon UK for £38 each; they are made of wood and tempered glass measuring 80x9.5x60cm with sliding doors.
Be Creative with Display
There are many display add-ones you can get to add that uniqueness and creativity to your collection.
The Gemstone Display stands I use for mine are from HS Walsh (LINK TO PRODUCT) A great product to dot around your display for £2.88 each.
Any square blocks, acrylic, wooden cubes and many more can be used in your display, be creative and experiment with it.
For a Closed collection, I recommend using gemstone trays (LINK TO EBAY SEARCH) or you can use a 4 layer Make-up case on wheels (LINK TO AMAZON SEARCH) The cases are great as they have a bigger storage layer on the base for larger specimens, some with dividers and others with trays. Great for small spaces!
A few things you can't do without are a measuring tool and a Weighing scale.
To measure and record the size on your specimens, you will need a ruler or a digital measuring device. You can pick up a ruler from a stationary store for less than £1 but to do an exact and precise measurement, you will need a digital calliper. The cheapest one you can get on eBay is around £5 CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO EBAY SEARCH
If you want to get a professional Jewellers digital gauge that lets you measure stones in settings I recommend (Presidium)
The other very useful tool is a digital scale. Again, you can get them on eBay (Search LINK) or other similar websites for £5, just make sure the range is right for you. For example: if the majority of your collection is faceted stones of small size, you would need anything between 0.1-500grams, and if your samples are more significant, invest in a scale that measures around 2 or 5kg and up.
4. Catalogue your Specimens
Whatever collection you have, small or large, you must catalogue all of your gems. I recommend using a spreadsheet template I created especially for this blog. You can download from the link below.
Feel free to change, edit or delete columns that don't apply to you or make it yours (I wouldn't be offended 😁)
Having a spreadsheet is extremely important to know where each gemstone or mineral has come from, what size, what price you paid for, and most importantly if it's natural or modified. Things like that can be remembered if you had ten specimens, but with a collection with over 100 could be easily forgotten.
Here are the musts when creating a spreadsheet:
Item code ( Always have a Letter followed by numbers example D0001 the letter can represent your initial or a year of purchase of the specimen Example: A - 2020, B - 2021, C - 2022 etc.)
Type (The type of the specimen example Type: Quartz, Variety: Rose)
Shape (Is it round, oval, rectangle, geode, faceted or a free form)
Size (Try to measure the stone from all sides: Length, Width and Depth,)
Origin or place of purchase (if you have purchased your gem from a shop you might not know it's origin. It's challenging to find out where the stone has come from as it passes many hands before it goes into the shop. If you don't know the origin, you can always record the name of the shop you bought it from)
Treatment (That's tricky to get as well. I mainly use this column for my faceted Gems)
Price (You must record the price you paid for your minerals as it can be used for reselling or used for insurance in case of a burglary)
I have more columns on my spreadsheet, but those are the more important ones
Boxes, who doesn't love them?
I use a variety of boxes and here is the breakdown.
GIA Diamond box: Made of two acrylic pieces that attach magnetically and are perfect for displaying loose Diamonds in your showcases. They measure 2" x 2" x 0.5" and are available to purchase from GIA for $4.00 for 1, $18 for 5 and $30 for 10. (GIA LINK) The engraving is on the top acrylic and states "Diamond Graded by GIA"
Membrane Box from eBay: I love those boxes, you can see the whole specimen from all angles without leaving any fingerprints and no dust 😊 You can get them from eBay for as little as £2.00 per box in different sizes and colours. Perfect for the larger and more special stones you want to feature in your collection. (eBay Search LINK)
Plastic Square Foam Boxes: Those boxes are brilliant and very cost-effective. They are perfect for smaller stones as they measure 3 x 3cm and normally come in a pack, so the lowest price I ever bought them for is £0.40 per box (eBay Search LINK)
TIP: Whichever box you choose, research, plan and try not to invest all at once as it could be expensive.
The easiest way to know what's what is to use labels.
I have two labelling machine both by DYMO (LINK TO WEBSITE) The one I use the most for my collection is the Dymo LabelManager 280 (LINK) It's perfect for labelling everything, from gems to even your kitchen jars. You will turn into a labelling addict, trust me 😂
This Model comes with software, and the label can be fully customised on your laptop or straight on the machine.
TIP: Read the instruction of the Dymo Machine first
If your Diamonds and Gems are stored in a Stone Paper, make sure they are labelled with details and diagrams where available.
I've made an example of a GIA Graded Blue Diamond below. The software is very easy to use and you can upload spreadsheets that can be converted into labels with images, graphics, barcodes etc. (Dymo uses thermal printing, so no ink needed, but only black and grey colours)
7. Away from Sun
Just as the sun’s harmful rays can damage our skin, light and heat can affect a coloured gemstone’s durability and colour. Over time, and in excess, they can also fade or damage some gems, such as amethyst, kunzite, topaz and shell cameos. Pearls and other delicate materials, such as ivory, will bleach under extreme exposure to light. Other gems, especially amber, can darken over time when exposed to too much light. (Ref. GIA)
TIP: Store your Gems and Minerals away from the window
8. Cleaning Routine
If you have an Open collection, you have to do some cleaning and dusting, unfortunately. I set my routine about once a week or maybe three times a month to do a complete dusting and cleaning on some gems. Be careful; some minerals cannot be in contact with water as they will dissolve, check on each gemstone via google/bing before attempting water cleaning.
The best thing you can get is a makeup brush with long bristles as this will remove any dust particles from the gems.
TIP: Do not use any chemicals unless you know its save to do so on a particular gem.
This is very important!
Always check with your content insurance what type of coverage you have if you have to list items over a certain amount or not.
If your collection is becoming an expensive one, make sure you are protected and Invest in a motion detection camera. Most of them can be accessed via your mobile phone and they are the easiest and not that expensive to get.
You can purchase one on Amazon for as little at £25.00.
Make sure you update your collection as often as you can. Every time I buy a gem, I enter it to my Spreadsheet
You can upload your Gem list to the cloud (OneDrive, Google Drive, Apple Cloud) for easy access and when you are shopping for gems, always check if you already own the specimen similar to the one you are about to purchase.
To summarise everything you've read above, whichever type you choose to have, use your creativity, imagination and technology to create and display a collection to be proud of.
Feel free to tag me in your collection on Instagram (@GemmologyObsession), and let me know what you've improved in yours since reading my blog.
Thank you for visiting my website and I hope you enjoyed reading my 10 Proven Steps to Organising your Gemstone and Mineral Collection, If you have any questions, please let me know via the contact page of via Instagram
All products above have been tried and tested by me and they are my personal recommendation NOT supplied free of charge by companies mentioned above.