Myths and legends

What is the difference between precious and semi-precious stones?

We invite you to get acquainted with the most famous precious stones in more detail, learn about their origin and unique properties.

Types of Gemstones

  • Diamond The most famous and at the same time the most expensive gemstone is the diamond. Translated from Greek, “diamond” means “indestructible.” The name is quite appropriate, because this mineral has very high hardness and strength, as well as a high refractive index of light. When cut correctly, a diamond will shine and sparkle in the light. Most of all in nature there are brown and yellow ones, so colorless ones are valued much higher, but rarer ones are also found: blue, indigo, pink. The rarest and most expensive are red and green diamonds.
  • Emerald This gem, also called emerald, is a type of the mineral beryl. In nature, emeralds are found in different shades, but they all belong to the green range. The most expensive stones are a rich dark green color. Particularly valuable emeralds are mined in Colombia, which is sometimes called “the land of emeralds.” However, Russia also has rich emerald deposits in the Urals. Stones of a rich dark green color are mined there due to the high content of chromium and iron.
  • Ruby Ruby stands out among other gems with its vibrant red color. In this case, shades can vary from pink to fiery red. Ruby deposits were first discovered in the Bronze Age in Burma. Today, rubies are mined on all continents except Antarctica. Stones of ideal quality are extremely rare in nature, so rubies are processed in different ways: heating, beryllium treatment, filling cracks in the mineral with colored or transparent glass.
  • Sapphire The sapphire gemstone, like ruby, has been known since ancient times. This mineral was first discovered in Southeast Asia. Sapphire and ruby ​​are varieties of the mineral corundum. The most expensive sapphires are blue, but yellow, orange, green, pink, white and even black are also found. The color of the stone depends on the chemical impurities in the mineral.
  • Alexandrite The first description of this gemstone appeared in 1842. Finnish mineralogist Nils Nordenskiöld accidentally discovered an amazing property of this mineral: depending on the lighting, alexandrite changes shades from green to purple and dark purple. The stone was named after the Russian Emperor Alexander II. Large deposits of alexandrite are located in the Urals, Sri Lanka and Brazil (since 1980).
  • Pearl This is a precious stone, unlike others, of organic origin. Pearls are valued primarily for their beauty, color, large size and ideal shape. Most pearls are white, but gold and pink pearls are also quite common. The rarest and most expensive are blue and black pearls. Commonly accepted gemstones are diamond and the “big three” – ruby, sapphire and emerald. According to the legislation of the Russian Federation, natural pearls and unique amber formations are also classified as precious stones. Therefore, it should be remembered that abroad, other minerals revered in a particular country may be added to the main four precious stones.

Semi-precious or jewelry stones

What are semi-precious stones? In the early 1990s. The concept of “semi-precious stone” has been considered unacceptable and erroneous by the International Confederation of Gemstones, Silverware, Diamonds and Pearls (CIBJO). At a meeting of representatives from more than 20 countries, it was decided to use the term “jewelry stones.” It is believed that jewelry stones include natural minerals that meet the requirements of beauty and rarity of stones that are not included in the “precious” category. The price of such stones is much lower than precious ones, but they are also very often used to create jewelry. When skillfully cut, a jewelry stone can be as attractive as a precious stone.

We will tell you about the most famous jewelry stones:

  • Amethyst This mineral is a type of quartz. Most often, amethyst is bluish-pink or red-violet in color. Amethyst is mined in Russia, Asia, as well as in Africa and South America.
  • Aquamarine Aquamarine, like emerald, is a type of the mineral beryl. This stone owes its name to the ancient Roman writer Pliny the Elder. It was he who first compared the mineral with the “green of sea waters”, and therefore gave it its name – aquamarine. However, this mineral became popular only at the beginning of the 20th century, when jewelers perfectly mastered the art of cutting and learned to reveal the natural beauty of aquamarine.
  • Pomegranate The crystals of this mineral resemble the red juicy seeds of the pomegranate fruit. Most likely, this is why the stone received its name. In Russia, back in the 16th century, several varieties of garnet were known, and over time, scientists discovered even more types of this mineral. In nature, garnets are found in deep red, green, orange, brown, and crimson colors. By the way, garnet is used not only in jewelry, but also in the abrasive, construction industries and electronics.
  • Rock crystal Crystal is translated from Greek as “ice”. Indeed, this beautiful stone is very similar to a transparent piece of ice – clean and transparent. Even the most ancient Mayan tribes made skulls and other ritual objects from rock crystal. Today the mineral is mined everywhere, but the best deposits of this stone are in Russia and China.
  • Topaz This semi-precious stone was first discovered on the island of Topazos in the Red Sea, which is why it received its name – topaz. Brown, wine-yellow, blue, orange, pink – the mineral has a lot of shades, there are even polychrome stones. But most often in nature you can find colorless topaz. Topaz is the eighth of ten reference minerals used to determine hardness according to the Mohs mineralogical scale.

You can get acquainted with the range of jewelry made of gold, silver, platinum and palladium in one of the Sales Stores of our partners.

Home > What is better to choose: precious stones or semi-precious stones, artificial or natural?

What is better to choose: precious stones or semi-precious stones, artificial or natural?

Currently, semi-precious stones are coming to the fore, displacing precious stones.

But the popularity of precious stones remains consistently high.

Not all buyers understand how certain stones differ from each other.

How are precious stones different from semi-precious stones?

From the point of view of physical and chemical properties, precious stones are not much different from semi-precious stones. The main difference in these cases is the price: precious ones are more expensive, semi-precious ones are cheaper.

This is mainly influenced by the rarity of the stones. For example, yellow diamonds are quite rare and are often valued even higher than the purest minerals. Other parameters that affect the cost of stones include weight, tactile sensations, clarity, hardness, brilliance and cut. Each parameter has its own special calculation measures, for example, weight is usually calculated in carats (1 carat = only 0,2 grams). However, not a single parameter compares in its influence on pricing with rarity: as soon as any deposit of precious stones is depleted, the price of such stones will simply skyrocket.

Both stones have their advantages and disadvantages: precious stones will be at the same time some kind of investment, but you need to be as careful as possible when wearing and caring for them. Semi-precious stones are the opposite: they do not require special care, since they can simply be replaced in jewelry and it will not cost any incredible money. However, one can hardly consider an investment in semi-precious stones to be wise and promising. Precious metals and stones are practically not getting cheaper, but on the contrary, they are only gaining in price.

How to distinguish precious stones from artificial analogues

There are not many differences between artificial and natural precious stones. In addition to identical composition, shine, hardness and other physical parameters, artificial stones have higher purity levels. However, artificial stones are valued an order of magnitude less, which can be explained quite simply – people simply want to own something unique.

Visually, it is sometimes simply impossible to distinguish natural stones from artificial ones, even with the help of some optical instruments. Currently, technologies for the production of artificial stones have developed so much that in many situations a whole examination will be required to determine “authenticity”.

It is worth noting that artificial stones are not fakes and have a fairly high value compared to the same semi-precious stones. Even compared to natural stones, the value of artificial stones is often only 30-50% lower. This is also influenced by the green movement, which calls for abandoning the use of natural stones, since, in their opinion, this causes irreparable damage to nature and the planet as a whole.

However, you should only worry about the naturalness of certain stones if you buy jewelry secondhand. When purchasing in stores, they prefer to provide information about the availability of artificial gemstones in advance. Jewelry stores value their reputation, especially in times of the Internet. We recommend that you refrain from purchasing untested stones, as it is very easy to get into a bad situation. It is best to buy precious stones in banks and specialized stores, where you can purchase a stone of the desired cut and clarity at any time.

Recommendations for choosing stones

As a rule, customers choose stones based on their own funds and capabilities. However, we recommend paying attention to the specifics of the decoration and the hardness of the stone itself. In some jewelry, such as brooches or cufflinks, it is recommended to avoid “delicate” stones. This is largely due to the possibility of normal damage. It is also worth paying attention to the specifics of wearing a particular piece of jewelry, the frequency of contact with skin and cosmetics – all this will lead to contamination of the stones and the need for regular cleaning. For example, washing jewelry with emeralds in an ultrasonic cleaner is “contraindicated”, because the stone may break.

Each piece of jewelry and choice of stones is individual – we recommend consulting with our craftsmen on the choice of certain stones and receiving professional recommendations for each case separately.

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