Tips for stone care

What are the names of all the precious stones?

Value – minerals that are distinguished by their special beauty and durability, good shine and color play, despite their fairly rare occurrence on Earth. An indispensable quality of precious stones is strength and sufficiently high hardness, ensuring their long-term preservation over time. Used in jewelry to create jewelry, and also as a material for creating works of art (see “glyptic”, “cameo”). Gemology studies their properties, processing methods and diagnostics. To weigh precious stones, a special unit of weight is used – the carat.
The term “precious” has two meanings – regulatory and legal and everyday. In everyday life, all beautiful, expensive stones are called precious stones. According to the Law of the Russian Federation “On Precious Metals and Precious Stones,” precious stones include: natural diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and alexandrites, as well as natural pearls and unique amber formations in raw (natural) and processed form. The list of precious stones established by the Federal Law “On Precious Metals and Precious Stones” includes 7 items (diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire, alexandrite, pearl, amber), but the market for precious and jewelry stones in Russia has more than 1000 items. Of these, ~100 have their own deposits with proven reserves, and for 22 types of stones in the 90s. XX century mining was carried out, including aquamarine, jadeite, emerald, lapis lazuli, jade, tourmaline, amethyst, chrysolite, chrome diopside, charoite, amazonite, jasper, garnet, agate, onyx. In Russia there are completely no explored deposits of such precious stones as alexandrite, ruby ​​and sapphire, as well as turquoise, precious opal and spinel, topaz, chrysoprase, hyacinth, and deposits of tourmaline, chrysolite, charoite are located in remote and inaccessible areas. The Russian market for precious (except diamonds) and ornamental stones is in a very unstable state due to the aggressive expansion of processed stones from the countries of Southeast Asia and Brazil, low consumer demand of the population and the imperfection of the regulatory framework. Imitations of most precious stones, difficult to distinguish by appearance, are made artificially; imitations or counterfeits of many precious stones were made back in the days of Ancient Rome (nowadays, such synthetic stones and imitation gems are very popular, since their cost is much cheaper and is available to people of any income). The so-called “rhinestones” – imitation or fake precious stones made of glass with a high refractive index and dispersion; In order to make it difficult to check the hardness of rhinestones from real gems, complex types of rhinestones are made, such as doublet and triplet (the crown and pavilion are made of quartz, and between them there is a flat insert of colored glass). In some cases, the top and bottom pieces in doublets and triplets are made from real gemstones. Precious stones are widely used for the production of jewelry, collected in collections, and used as banking assets. In ancient times, in relation to most precious stones, it was believed that this or that stone would save its owner from misfortune, cure illnesses, or be capable of bringing good luck and success. But the “medicinal properties” of precious stones today have no scientific evidence, being the fruit of the unsubstantiated imagination of amateurs or one of the sides of commercial advertising. All sorts of charlatans describe the fantastic magical and healing properties of stones, which are accepted by gullible people on faith, despite the absence of any objective, scientifically verifiable evidence. At the same time, one cannot fail to note the beneficial and calming effect that comes from observing beautiful crystals or works of jewelry. And the very possession of them creates positive emotions, and in other cases gives the owner self-confidence due to psychological satisfaction with personal well-being (although this is relative, because this kind of consolation can be overshadowed by the fear that the treasure may be stolen).


  • Gemological Center of Moscow State University educational programs, examination of precious stones and jewelry, research in the field of gemology, development of new technologies and equipment for working with precious stones, information and consulting services.
  • World of Diamonds Information about diamonds and polished diamonds, reviews and analytics.
  • Taxonomy of precious stones
  • About the magical and healing properties of precious stones
  • Geology of Gems by Eugenii Kievlenko

From publications

  • Kievlenko E.Ya. Geology of gems. – M., ed. Earth, 2000. – 582 p.
  • Kievlenko E.Ya., Senkevich N.N., Gavrilov A.P. Geology of precious stone deposits. – M.: Nedra, 1974. – 328 p.
  • Kokunin M.V. Geology of precious and colored stones: a textbook. –Irkutsk: Irkutsk State Publishing House. University, Irkutsk, 2009. – 331 p. —
  • Platonov A.N., Taran M.N., Balitsky V.S. The nature of gem coloring. M., 1984
  • Pylyaev M.I. Precious stones, their properties, location and use. St. Petersburg, 1888, reprint M., 1990. – web publication – book/glossary.html
  • Skrigitil A.M. Precious stones in pegmatites of the Eastern Pamirs. – World of Stones, 1996, No. 11, pp. 11-17 (16-25).
  • Tyulpakova O.N. Precious steps. – M., 2009. – 200 pp.
  • Value
  • Gemology
  • Mineralogy

We often hear and talk about precious stones, but few of us understand this concept correctly. Is it possible to call topaz or pearls this way? Is there a difference between a gemstone and a gem? Why do many jewelry chains studiously avoid the word “precious” in advertising? Let’s try to figure it all out!

What the law says

The legislation of the Russian Federation clearly and clearly explains what a precious stone is. Federal Law 41 of 26/03/1998 “On Precious Metals and Stones” contains a list of selected ones that are recognized as precious at the official level. The list is small and does not include many of our favorites:

  • diamonds;
  • emeralds;
  • sapphires;
  • rubies;
  • alexandrites;
  • natural pearls (including cultured ones);
  • amber in the form of unique formations.

The same law states that “materials of artificial origin”, i.e. synthetic rubies, sapphires, cubic zirconia and other minerals grown in laboratory conditions cannot be called precious. That’s why when you see a huge ruby ​​ring with an incredible 90% discount, the mention of “gems” nearby is unlikely to be noticed – as a rule, they are synthetic.

Earrings and ring with peridot and cubic zirconia, price on request

Gems in order

Traditionally, classification by order is used in Russia. When creating it, they took into account the real price of minerals and how often they are used in jewelry. The ordinal classification was developed in 1973 by mineralogist E.Ya. Kievlenko. And today it helps jewelers in their work, although it is somewhat outdated, because customer preferences change from year to year.

According to Kievlenko’s ordinal classification:

  • Order I includes diamonds, emeralds, blue sapphires, rubies;
  • to the 2nd order – alexandrites, sapphires of other colors, noble jadeites and black opals (noble means of jewelry quality);
  • to the third order – demantoids, aquamarines, topazes, moonstone, rhodolites, red tourmalines, noble spinels, white and fire opals;
  • to the IV order – tourmalines, zircons, beryls, turquoise, amethysts, chrysoprase, garnets, citrines, noble spodumene.

Other attempts have been made to classify natural stones taking into account their cost, popularity, rarity, incl. they were carried out by mineralogists Webster, Kluge, Sobolevsky. In the USSR, a complex classification was in effect, developed by the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute Yuvelirprom, which divided jewelry, jewelry-precious and semi-precious stones into many subgroups.

Earrings and ring with Swiss topaz, Sky Blue, London, price on request

What about abroad?

In foreign practice there is no complex gradation. All stones that are used to create jewelry are called gems. The buyer doesn’t really like the definition of “semi-precious” or “second-order,” so why upset him?

Gemstone or gem?

Unexpected, but true. The term “gem” does not exist. This is the informal name for transparent colored minerals. The guru of mineralogy, Academician Fersman classified specimens with beautiful color and pattern, high transparency and brilliance, suitable for jewelry processing, and good light scattering – play, as gemstones. Essentially, gems are everything beautiful, transparent and shiny that we got from the Mistress of the Copper Mountain and makes us happy in earrings and rings.

You can call an expensive emerald or sapphire a gem, although more often they call it the more affordable chrysoberyl, peridot, quartz, spinel and garnet. It is not customary to call a diamond a gem, since most often it is almost colorless. Opaque jadeite, malachite, jasper, onyx and similar stones are not classified as gemstones. Synthetic analogues are never called gems.

The most precious stone

And yet, which stone is the most precious? Should you be upset when you suddenly find out that your favorite amethyst has been called a fourth-order jewelry stone? Evaluation of stones is a complex process; the quality of a sample is determined by many criteria in addition to its place in classifications. For example, Paraiba tourmaline or Padparadscha sapphire can be more expensive than representatives of the first order with low purity and color values.

A striking example of the injustice of classifications is tanzanite. It was discovered recently, and therefore was not included in the lists mentioned above. There is only one deposit of tanzanite. Beautiful color, transparency, rarity, high hardness on the Mohs scale (6-7, like emerald), make it the object of desire of thousands of women around the world. Today, the price of tanzanite is comparable to the cost of the most expensive gemstones, although it is not mentioned in any classification.

We are confident that every natural stone is unique and can become loved, no matter whether it is a first-order gemstone. Rubies, diamonds, emeralds and sapphires are beautiful, but morganite, peridot, and amethyst are no less enchanting. That’s why in Diva you can buy all the diversity of the stone world!


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