The Ultimate Guide Before You Buy

All About Gemstones – Precious and Semi-precious

All About Gemstones – Precious and Semi-precious

All About Gemstones

Gemstones are classified into 2 categories – precious and semi-precious. Their values, however, are not diminished by these classifications. While the traditional list of precious stones includes diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, today, stones such as pearl and opal are also included in that list. Amethyst was once amongst the precious stones but was later reclassified as semi-precious after large deposits were found in Brazil and Uruguay. All About Gemstones

Stones command high prices based on several factors, but mostly due to their extraordinary color or brilliance and extreme rarity. The traditional list of semi-precious gemstones is now rather long.

All About Gemstones - Mohs Scale of HardnessThe rarest of semi-precious stones also command high prices. Amongst them are alexandrite, garnet, demantoid, tsavorite garnet, tanzanites, tourmaline, spinel, and aquamarine gems; these can be just as expensive as ruby and sapphire.

The Mohs Scale of Hardness compares all stones to the hardness of a diamond, which is a perfect 10.

All About Gemstones - Amethyst The Color for Kings

Amethyst Gemstones: The Color for Kings

The purple sister stone of golden citrine quartz. One of the most precious gemstones within the

quartz group is Amethyst, colors ranging in from pale lilac to deep purple and is available in almost every cut, shape, and size. Purple Amethyst adds the perfect touch to any wardrobe.

Quartz stones can be classified into one of two branches, crypto-crystalline, and macro-crystalline. The two varieties can be distinguished by transparency and luster. Amethyst is macro-crystalline.

Aquamarine: Gem of the SeaAquamarine: Gem of the Sea

the same family as emerald (beryl); best known for its spectacular range of blue hues. Trace amounts of iron contribute to the beautiful blue of aquamarine. Very affordable, every jewelry collection should have at least one piece of Aquamarine.

Blue Topaz: Birthday BlueBlue Topaz: Birthday Blue

With an 8.0 on the Mohs scale, Blue Topaz is the second most popular gemstone, second only to Sapphire. Blue Topaz’s highly refractive properties contribute to its popularity. Although topaz comes in many colors, Blue Topaz is especially popular due to its affordability. This is a must-have in every girl’s jewelry collection!

Imperial Topaz: Gem of the Setting SunImperial Topaz: Gem of the Setting Sun

One of the most sought-after gemstones is Imperial Topaz, also known as “precious topaz”. Imperial topaz ranges from transparent to translucent—it is said to resemble the color of a beautiful sunset.17th-century Russian Tsars were known to prefer Imperial topaz, thus its name. Imperial Topaz exhibits exceptional clarity with few occlusions. This gemstone is highly prized for its brilliance—Imperial Topaz is sophisticated jewelry for the discriminating taste. Another popular Topaz gemstone is mystic topaz, which displays a unique rainbow effect, perfect for any jewelry.

Citrine: Versatile and Affordable Citrine: Versatile and Affordable

The Citrine believed to be the “stones of wisdom” and that they radiate positive energy. Citrine is often referred to as the “success stone” as well, promoting success, abundance, and prosperity.

According to folklore, citrine is believed to dissipate negative energy, generating stability. It is believed that citrine brings happiness to those who wear it, relieving depression, anger, self-doubt and eradicating irrational mood swings, even heightening sensuality and sexuality. Add the brilliance of citrine to your wardrobe!

Emerald: The Symbol of SpringEmerald: The Symbol of Spring

One of the gemstones most sought after by women is Emerald-the most precious stone in the Beryl group. The breathtaking color of emerald is unmatched in the gem world. The most famous emerald mines were the Cleopatra Mines in Egypt. These stones will make a stunning statement in your fine jewelry collection.

Garnet: The Gem for All SeasonsGarnet: The Gem for All Seasons

Be the envy of all with garnet jewelry. Garnets come in many colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, blue, black, and pink. Most people associate Garnet as a brilliant red color with spectacular light transmission properties. The high-luster stones are glass-like and refract light beautifully! Garnets make beautiful engagement rings and wedding sets.

Opal: The Queen of GemsOpal: The Queen of Gems

a kaleidoscope of colors. The Romans believed opals to be the most powerful of all gemstones, while the Nomads believed that opals fell from the sky during thunderstorms and contained lightning.

No two opals are alike! At Mohs Scale 6.0-6.5, Opals are one of the most delicate of Opal: The Queen of Gemsgemstones. Black opal comes from Australia and is the most precious of opals of the highest quality. It is known for its dark background with swirls of colors playing against it. Lighter opals, known as white opals, are a mix of stunning colors and are found at White Cliffs in New South Wales, as well as “the opal capital of the world”, the famous underground town of Coober Pedy in South Australia. Opals are the perfect accessory for any wardrobe, from jeans to cocktail hour! They dazzle when they capture the sunlight or moonlight!

Peridot: Soothing GreenPeridot: Soothing Green

used for jewelry for thousands of years due to its hardness and durability at 6.5 on the Mohs scale and can be made in many types of jewelry. Its spectacular color emulates emeralds; however, Peridot is much more affordable. Peridot is an excellent choice for men’s jewelry.

Ruby: The King of GemsRuby: The King of Gems

There is not a woman on earth who doesn’t love Rubies. Ruby has been prized for centuries because of its excellent hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale and is one of the highest valued colored gemstones. Its luxurious deep red color and vitreous luster are spectacular. Ruby is a variety of corundum that gets its red color from chromium. Early Europeans believed that rubies assured prosperity, good health, wisdom, and successful love life. Rubies are stunningly beautiful with semi-formal and formal gowns.

Sapphire: The Jewel of the SkySapphire: The Jewel of the Sky

Natural Blue Sapphire gemstones are always in style. Sapphire, is one of the most wearable and highly valued gemstones. Blue sapphire is renowned for its brilliance and elegant blue color. Natural blue sapphire is used in everything, from engagement rings to earrings. Sapphire is every color of corundum except for red, which is ruby. When given as a gift, sapphires are said to enhance love, banish envy, jealousy and promote loyalty in marriage.

Tanzanite: The Jewel of East AfricaTanzanite: The Jewel of East Africa

one of the world’s rarest gems. Whether you prefer white gold or yellow gold, either make the perfect setting for Tanzanite. This stunning gemstone is found only in Tanzania, East Africa. While other stones have standardized cuts and similar shapes, every tanzanite is cut differently. This maximizes every stone’s magnificence and unique color. It’s the Mohs Scale of 6.0 makes it easy to work. It’s brilliance and faceting catch the sun’s rays beautifully.

All About Gemstones – BUYING GEMSTONES

Whether you are buying a single gemstone to have crafted into a unique piece of jewelry; or several loose gemstones, they can be purchased from a wholesaler at a location near you or online. The very first rule is to always buy from a reputable dealer. The second rule is to Learn your Gemstones BEFORE you buy. Learn the characteristics of the gems interested in and what to look for; study the quick tests to perform to determine authenticity.

Buying from reputable dealers, you make you rest assured you are getting the real thing; not synthetics made in laboratories. They will provide you certificates of authenticity. Reputable online wholesalers will have plenty of loose gemstones for you to choose from; many different gemstone types, and a variety of shapes, cuts, sizes, and colors in different carat weights.

Loose Gemstones Wholesalers

If you are in the jewelry design business; buy from a gemstone wholesaler in the jewelry district near you. A common practice is for the wholesaler to visit your place of business with his loose stones. Again, make sure you are dealing with a trustworthy wholesaler who will provide you the provenance of the stones.

Gemstones Trade or ‘Street’ Markets

Trade shows also a great place to buy precious stones in bulk. It may be well worth your time to attend a trade show; if you wish to take your time buying stones.

Online Gemstone Retailers

Not everyone has the desire or time to devote to a gemstone market. If you follow the safety guidelines for shopping online; buying a loose stone from an online dealer may be a good option. Look for a reputable retailer/wholesaler offering a good range of stones. Read the descriptions carefully, understand their return policy and shipping guidelines. Look for “verified Buyer” reviews to ensure the reviews are not scripted.

There are certain advantages and disadvantages to these purchasing options.

Pros and Cons



  • They can bring their stones to your business for you to examine & inspect the quality
  • When dealing in person, you develop a business relationship
  • Negotiating a good price in person is a satisfying experience


  • Your choices limited to what the seller shows you
  • Typically, you cannot buy only a stone or two
  • You may not receive certificates of authenticity

Gemstone Trade Shows/Markets


  • There is an extensive variety of stones from which to choose
  • You can examine the stones and their quality
  • Gemstones tested on-site.
  • Negotiating a good price in person is a satisfying experience


  • You are dealing with crowds which can be stressful and tiring
  • It requires a lot of your time, including traveling to the show and deciding on which stones you want.
  • You may not receive certificates of authenticity
  • Sellers don’t provide a brick & mortar address
  • Shady return policy

Online Gemstone Retailers


  • Shop at your leisure
  • No pressures, stress, and hassle-free. You are in control of your purchase at all times
  • If you choose your online retailer carefully, you will more than likely have a HUGE inventory to choose from
  • Low Shipping costs
  • Purchases through your credit card issuer or PayPal protected


  • cannot inspect the stones before they arrive
  • You must wait for its delivery
  • If you buy direct from a dealer, you have to rely on their integrity to uphold the return policy.



Your jewels are valuable; treat them with respect and care for them as suggested and they will bring you joy for many years.  And even pass them down to your children and grandchildren:

  • Storing gems close together sill ultimately result in scratches and lackluster. Since gems vary in hardness; storing your jewelry separately, wrapped in silk, cloth, or velvet; ensure the preservation of the brilliance of the gemstone and prevent damage.
  • Regularly check for loose gemstones; always remove it when engaging in activities such as planting your garden, washing dishes, etc. Jewelers suggest restringing pearl or bead necklaces at least every two years (more frequently if you wear them often). This will the string from breaking and losing your pearls.
  • Store your jewels in a jewelry armoire and away from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  • Do not expose your jewelry to chemicals; such as cleaning supplies or chlorinated water in swimming pools; or soaps while showering. Chlorine can damage gemstones and soap residue leaves jewelry looking dull. Other products, such as hairspray or perfume can damage gems; always put your necklaces or pendants on last and take them off first when undressing.

Birthstones, Zodiac and Anniversary Stones

The Birthstones are of special interest; The idea that birthstones possess healing properties and enchantment; especially endearing to those with a touch of imagination and romance.

Ancient astrologers looked to celestial bodies for answers, as to why certain gemstones imparted healing or magical powers. By wearing, holding or carrying the stone associated with the constellation; under which you were born, they believed that the influence over your fortune in life is strengthened; based on the idea that there is the harmony that exists between all things.

January Birthstone – Garnet

Aquarius January 20 to February 18

All about Gemstone - January Birthstone – Garnet

Garnets are mesmerizing. Their blood-red color is rich and elegant, adding class to any outfit. Regardless of what cut you prefer; a ring, a necklace or bracelet fitted with garnets and diamonds sure to please any woman! Gifts with garnet are appropriate for 2nd anniversaries.

February Birthstone – Amethyst

Pisces (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

February Birthstone - Amethyst

The amethyst is an enchanting stone, promoting peace and tranquility, serenity and temperance. Amethyst has long been linked to royalty. Gifts of Amethyst are appropriate for 6th wedding anniversaries.

March Birthstone – Aquamarine

Aries (Mar 21- Apr 20)

March Birthstone - Aquamarine

Aquamarine said to provide the wearer good health, love, youthfulness, and hope. The aquamarine often chose as a 19th-anniversary gift. Aquamarine and Emerald are of the same beryl family.

April Birthstone – Diamond

Taurus (Apr 21 – May 21)

April Birthstone - Diamond

Diamonds are synonymous with love, and eternal endurance.

From diamond chips to several carats, diamonds loved by women the world over. The word derived from the Greek word ‘Adamas’, meaning invincible. Diamonds gifted at the 10th anniversary and 60th.

May Birthstone – Green EmeraldMay Birthstone - Green Emerald

Gemini (May 22 – Jun 21)

Emeralds have healing powers and can heal a variety of illnesses, ensuring good health for wearers. Some also believe in its magical powers to see into the future. Due to its hardness, 7.0, emeralds cut into a variety of shapes and sizes

June Birthstone – Pearl, Moon Stone, AlexandriteJune Birthstone - Pearl, Moon Stone, Alexandrite

Cancer (Jun 22 – Jul 22)

The pearl often associated with romance, chastity, and modesty. Pearls believed to stabilize marriages. Mother-of-pearl, an alternative to pearl, a good gemstone for children. Alexandrite is an additional birthstone for June.

July Birthstone – RubyJuly Birthstone - Ruby

Leo (Jul 23 – Aug 23)

One can expect a peaceful life when wearing rubies—they are symbolic of harmony and peace.

August Birthstone – PeridotAugust Birthstone - Peridot

Virgo (Aug 24 – Sep 22)

One must wear Peridot protect from evil and the forces of darkness; believed to increase the healing power of medicinal drugs and to have a calming effect.

September Birthstone – Sapphire

Libra (Sep 23 – Oct 23)

September Birthstone - Sapphire

Faith and purity will come to those who wear sapphire. The more brilliant the stone shines; the stronger its positive virtues. Sapphire also said to convey the power of foresight into the future.

October Birthstone – Opal, Tourmaline

Scorpio (Oct 24 – Nov 22)

October Birthstone - Opal, Tourmaline

Opals represent hope and the virtues of innocence. They said to stimulate healing and increase healthy emotions and friendship.

November Birthstone – Yellow Topaz, Citrine

Sagittarius (Nov 23 – Dec 21)

November Birthstone - Yellow Topaz, Citrine

The power of healing held in cool topaz. The stone associated with life and strength of body and mind.

December Birthstone – Turquoise, Blue Topaz Gemstone

(Dec 22 – Jan 20)

December Birthstone - Turquoise, Blue Topaz

Native American Indians used turquoise and in many of their breastplates, bracelets, hair beading and crafts; as it believed to bring good fortune, good luck, and happy life. Turquoise one of the oldest stones used in jewelry crafting due to its kaleidoscopic properties.