Grading & Pricing Crystal
Concept by David Lebow
written by Stuart Schmitt
Sorting, grading and pricing natural quartz crystal for sale is an individual art rather than a science. Many factors are included in evaluating and determining the value of crystal (both wholesale and retail). The following information is intended to help both sellers and buyers evaluate quartz crystal with a more universal grading process. Each crystal point or cluster can be evaluated on a 40 point system by assigning one through ten points for each of the four categories: clarity, perfection, shine and presentation.
Clarity is the degree of transparency of the crystal point or points on a cluster. A crystal clarity can range from very milky to water clear. Most crystals have milky bases where they were or are attached to the matrix and will gradually be more clear as they terminate at the point.
Perfection has to do with the amount of damage (either natural or man made) to the piece. Some points also have what looks like sleet on one or more of the sides or faces which can distract, or sometimes enhance, the overall quality.
Shine is a measure of the brilliance in the points. Some points have a film or etching on the sides and faces that reduce the overall brilliance of an otherwise clear crystal.
Presentation is the initial impression the observer will get as to how the piece will sit and present itself for viewing (or use). The amount of matrix at the base of clusters is one factor that will determine presentation. Some pieces can be trimmed or cut to enhance the presentation. This work will add to the expense. Another aspect of presentation is the unique features or characteristics found on certain crystals. Some of the words used to describe these unique characteristics are: tabular, windows, time lines, smoky (natural radiation), generator points, double terminated, phantoms, inclusions, penetrators, manifestation, self-healed, Japanese twin, etc.. There is more information on the meaning of these unique features on the crystal beliefs page.
To grade a crystal, assign a value on a scale of one to ten for each of the above categories. If possible, have more than one person grade the crystal and average the numbers. The higher the number the more valuable the crystal.
Sorting and grading crystal for sale is a time consuming process. Each crystal miner has his own method. Some use numerical labels (No. 1, 2, etc.), some use alphabetical labels (AA, A, B, C, etc.), and some use color codes or combinations. Pricing can be by the piece, by weight (pound, gram, etc.) or by the flat, table or lot. As with most products, the larger the volume or quantity you buy, the lower the price per unit.
As an example, if you want to buy a nice one pound crystal cluster out of a table or lot, it may cost you $25. If you want to buy 20 pounds of clusters out of the same table or lot, it may cost $15 a pound. And if you want to buy the whole table or lot, it may cost $5 a pound. Expect to pay more to pick the crystal you want. If you show up at my door with $10,000 you'll buy a LOT of crystal and we'll be packing for a long time.