Oftentimes, gemstones are crystals or crystalline forms of mineral materials that are found deep beneath the earth. They hold a special place of honor in the fashion industry – particularly when we’re talking about accessories – and are often used in making jewelry pieces such as necklaces, bracelets, earring, rings etc. There are different types of gemstones – about several dozens of them – scattered across the planet. They include rubies, sapphires, citrine, turquoise, jade, amethyst, emeralds and many others, which can be divided into two major categories, which are; precious stones and semi-precious stones.
WHAT ARE PRECIOUS STONES?
Precious stones are gemstones that are regarded as very valuable in terms of their remarkable high quality (this refers to the precision, uniqueness and accuracy of their cut; their clarity and flawlessness; their weight, which is measured and recorded in terms of carats; and their color, which must be uniform and ideal). Factors such as a gemstone’s cut, clarity, carat and color combine with other parameters like its rarity, physical composition, chemical constituency, popularity and social demand in order to determine just how valuable it (the stone) is, in terms of commercial worth. Due to the fact that precious stones usually come first when all these factors and parameters are assessed (i.e. they are very rare, with high popularity and social demand, and they also have desirable physical and chemical properties), they are usually more popular and more expensive compared to other types of gems. Examples of precious stones include the following:
Rubies have been around for a very long time. The color of these gemstones varies from pinkish-red to blood red and for millennia, they have been used in making crowns – and other pieces of jewelry – for royalty and the most elite in society. Culturally, rubies are said to improve its wearer’s knowledge, health and wealth and the precious gemstone is the birthstone for the month of July.
Sapphires are precious blue gemstones which are actually a variety of (a mineral called) corundum. This blue gemstone is said to represent royalty and wisdom and have been used in making many crowns for real-life royalty over the years. However, not many people know that sapphires are made of the same stuff as rubies (i.e. corundum), and are basically blue rubies!
Sapphires can either be obtained naturally or grown in labs. They are the birthstone for September
Emeralds are very popular green gemstones that are highly desirable and very valuable (especially when they are of very high quality). These illustrious stones happen to be a variant of beryl, when are formed naturally when beryl is exposed to traces of chromium or vanadium. As with most gemstones, the quality of an emerald is usually determined by its cut, clarity, carat values and color. Culturally, this stone is believed to invite patience, balance, domestic bliss, harmony and friendship into the life of its wearer. It is the birthstone of the month of May.
WHAT ARE SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES?
While precious stones are the A-list superstars of the gemstone industry, semi-precious stones are more like some celebrities that are only big in certain parts of the world (but by no means are they B-listers, because believe it or not, some of them are actually rarer than some precious stones).
Generally, however, semi-precious stones are gemstones that are not as rare, as popular or as widely in demand as precious stones (particularly when it comes to the areas of fashion and the jewelry-making industry). Most of the time, this kind of gemstones is typically used in industrial application such as construction and the making of ornaments in interior design. Examples of semi-precious stones include the following:
Topaz is one of the most popular kinds of semi-precious stones in the world. It is generally colorless in its natural form. However, colors are usually formed in the stone when it contains impurities that may either be physical or chemical in nature (or both). Therefore, it may be pink, deep blue, purple or reddish-orange. These colors, though a flaw and a sign of impurity, actually make some variants of topaz more appealing to some people compared to others.
The stone is usually used in jewelry and ornament making. It is the birthstone of the month of November.
Citrine is also a common type of semi-precious gemstone that is used in making jewelry and ornaments. These stones are usually amber, yellow or golden in color and are often used in making a wide variety of objects which can either be worn personally or positioned around a person (e.g. in their living space). There is a notable demand for citrine in this regard because it is believed that is a tool of feng shui that promotes positivity and optimism in the lives of those who wear it. It is also believed to boost its wearer’s creativity and imagination. Natural citrine is a bit rare, and so many of the commercially available versions are actually heat-treated amethyst.
It is the birthstone for November.
Amethyst is a violet gemstone that is very valuable. It used to be a precious stone until large deposits of it were discovered in Brazil; this discovery reduced the stone’s demand among the elite, since it was now easily accessible at lower prices as a result of its high supply. It is the birthstone for February.
IS DIAMOND A GEMSTONE?
Although, they have scarcely been mentioned so far, it is important to note that diamonds are by far the most popular gemstones in the world (as well as the hardest gemstones in the world). These brilliant gems are made when pure carbon deposits, deep underneath the earth’s crust, are subjected to extreme forces of heat and pressure; which rearrange the pure carbon atoms into rigid crystal lattice structures that are not easily infiltrated by other elements and compounds.
Diamonds take a long time to form; their duration of formation ranges from several months to millions – and even billions – of years. And when it comes to their demand in fashion and jewelry making, no other gemstone quite compares. They are, after all, a girl’s best-friend.