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Gemstone Education

A Gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral which is cut, and polished form is used to make Jewelry or other adornments. Gemstone are classified into

  • Precious Stones
  • Semi-Precious Stones

It has always been a difficult matter to determine what constitutes precious stone. The term precious stone refers to four specific stones Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds & Sapphires. All precious stones are translucent and are valued by the richness of the color except for the diamond, which has a higher value based on being colorless. This rarity beauty and method in which they are produced all add to the allure of a precious stone.

  • Diamond - The Diamond is the most popular of all gemstones. Diamond is a mineral compound made of pure carbon which takes millions of years to form. Diamonds are mineral compound made of pure carbon. The Diamond can only be cut or polished by another diamond as they are the hardest substance on earth. The word diamond is derived from Greek word ‘adamus’ which means invincible. Diamonds are available in various colors such as yellow brown, grey, pink, black red etc. Highest priced diamonds are the ones that are colorless. Diamonds are measured in carats. The higher the carat weight & purity level of a stone, the more valuable the gem.

  • Emerald - Emerald is one of the most valued gemstone. It is bluish green to green in color. Gem experts differ on the degree of green that makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less- expensive beryl. Emerald was once cherished by the Pharaohs, Moguls, Aztecs and Inca kings. Today this fine gem is found in Africa, South America & Central Asia.

  • Ruby - The Ruby is a pink to deep red precious gemstone. The name comes from Latin word for red, ruber. Rubies are said to attract good luck for the wearer. Ancient Hindus believed that rubies provided protection from evil. Today it symbolizes love and passion. It is called ‘Ratnaraj’ or “King of Precious Stones” in Sanskrit. Rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone. This makes ruby one of the most important gemstone in the colored stone market. Chromium is the trace element that causes ruby’s red color.

  • Sapphire - Sapphire comes in a variety of colors but are mostly associated with Blue hues. Pink Yellow & White Sapphires are called fancy sapphires. The blue sapphire represents peace & serenity. Sapphires are mined in Asia and Africa.

Stones that were found in abundance were labeled semi-precious. Despite the classification, it is not necessary that a precious stone is always more valuable. For Ex. Tsavorite is classified as a semi-precious stone but it is more valuable than an emerald which is classified as a precious stone. Use of the term ‘Precious’ and ‘Semi Precious’ in a commercial context is misleading as it implies that certain stones are more valuable than other, which is not the case.

There is no universally accepted grading system for gemstones. Diamonds are graded using a system developed by GIA using 10x magnification. Other gemstones are still graded using the naked eye. While choosing a gemstone it is most important to choose the right color, which is its most defining characteristic.

The right Hue, Tone and Saturation increase the value of the stone.

    • HUE- Gemstones that exhibit a pure color and only 'slight' hues of other colors in addition to their primary color are considered good by jewelry industry. Some shades are more sought after than others and some with a tinge of brown or Grey are considered value for money.

    • TONE- Tone refers to degree of absorption of color. Tones can range from clear to black. Gemstone tone is described as light, medium light, dark.

    • SATURATION- Saturation refers to purity of color that is free from brown or grey hues. The most desirable gemstone which show little grey or brown are described as having strong color saturation.

  • Amethyst- Amethyst is a birthstone for February. It is a transparent purple variety of quartz and is appreciated for its unique color and transparency. This stone is said to bring good luck to the wearer.

  • Aquamarine-The name Aquamarine is derived from the Latin word for water and sea. It is the birthstone for the month of March. It is well known for its distinctive blue-green color. The depth of color is influenced by amount of iron, found in each gemstone. Its hardness makes it very tough and therefore protects it from scratches.

  • Topaz- Topaz stone is available in variety of colors such as blue, yellow and pink. Topaz is easily affordable as compared to sapphire. It is liked for its high transparency and color.   

  • Citrine- Citrine is a variety of mineral quartz. This stone derives its name from the French word 'Citrine' meaning 'yellow'. Citrine is a tough gemstone thus it is an excellent choice for everyday jewelry.

  • Garnet- Garnets are available in many colors such as green, orange, pink, blue, red. Garnet is one of the most common and widespread of gems. Dermatoid is a rare and famous green garnet, rhodolite is a beautiful purple red garnet and spessartine is orange in color. Many garnets are chemical mixture of two or more garnet species.

  • Jade- Jade comes in many shades of green yellow and reddish orange plus white gray black and brown. Jade is actually a metamorphic rock made of interlocking crystals which make it a tough stone. It is often used for making artistic objects. Jade is the official gem of the 12th anniversary.

  • Kunzite- Kunzite is loved by collectors for its color range from delicate pink to violet purple. Kunzite can be heat treated to enhance it color. Both treated and natural color in Kunzite can fade with exposure to heat and bright light. It is found in Brazil, Afghanistan and US state of California. It is considered to be an alternate birthstone for February.

  • Lapis Lazuli- Lapis is treasured for its beautiful deep blue color. Three major minerals that comprise lapis are lazurite, calcite and pyrite. Although people associate lapis with dark blue, it’s also found in other shades of blue and even other hues.

  • Peridot- This gem is found in lava & meteorites deep in the earth’s mantle. This gem is prized for its restful yellowish green hues. Peridot is the gem variety of mineral olivine. It is the birthstone of August and the 15th anniversary gemstone. 

  • Rose Quartz- Rose quartz gets its name from its delicate pink color. Rose quartz is usually found in massive from, so well-shaped crystal is highly prized. It owes it delicate pink color to microscopic inclusion of aligned silicate mineral fibers. It is found in Brazil, India, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. Rose quartz is the gemstone of fifth wedding anniversary.

  • Tanzanite- It was discovered in Tanzania hence the name tanzanite. It is one of the most popular of colored gemstones. Its color ranges from blue to violet to bluish purple. Tanzanite is a birthstone for December along with zircon, turquoise and blue topaz. It is also the gem of 24th anniversary.

  • Topaz- Topaz is a lustrous and a brilliant stone. It has a wide color range that includes the tones of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink and purple. Usually colorless topaz is treated to give it a blue color. Precious topaz is a birthstone for November.

  • Tourmaline- Comes in wide variety of excellent colors. It is believed that traces of iron and possibly titanium induce green and blue color. Presence of manganese produces reds and pinks. It is mainly found in Brazil. This stone brings abundance and good luck. It has a strong and protective influence and enhances concentration. It energizes the body and mind.

  • Turquoise- Turquoise was the first gem to be mined. Its name comes from the French Pierre turquoise meaning ‘Turkish stone’. The stone encourages family bonding and promotes love and trust. It is beneficial for circulation, bowel cramps and the chest area including the lungs. It is the birthstone of December. It is an opaque blue to green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium.

  • Zircon- Zircon is a colorful gem with high refraction and fire (multi-color light). These properties are similar to that of a diamond and hence it is often confused with diamond. It comes in a range of colors such as yellow, red, green and blue. It is also the birthstone for month of December along with turquoise and tanzanite.

Most Gemstones are very durable, so they require varying level of care.

  • Most gemstones can be cleaned using warm water and mild detergents and a soft brush at home.
  • Avoid commercially prepared jewelry cleaner that contain ammonia.
  • Apply perfumes and colognes before you wear your jewelry.
  • Rub it with a soft cloth after removing and then store in jewelry boxes.

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