Frequently Asked Questions

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What are gemstones?

A gemstone is a precious or a semi-precious stone used in jewelry. Gemologists identify gemstones. They label gems in the arena of gemology using practical language and their features. A gemologist uses the gemstone’s chemical arrangement to classify it. For instance, diamonds are made of carbon (C). Many gems are categorized by a crystal system because they are crystals. Gemstones are classified into different varieties, species, and groups. They are also characterized in terms of dispersion, hardness, specific gravity, refractive index, luster, fracture, and cleavage. Flaws in a stone are known as inclusions. What is the difference between a precious stone, a semi-precious stone, and a gemstone? A precious stone and a semi-precious stone are both classifications of gemstones. It is a portion of a mineral, which, in refined and cut form, is used to create jewelry or other embellishments. The term "precious stone" versus "semi-precious stone" is a commercial term that simply isn’t always applicable. They are terms that exist solely in the West and were created as a marketing tool by the people who were looking to sell precious stones. Precious stones are diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. All other stones are considered semi-precious stones.

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What is the difference between a precious stone and a semi-precious stone?

Precious stones and semi-precious stones are terms that were created in the mid-1800's to describe gemstones, which were categorized solely based on their rarity. Stones found in abundance were labeled semi-precious, and a stone that was rare would be categorized as precious and more valuable. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds were classified as precious stones. All other stones are classified as semi-precious stones. The distinction between precious and semi-precious stones are their rarity and their quality. Despite this distinction and classification of precious stones vs. semi-precious stones, it is not necessarily true that a precious stones is always more valuable or rare than a semi-precious stone. For ex. a green garnet known as Tsavorite is classified as a semi-precious stone, however, it is more valuable than an emerald, which is classified as a precious stone. Now, value is measured by several different factors, and precious stones often do not hold more value than semi-precious stones. However, the label is still valuable and is used worldwide to promote and sell jewelry.

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What are precious stones?

Precious stones are defined as visually appealing gemstones created from rocks or minerals. Often used for jewelry and fashion accents, this term was created in the mid-1800’s to refer to four specific stones; diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. All precious stones are translucent and are valued by the richness of their color, except for the diamond, which has a higher value based on being colorless. Their rarity, beauty, and method in which they are produced all add to the allure of a precious stone. Any accessory containing a precious stone would be deemed sophisticated and worn by someone of high class.

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What are semi-precious stones?

A semi-precious stone is also known as a gem or gemstone (also a jewel, a gem, a precious stone), which is a portion of mineral, which, in refined and cut form, is used to create jewelry or other embellishments. There are also organic resources or precise rocks that are not minerals (for example jet or amber) that are also used for jewelry and would also be considered to be gemstones, as well. In the West, precious stones are diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. All other stones are considered semi-precious stones. However, this is a commercial based classification and was a distinction that marketers created years ago which gives the false impression that precious stones are more valuable than semi-precious stones. For example, a Tsavorite green garnet is more valuable than a mid-quality sapphire. It’s a concept from the West that often puts misconceived notions of the truth into consumers’ minds. So contextually there is a difference between semi-precious and precious but it is mostly for show and strictly from a commercial perspective.

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