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Precious Stones vs Semi-precious Stones: What Is Your Preference?

We are all observing the trend shifting towards elegant alternatives to conventional jewellery. Millennial women are opting for jewellery adorned with gemstones in a myriad of different shapes and colours. At the same time, the classic rubies and sapphires bring out the bling in our eyes. This brings us to the main question - what stones are considered precious and which are those considered semi precious? Let’s explore this..

What are Gemstones?

Gemstones are derived from minerals, rocks or organic matter. These stones are then cut, polished, sculpted and framed into pieces of jewellery to give them their unique character. Flaws in a natural gemstone are known as inclusions. Modern advancements in science and technology have enabled us to create gemstones possessing the same optical, chemical and physical properties as their naturally-occurring counterparts. These lab-created gemstones, also known as synthetic, created or cultured gemstones, are engineered using the same chemical ingredients and physical process that are pivotal to the creation of mined gemstones. Lab-created gemstones are real gemstones. For example, cultured sapphire is as real as a natural sapphire. Lab-created gemstones are an ethical and inexpensive alternative to natural gemstones delivering the same, if not higher, standards of quality. 

The categorization of gemstones is a complex system. Gemstones can be classified into different varieties, species, groups and classes. There are several ways to classify gemstones - each with its own purpose as well as exceptions. They can be characterized in terms of dispersion, facetting, reflection, refractive index, hardness, specific gravity, rarity, luster, fracture, transparency, brilliance and cleavage, to name a few. 

What is the difference between precious and semi precious gemstones?

The basic categorisation of gemstones into ‘precious’ and ‘semi-precious’ is flawed and outdated. The classification system of gemstones into precious and semiprecious was introduced in the 19th century in order to assign value to the gemstones. The big-four - Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds and Sapphires were classified as precious stones. These have traditionally been the most expensive and sought after gemstones. All other gemstones are considered semi-precious. ‘Precious’ and ‘Semi-precious’ are actually arbitrary terms and although the classification is still widely accepted, it is misleading as it generates a false sense of value. This leads to misrepresentation and portrayal of certain gemstones. Semi precious stones are as valuable as precious gemstones (and in some cases, even more!). 

A infallible stone designation is complex. The actual categorization process to determine true market value of gemstones needs to take into account several parameters such as colour, quality and rarity. What distinguishes the gemstones is their provenance, durability and the associated fables. But for the most part, a gemstone's quality and rarity are two main factors considered during the classification process. However, with changes in time and introduction of several newly discovered gems and their variations added with the ever-fluctuating market values have made classifying gemstones slightly puzzling.

What are precious gemstones?

Precious gemstones are generally the four gemstones : Rubies, Diamonds, Sapphires and Emeralds. These are typically more expensive and conventionally sought after gemstones. Although these four precious gemstones are the most popular in this category, there are a variety of others as well that may be added to the list. For example, occasionally pearls, jades, or even opals are considered as precious gems. However, this is uncommon. 

What are semi-precious stones?

A top favourite with jewellery designers, craftsmen, millennial consumers, fashionistas and contemporary fashion gurus are the versatile semi-precious gemstones. These gemstones are unique, rare and symbolically rich, making them a welcome addition to your jewellery collection.

Every gemstone that isn't one of the Big-4 (Emerald, Ruby, Diamond and Sapphire) is considered to be semi precious. The list of semi precious gems is elaborate, but some of the most common ones are: peridot, onyx, agate, alexandrite, amethyst, moonstone, aquamarine, lapis lazuli, garnate, opal, pearl, citrine, rose quartz, spinel, larimar, tanzanite, turquoise. 

The terminology of ‘semi-precious’ gemstones is purely based on commercial marketing rationale and does no justice to the inherent value of these gems. While the four precious stones are still in high demand, coloured semi precious stones are gaining increasing recognition and popularity in modern jewellery. Their beauty, durability and vast colour palette make them a cherished addition to contemporary jewellery. Afterall, the true value of the gemstone should be reflected by its captivating beauty and not its commercial value.  

Our beautiful range of jewellery features a range of semi precious stones. Each stone is totally unique, making your jewellery designs fresh, exciting and one-of-a-kind. Semi precious stones are a perfect choice for all types of jewellery - necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. 

Discover the healing and spiritual benefits of these gems here.

Gemstones have appealed to mankind since ancient times. This eclectic mix of stones still continue to rule our hearts. However, while selecting a gemstone, we shouldn't get too caught up on its superficial categorisation of precious vs semi precious. All gemstones are precious, in the sense that they symbolise special meanings, hold distinct healing powers and impart sentimental value to a piece of jewellery. 

Our jewellery designs feature both precious and semi-precious stones. Each stone is set-by-hand by experienced craftsmen in our workshop. We diligently source gemstones to ensure their quality and colour meet the highest standards. Casual or classy, our versatile designs can be dressed up or down to suit your tastes.

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