Can anyone explain some particulars regarding gemstones?

I am just getting into jewelry making and at this point am trying to learn on my own. I do plan on taking some classes and will be working with sterling silver, 14 k gold, vermeil and primarily semi-precious stones and some swarovski crystal. Wondering the best way to REALLY learn about gemstones as I feel that it... show more I am just getting into jewelry making and at this point am trying to learn on my own. I do plan on taking some classes and will be working with sterling silver, 14 k gold, vermeil and primarily semi-precious stones and some swarovski crystal. Wondering the best way to REALLY learn about gemstones as I feel that it is very important to ensure my customers are receiving top quality gems in my designs? Also, how to go about finding reputable places to buy gems? Lastly, I'd appreciate a quick overview of the rating system for gems such as AAA and does radiated, heated, dyed treatments increase/lower value? Thanks in advance for your help!
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