A gemstone is a polished and cut piece of mineral crystal which is also referred to as jewel, fine gem, gem, precious stone or the semi-precious stone. Gemstones are often set in jewellery and adornments to enhance the beauty of the wearer and to attain benefits and therapeutic healings. Rocks such as the Opal and Lapis Lazuli and organic substances such as the Pearl, Amber and Jet which are not pieces of mineral crystals are also set in jewellery and adornments and are misunderstood for gemstones.Some minerals which are soft in nature too are used in making jewellery due to the lustrous shine, aesthetic value and the physical properties it holds. One important characteristic that offers value to the gem is its rarity. In the ancient civilization apart from setting the stones in jewellery and adornments the gemstones were also used in art forms such as studding the paintings or goblets or the bowls with gemstones. The person who cuts the gemstones is known as the gem cutter or Lapidary while the one who cuts the diamonds is called the diamantaire.
Gemstones and the categories
Every gemstone has its own beauty, lustre and divine properties. Since ancient times, gems have been successful in captivating the attention of mankind. These beautiful creations of the Nature were divided into two categories namely Precious and Semi-precious gemstones in the mid-1800s taking into consideration the difference in the value of the gemstones. In the present scenario ‘Value’ is not the only parameter on which the gemmologists rely to evaluate the preciousness of a gemstone. Factors such as the rarity, provenance and the clarity of the gemstone too are considered in categorizing a gem into precious and semi-precious gemstone.
In the precious stones category only four gemstones qualify which are the Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds and Sapphires. These stones are generally very expensive and the most sought after stones. A few also included Pearls, Jade and Opal in the ‘precious gemstones category’ but failed to make a widespread impression and thus even today they fall into the ‘Semi-precious category’. Bifurcation of the gemstones into ‘precious’ and ‘semi-precious’ gemstones set a mind-set amongst people that precious stones hold more value and significance as compared to the gemstones that fall into the semi-precious category.
According to a Geological Survey that was conducted in the United States, the dollar value of over 98% consumption of the U.S gemstone imports was made by the Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires and the Emeralds, thus, supporting the entire idea that these four gemstones were precious.
The gemstones that do not fit into the precious stone category are known as “semi-precious stones”. Semi-precious gemstones include gemstones like turquoise,topaz, tourmaline, obsidian,lapis lazuli,jasper,garnet,citrine,jade,agate, moonstone, amber, tiger’s eye, amethyst, sunstone, aquamarine, peridot,aventurine, hematite, chrysocolla, malachite, onyx, chalcedony, tanzanite, chrysoprase, jet, kunzite, rhodonite, and many other materials.
Is Categorization of gemstones into two categories worth?
The categorization of gemstones as precious and semi-precious does not have any scientific or other specific evidences that prove that precious stones are more beneficial or precious as compared to the semi-precious gemstones.
For instance, the beautiful and sparkling Emerald which is considered as precious is a variety of a beryl and so is Aquamarine. Emerald is precious while aquamarine is semi-precious. Thus, certain natural Pearls are rarer and their value is more than the low quality diamond, emerald, ruby or sapphire. Similarly there are many semi-precious gemstones which according to the already set parameters of differentiating a gemstone as precious and semi-precious depending upon the rarity must fall under the category of precious stones.
Buy Gemstones Online
Every gemstone is unique in its own way. From precious to semi-precious you can easily avail the gemstone you desire online. There are various dealers who sell gemstones online. You have to ensure that the gemstone you are buying is authentic and lab tested or not. Also when you buy gemstones online make sure you are getting a gem certificate along with it.