Precious and semiprecious stones: Meaning and classification

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Precious and semiprecious stones: Meaning and classification

Gemstones (also called Gems) are minerals, rocks or inorganic and organic materials that have been cut, polished and then turned into a jewel. They were classified for the first time in the categories of “precious stones” and “semiprecious stones” in the mid-19th century.

Today, the categorization is not always correct since the “Value” parameter is not the only criterion on which experts rely on to evaluate a stone. The quality, the rarity, the origin must be taken into account.

What are precious stones?

A precious stone (also known as a gem) is a precious or semi-precious stone used in jewelry. It is a portion of a mineral that, in a refined and cut form, is used to create jewelry or other ornaments. Gemologists are responsible for identifying precious stones and classifying them.

The term “precious stone” and “semiprecious stone” is a commercial term that simply is not always applicable. These are terms that exist only in the West and were created as a marketing tool.

Among the precious stones four prevail:diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.Sometimes you can see that a pearl, an opal or a jade is listed as a gemstone, but more often they are considered semi-precious. Traditionally, these four precious stones have been the most expensive and sought-after stones.

Some examples of precious stones in our catalog:

What are semiprecious stones?

Any other gemstone that is not one of those four is considered semi-precious. The list goes on and on, but some of the most common are: agate, amethyst, aquamarine, amazonite, kyanite, citrine, quartz, garnet, lapis lazuli, moonstone, opal, prasiolite, peridot, tanzanite, topaz, tourmaline, turquoise and zircon …

This classification between precious and semiprecious stones has no real scientific support. For example, emerald is a variety of beryl, just like aquamarines. The emerald is beautiful, while the aquamarine is semi-precious. When this classification occurred, it was mainly due to differences in value and rarity between the 4 precious stones and the rest.

Today some semi-precious stones can be worth much more than a precious stone.

In our store you can find a wide variety of semi-precious stones:


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