Have you ever heard of a Precious Gemstone? Is it a precious diamond or a precious sapphire? If it’s not then what is it? A gemstone is a colourful and beautiful natural stone dug out of the ground which can be used in wearable jewellery. There are over 100 different gemstones which can be put into jewellery but we only give a very small minority of the Precious adulation. These are Diamonds, Sapphires, Rubies, Emeralds and Pearls which have been the major jewellery stores since the 1800s.
There are a sapphire, ruby and pearl set into this antique stick pin.
Precious gemstones have been called this since the Victorian era. The title was given them to create the idea that they are the most beautiful, most rare and most desirable of all gems. All other stones we place in jewellery are known as Semi-Precious. This term would apply for example to topaz, citrine, aquamarine, amethyst, quartzes and garnets. There are more of course.
The term precious was just an advertising gimmick to try and sell more of those stones and at a higher price. There is nothing specific about them as a group that makes them any better than semi-precious stones although they do tend to be more expensive. Many of the gems we know as semi-precious are just as lovely if not better.
So don’t worry about this term, buy the gems you love and let the Victorians keep their marketing. Select your stone on the colour you love or your birthstone. Personally, I love semi-precious gems especially aquamarines and citrines.
Precious and semi-precious stones can be mixed in a piece of jewellery of course. Here’s a bracelet set with semi-precious amethyst and precious pearls.
What is your favourite Precious Gemstone and why? I would love to hear about it so please do leave a comment.