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Sep 02.2019

PRECIOUS VS. SEMI-PRECIOUS: THE BATTLE OF GEMSTONES

They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and varieties. They are called gemstones and they are as diverse as they are precious – or so they’ve said. In reality, there are only four gemstones that are considered precious per se. These include diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire.

In a nutshell, any gemstone that is not classified as one of the four listed above is considered semi-precious. While this may suggest that precious gemstones are more valuable than semi-precious ones, this is not always necessarily the case. It is widely believed that the categorization of gemstones as such has much to do with strong marketing tactics.

Marketing campaign after marketing campaign, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires have been dubbed “precious” in an effort to create the illusion that they are higher in value than other “semi-precious” gemstones.

Even though some semi-precious stones are rarer to find than precious ones, only four gemstones continue to be labeled as the latter:

1. Diamonds
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend – or so marketers have said. Their beauty, value, and sturdiness have made the stones a prized addition to any piece of jewelry. Although diamonds are not so rare, their value has only increased over time, thanks to their popularity and, certainly, the harsh conditions under which they are formed.

2. Rubies
Although rubies are known for their shade of bright red, their color can range from pale rose to dark red – and sometimes even purple. Just as diamonds are formed from carbon, rubies are formed from corundum, which is transparent in color, but whose traces of chromium result in a radiant red hue.

3. Sapphire
Sapphire gets its blue color from a combination of corundum alongside other mineral traces. It has been noted that any corundum that is not red (i.e. ruby), blue (i.e. sapphire) or colorless (i.e. white sapphire) is known as “fancy sapphire.”

4. Emeralds
A variety of beryl, emeralds are made green by traces of either chromium, the same mineral that makes rubies red or, sometimes, vanadium. It has been noted that if the beryl gemstone is not rich in color, it would not be considered “emerald” but simply “green beryl.”

Labels aside, the fact remains that precious gemstones are indeed precious, otherwise they would not have been labeled as such. Whether for their ornamental or monetary value, precious gemstones continue to fascinate jewelry lovers of all tastes and backgrounds.

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