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Gemstone University

What is a Colored Gemstone?

What is a Colored Gemstone?Although diamonds come in colored varieties, this article does not touch on them and instead focuses on the other colored gemstones.

There are two main types of gemstone that people talk about. “Precious” stones are ruby, sapphire and emerald. All other gemstones are known as “semi-precious”. Some texts refer to pearl and opal as being “precious” also. These terms are related more to the historical value placed on these stones because of their rareness (rare usually equals expensive) and not necessarily to their modern-day value. Indeed, some semi-precious stones can exceed their “precious” cousins in value.

Gemstones are also split into groups. An example of this would be “Corundum” which are rubies (red) and sapphires (blue). The group “Beryl” includes emeralds (green) and aquamarines (light blue).

The pre-cut, natural stones are graded according to several factors, including their color, inclusions (meaning impurities in the stone causing an identifiable flaw, although some gemstones always have inclusions) and luminescence.

As you may be used to with diamonds, gemstones (the cut stones) are graded by their natural elements like color, size and clarity, and also by stone cut which exhibits the skill of the gem-cutter. Value can also be placed on “uniqueness”, like unusual color gradients, and patterns. There are a lot of elements that make-up a gemstone’s value.

Gemstones are not as hard as diamonds so they need to be handled differently. Diamond is unlikely to crack or chip when being set in jewelry but other gemstones are not as hardy, meaning the jeweler needs to take extra-special care when creating a piece. Some gemstones are even considered “soft” when compared to diamonds and other stones.

Gemstones are often the centerpiece of fantastic jewelry pieces. They often have a diamond surround and counterpoint a burst of color. We have included some of the most famous pieces on this site for you to take a look at.

Gemstones are often used in rings, earrings, pendants, brooches and bracelets but also adorn complex collections, royal crowns, 3-D gem-encrusted sculptures, watch movements (where they are used as low-friction bearings) and more.

We hope you learn more about gemstones through our site. We have sections on each stone as well as examples of historical pieces, interesting compositions and lots of beautiful pieces that you can own.

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