Ever since the early high cultures, the coloured gems have had a strong religious symbolism and also considered magical. Today, gemstones are very attractive due to their colour and hardness and are therefore popular to use in jewellery, for healing but also as an ornament. In the past, only the hardest stones were called gemstones and others for semi-precious stones, as these were not considered as valuable, but today there are no longer any clear requirements that differentiate them.
Most gemstones are minerals which means that they are naturally formed constituents of the earth's crust. These minerals are formed in various ways, e.g. from glowing melts, gases inside the earth, plants near the earth's surface or by recrystallization in deeper layers of the earth's crust. Clearly a natural wonder created by mother earth only.
The gems get their beautiful colours from small amounts of different metals found in the mineral structure. For example, manganese creates the special peach-pink colour of the Morganite, and iron creates the magical blue hue in an Aquamarine.
It is very unusual to find gems of such fine quality that they do not need to be polished or treated. Most gemstones in the jewellery industry are therefore polished and improved using traditional heat treatments.
Other treatments made on gemstones are also oiling, colouring and irradiation. These treatments are done to improve the properties of the stones, e.g. increase the intensity of the colour of the gemstone.
There are more than 500 different gemstones, but due to the different hardness of the stones, not all are suitable to use in jewellery. Gemstones are divided into groups and subcategories where each gemstone is graded based on six different categories within its group, where Quartz is the largest group.
The tone of the gemstone is based on its colour depth: light, medium-light, medium, medium-dark and dark. The gemstones that are within the range of medium-light to medium-dark are the most valuable.
Carat is the unit of weight used for gemstones, where 0.2 grams corresponds to one carat. Two stones of different sizes can have the same carat, as one stone may be experienced as larger than another because of its grinding.
A stone that is completely clear is extremely rare to find and is therefore also very valuable. Most gemstones contain inclusions and traces of other minerals, gases and liquids. However, the value of a stone does not have to reduce because of this, it can instead increase the value of the stone. Therefore, it can be quite difficult to value gemstones from this category.
From a sustainability point of view and to be able to know how the stone can be used and be worn, you have to estimate the hardness of the stone. This is done according to Moh's hardness scale which goes from 10-1, where 10 is ranked as the hardest. A hardness of 5 is considered a fairly sensitive stone that is easily scratched, while a stone of 10-7 in hardness is considered quite hard.
The cut of a stone is of high importance, especially for diamonds, as it helps to increase its lustre and ability to reflect light. As for other gemstones, the most important function is to take the colour, size and symmetry of the stone into account before the cut. Most of the unusual transparent stones are already faceted by nature, such as the magic Herkimer.
The rarity of a gemstone is another factor that gives it its value. Most gemstones are rare, but for the most part, supply and demand are the factors that affect the most.
Stones and crystals have become more and more popular as it is said that they carry different types of energies and forces. Celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham and Miranda Kerr go nowhere without their stones. Some use their stones as a type of lucky charms while others gather power and energy through them.
It is said that each gemstone carries its own fascinating meaning, attribute and power, which is why people invest in multiple stones for different occasions. For example, the Yellow Citrine is said to make one see the bright in existence and strengthen self-confidence while the black Onyx heals grief and gives happiness, success and luck. Whether you believe in it or not, gemstones truly are a wonder created by nature – both beautiful and timeless to say the least.
Sometimes more is more – at least when it comes to diamonds and gemstones. Whether you go for dangling earrings, a statement necklace or a ring with a big rock – this gift just can’t go wrong.
The diamond is the most iconic and mythical of all precious stones. An engagement or wedding ring studded with diamonds is the ultimate expression of love.