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What are the Different Types of Precious Stones?

Diamonds are among precious stones that become collectible after being cut and polished.
Gemstones.
Jewelers can evaluate the worth of a customer's gemstones.
Rubies are red corundums.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2014
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Precious stones, also known as gemstones, are minerals or rocks that that become collectible when they are cut or faceted and polished. Many are commonly used in jewelry.

These stones can occur naturally, or they can be laboratory simulated. Natural stones come directly out of the ground or mine and are cut or faceted to the desired shape and size. They are usually the most popular among collectors and consumers, as well as the most expensive. Laboratory simulated versions are created in a lab. These manmade stones can still be considered precious stones, but are easier to come by and usually less expensive than their natural counterparts.

There are also organic gemstones, including amber, which is made from fossilized tree resin; and jet, which is a form of coal. There are some precious stones that are too soft or fragile to be used in jewelry, such as single-crystal rhodochrosite. Although they cannot be used for jewelry, they are exhibited in museums and sought by collectors because of their beauty.

Gemologists use technical specifications to differentiate between stones. The first consideration when identifying a gem is the chemical composition. Diamonds, for example, are made of carbon, and rubies are made of aluminum oxide. Most precious stones are actually crystals, which are classified by a crystal system as cubic, trigonal, or monoclinic.

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These stones are also classified into different groups, species, and varieties. The ruby, for example, is the red variety of the species corundum, which belongs to the spinel or hematite group. The emerald, aquamarine, bixbite, goshenite, heliodor, and morganite, on the other hand, are all varieties of the mineral species beryl.

Separating precious stones into these types of groups helps to identify their composition, their color, and their origin. They also have a refractive index, dispersion, specific gravity, hardness, cleavage, fracture, and lustre. Each of these features is important when assessing the value of the stone.

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Discuss this Article

anon219282
Post 4

I have a lot of jewelry and don't know the real from fake. I would like to sell it, but I'm afraid they will fool me. What do I do? A lot of it is old.

anon194998
Post 3

I am S.U. revjithm a student. I would like to know the different types of precious stones related to health factors. I am very much interested in these stones. And I need a picture of an aqeeq stone and its related information. I hope you will help me to get this valuable information.

dkarnowski
Post 2

My favorite semi-precious stone is lapis lazuli. I know that the quality can differ greatly depending on which region of the world that it is mined from but I have never seen a piece of the stone that I did not like.

Maybe it is the glittering pyrite that is mixed with the deep blues that attach my eye. While I used to wear a necklace of small cut stones of lapis.

cmsmith10
Post 1

Stones are normally classified into two categories, precious stones and semi-precious stones. The value of a stone is gauged on these types. Many collectors prefer the rare to the beautiful.

The precious stones are the emeralds, diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. Although not a stone, pearls are often classed as precious stones.

The lesser expensive jewelry are often made with semi-precious stones. The most popular of these are zircon, opal, amethyst, turquoise, aquamarine, jade, coral, garnet, and malachite. The different colors and varieties of the semi-precious stones make them very valuable to the jewelry industry.

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