Gemstones are pretty and precious objects, which are usually found buried deep beneath the earth’s crust. At other times, they may be found underwater or within the shells of mollusks such as oysters (e.g. in the case of pearls). Gemstones are usually formed from natural deposits of minerals such as corundum and pure carbon, which undergo certain transformation processes in other to form crystals. And sometimes, they are formed from the accumulation of substances from organic organisms such as oysters and other mollusks. Gemstones can either be precious or semi-precious.
WHAT ARE PRECIOUS GEMSTONES?
Precious gemstones or precious stones are gemstones that are very highly regarded all over the world. These stones are usually held in high esteem in virtually all the gemstone markets in every country on earth. There is also a very high demand for these gemstones in the jewelry making industry, where they are widely utilized in making jewelry pieces such as necklaces, rings, bracelets and other pieces, as well as ornaments that are widely used in interior design.
Precious stones are relatively rare, compared to a lot of other gemstones that are not regarded as precious stones. This is one of the reasons why they cost a lot of money per unit, relative to most of those other stones.
Precious stones have existed for a very long period of time, and most of them have very rich cultural histories and significance that can be traced back to thousands of years. As a matter of fact, many of them – if not all – have been used in the crafting of many ancient crowns.
Examples of precious stones include the following:
Diamonds are one of the most popular gemstones in the world. They are formed when pure carbon deposits are exposed to – and acted upon – by extreme natural forces of heat and pressure (diamonds can also be formed synthetically, through artificial, man-made means of supplying high levels of heat and pressure to pure carbon samples in laboratories. The process is usually time consuming, but not as time consuming as the natural process, which may take up to billions of years).
Diamonds are one of the most expensive gemstones in the world, per unit (particularly when they are of very high gem quality). This is because diamonds are quite rare (they can be found naturally in only 35 countries across the world). Also, as rare as diamonds are, natural diamonds of very high gem quality are even rarer. This is because a very large percentage of diamonds found in known mine-sites across the world usually contain one type of flaw or the other, which may make it unsuitable for use in jewelry making (especially considering the fact that the global jewelry industry doesn’t usually care much for imperfections).
Diamonds are known to last forever, since they are the hardest known natural substance on earth; as well as the hardest known gemstone, and the clear favorite among all the gemstones used in making engagement and wedding rings.
Rubies are famous red stones (or stones that are pinkish-red to blood red in color). For millennia, they have been used in the making of crowns and other pieces of jewelry, some of which are notable heirlooms of royalty and other prestigious families. Culturally, they represent passion, which make makes them suitable presents between lovers. Rubies are also said to improve its wearer’s knowledge, health and wealth. Rubies are the birthstone for July.
Sapphires are precious blue stones that are a form of the mineral called corundum. This stone is usually said to signify wisdom and royalty. This may be because they have been used in making various ancient crowns over the course of millennia.
Interestingly, sapphires are made from the same materials as rubies and they happen to be the birthstone of September.
Emeralds are precious gemstones that are famous for their striking green color. They are a form of the mineral known as beryl, and they owe their green color to traces of chromium or vanadium. An emerald’s quality is usually determined by its clarity, its cut, its weight (which is measured in carats), and its color. Culturally, the stone is believed to attract balance, patience, domestic bliss, harmony and friendship into the lives of those that wear it. It is the birthstone of May.
WHAT ARE SEMI-PRECIOUS GEMSTONES?
Semi-precious gemstones are gemstones that are not as highly desired globally, relative to precious stones such as rubies, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. Semi-precious stones are not usually as rare as precious stones, considering the fact that many of them can be found in large quantities, in many places on earth. Examples of semi-precious gemstones include the following:
Jade is a gemstone or mineral used in making jewelry and other ornaments. It is known for its green color. Jade can fall under one of two categories, which can either be nephrite or jadeite. It is rather popular in Asia, where it has a rich and illustrious history, along with notable cultural relevance. Although it is a semi-precious stone, it is relatively rare; which makes it very valuable.
Amethyst is a violet gemstone that is highly valuable, as well as desirable. Amethyst is widely used in the production of jewelry pieces around the world. It used to be classified as a precious stone, until large deposits of it were discovered in Brazil.
WHAT IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST EMERALDS CALLED?
A lot of notable gemstones in the world have names, particularly when they are remarkable precious stones of very high carat value and quality. Emeralds, in particular, are known to be very large, in several instances. One of them is known as the Emerald Unguentarium, and it is an emerald vase which was carved in 1641. This brilliant emerald piece is worth a considerable amount of carats and it is also of remarkably high quality. This special piece can be found at the Imperial Treasury in Vienna, Austria; where it is on display.