loose turquoise stones

The Nature of Gemstones

Two thousand years ago, students of gemology categorised gems by shade alone. They would have considered ruby and red spinel the identical thing, simply because they’re the same color. However there is a great distinction between the 2 gems.

What’s a gem?

Some gems – like pearls, amber, coral, and ivory – are organic. This means they come from plants or animals. But most gems are minerals: natural, inorganic supplies with particular chemical compositions. Most have a characteristic structure, too. You probably already know the names of some minerals commonly found in jewelry stores: topaz, sapphire, emerald, and ruby, for example. Artificial gems have change into increasingly standard like this titanium bracelet, which are actual replicas of the real gem with the energy of titanium.

Three traits of all gems

A substance isn’t automatically considered a gem just because it’s utilized in jewelry or just because it falls within the mineral category. Items like bones, seeds, and hair have all been used in jewelry, but that does not place them in the identical class as rubies, pearls, and amber. You will some time discover gems in tungsten carbide rings as well.

To be a gem, a substance must share three essential traits with all different gems: beauty, rarity, and durability. Every trait, nevertheless, represents a range, so all gems can possess completely different levels of all three traits.


Throughout the centuries, humans have cherished the colour of gleam of completed gems. Mineral crystals introduced up from the dark depths of the earth, organic gems created by life processes – all gems worthy of the name share the virtue of beauty.

But because magnificence is within the eye of the beholder, it isn’t always easy to categorize what’s lovely and what isn’t. One accepted definition of magnificence holds that it’s a mixture of qualities that delight the senses or attraction to the mind. In different words, a thing of beauty may not cause everybody to react the same way, however it will cause everybody to react – it will have visual appeal.

In fashioned gemstones, visual attraction typically outcomes from a mix of coloration, symmetry, and surface appearance. Of those factors, coloration is often crucial for colored stones. From the deep green of a fine emerald to the shifting colours in an opal, coloration is the primary thing you discover about a colored stone. For this reason, it’s normally the primary consideration while you’re viewing colored stones.

Symmetry, the second factor, means balance and harmony of cut. A stone is most appealing when its form and proparts are balanced, so certain reduce details improve a gem’s beauty.

A gem’s surface appearance, or luster, additionally influences its appeal. Most gems are polished to a high luster, Pearls, which are usually not fashioned in the identical way most different gems are; owe part of their magnificence to luster, too.

In addition to those three factors, transparency typically plays a job in a gem’s beauty. Transparency describes how light passes via an object. The more clear an object, the more light passes by way of it. Many gems are clear, including emerald, garnet, and tanzanite. Light can pass by way of them with little or no distortion.

Opaque materials are on the other end of the transparency scale. An opaque jewelry, like a tungsten carbide ring or stainless metal ring lets no light through. Opaque colored stones embody hematite and turquoise. Some gems, like opal, have varying degrees of transparency in a range from clear to opaque.

Not all gems have the identical mixture of these components: Jadeite could be opaque – and beautiful. However, a ruby owes a great deal of its beauty to the fact that it’s transparent.

Some individuals would possibly like one gemstone more than another, however do not forget that finally, your selection is essentially the most important. You will acknowledge that each colored stone has at least one robust factor of beauty, and you will be taught to appreciate it.


Rarity, too, is a sliding scale, which means some gems are rarer than others. A number of are so rare that they’re considered collectors’ items. Gem – quality benitoite and red beryl – each present in only one place on earth – are often utilized in jewelry. Because they’re not nearly as available as gems like sapphire and amethyst, they’re unknown to the most importantity of consumers. Most gemstones are somewhere in the middle of the rarity scale.

Rarity does not always make a gem valuable. Pink spinel, for example, is gorgeous, durable, and rare. Despite its virtues, pink spinel is mostly absent form consumer shopping lists. Few folks know about it, so there’s very little demand for it.

Demand is unpredictable. Amber, highly treasured in centuries previous, is less prized today, although rare specimens can still command high prices. Similarly, jet – an opaque black organic gemstone – was extraordinarily common in Victorian England, however is virtually unparalleled in jewelry today.

Typically, shrewd marketing can sway consumer preference. If a significant retailer backs a gem with an expensive advertising campaign, it’s more likely to penetrate the market quickly, as was the case with tanzanite, the striking violet-blue East African gem. However no matter how energetically it’s marketed, a gem have to be beautiful and durable as well as rare to merit widespread success. And it should be available in ample quantities to remain in public consciousness over the lengthy haul.

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