Nature's most exquisite gifts
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on precious and semi-precious gemstones, where we'll take you on a journey through nature's most exquisite gifts.
Gemstones are more than just shiny rocks; they're a testament to the beauty and power of nature, each possessing a unique charm and allure that has captivated humans for centuries. In this guide, we'll explore the vivid hues, intricate patterns, and mesmerizing sparkle of gemstones, and how they're essential to luxurious jewellery.
From the fiery red of rubies to the deep blue of sapphires and the radiant green of emeralds, gemstones have come to symbolise elegance and sophistication, coveted treasures that are crafted over millions of years. Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of gemstones, and learn how to appreciate and choose the perfect gemstone jewellery for you.
RUBYRuby Buying Guide
Ruby is a precious gemstone known for its striking red colour and exceptional hardness. It has been used in jewellery and other decorative objects for thousands of years and is valued for its rarity and symbolic significance.
EMERALDEmerald Buying Guide
Emerald is a precious gemstone known for its rich green colour and stunning clarity. It has been highly prized for centuries and is considered one of the most valuable gemstones in the world.
SAPPHIRESapphire Buying Guide
Sapphire is a precious gemstone known for its vivid blue colour, although it can also come in other colours like pink, yellow, and green. This highly sought after stone is valued for its beauty, durability, and versatility in jewellery.
Your Birthstone Gem
Gemstone birthstones are specific types of gemstones that are associated with each month of the year, with each stone having its own unique properties and symbolism.
Our birthstones guide for gemstones offers a comprehensive overview of the birthstones for each month, providing information on their history, meaning, and significance, as well as their physical properties and uses in jewellery.
Semi Precious Gemstones
Semi-precious gemstones are a diverse group of minerals that are valued for their beauty and rarity, but are considered less valuable than precious gemstones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
While they may be less expensive, semi-precious gemstones are still highly sought after for their unique colours, patterns, and textures, and have been used in jewellery and decorative objects for centuries. Examples of semi-precious gemstones include amethyst, turquoise, topaz, garnet, and many others, each with its own distinct characteristics and symbolism.
With their wide range of colours and affordability, semi-precious gemstones offer endless possibilities for jewellery design and personal expression.
GARNETGarnet Buying Guide
Garnet, the birthstone for January, is a popular gemstone with a rich history and deep cultural significance.
AMETHYSTAmethyst Buying Guide
Amethyst is a beautiful and calming gemstone that is renowned for its deep purple colour and its association with clarity and spiritual awareness.
AQUAMARINEAquamarine Buying Guide
A gemstone compared to the colours of the ocean, with shades ranging from pale blue to deep blue-green.
PEARLPearl Buying Guide
Pearls are a lustrous and timeless gemstone that have been prized for their natural beauty and elegance for centuries.
PERIDOTPeridot Buying Guide
Peridot is a vibrant and ancient gemstone that is known for its vivid green colour and its association with nature and renewal.
TOURMALINETourmaline Buying Guide
Tourmaline is a versatile and colourful gemstone that comes in a wide range of shades and is recognised for its unique crystal formations.
TOPAZTopaz Buying Guide
Topaz is a sparkling and cheerful gemstone that is renowned for its warm yellow or golden hues.
TANZANITETanzanite Buying Guide
Tanzanite is a rare and captivating gemstone prized for its striking blue-violet hue and its association with the African continent.
CZ - Diamond Alternative
Cubic zirconia is a synthetic gemstone that is often used as a substitute for diamond due to its high refractive index, hardness, and durability. It is made from zirconium dioxide, which is melted and then stabilised to create a crystalline structure that closely resembles diamond.
Cubic zirconias are highly versatile and can be created in a wide range of colours, shapes, and sizes. They are also much more affordable than diamonds, making them a popular choice for both fashion and fine jewellery.
While they may not have the same inherent value or rarity as natural gemstones, cubic zirconias offer an accessible and beautiful alternative for those looking to add a touch of sparkle to their jewellery collection.
Red gemstones are a fiery and passionate group of stones that come in a variety of shades and are often chosen for their bold and intense colours.
Yellow gemstones are a bright and sunny group of stones that come in a variety of shades and are ecognised for their cheerful and uplifting energy.
Blue gemstones are a cool and calming group of stones that come in a variety of shades and are prized for their soothing and peaceful qualities.
Green gemstones are a fresh and vibrant group of stones that come in a range of tones and are selected for their natural beauty and association with growth and renewal.
Gemstone Certification & Grading
Gemstone certification and grading in the United Kingdom is typically done by independent gemological laboratories that specialise in evaluating the quality and authenticity of gemstones. One of the most well-known and respected organizations is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which has a branch in London. The GIA uses a rigorous grading system that assesses the colour, clarity, cut, and carat weight of a gemstone. Other organizations that offer gemstone certification in the UK include the International Gemological Institute (IGI), the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A), and the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ).
These organizations provide certificates that serve as a guarantee of a gemstone's authenticity and quality, and can be particularly important for high-value gemstones. When purchasing gemstones from Sonny's, we will always provide a certificate from a reputable gemological laboratory to ensure quality and traceability.
FAQ / Your questions about Gemstones answered.
What is the difference between precious and semi-precious gemstones?
The terms "precious" and "semi-precious" gemstones were historically used to distinguish between the most valuable and rare gemstones, such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires (which were considered "precious"), and other gemstones that were deemed to be of lesser value and rarity (which were considered "semi-precious"). However, this distinction is no longer considered to be accurate or relevant, as many gemstones that were once considered "semi-precious" are now highly prized and valuable, and some gemstones that were once considered "precious" are relatively common and less expensive. Therefore, it is now more common to refer to gemstones simply by their individual names and characteristics, rather than grouping them into categories of "precious" and "semi-precious
What are the birthstones for each month?
Here are the birthstones for each month:
- January - Garnet
- February - Amethyst
- March - Aquamarine or Bloodstone
- April - Diamond
- May - Emerald
- June - Pearl, Alexandrite, or Moonstone
- July - Ruby
- August - Peridot or Spinel
- September - Sapphire
- October - Opal or Tourmaline
- November - Topaz or Citrine
- December - Turquoise, Tanzanite, or Zircon
These birthstones have been assigned based on tradition, cultural significance, and availability, and are a popular choice for birthstone jewellery gifts or personal adornment.
What are the most common Red Gemstones?
There are several red gemstones that are commonly used in jewellery, including:
- Ruby - a precious gemstone that is prized for its rich red colour and durability.
- Garnet - a group of minerals that come in a range of red hues, from deep red to pinkish-red.
- Spinel - a gemstone that comes in a range of colours, including red, and is often mistaken for ruby or sapphire.
- Tourmaline - a gemstone that comes in a variety of colours, including red, and is valued for its unique colour variations.
- Topaz - a gemstone that is typically blue, but can also come in shades of red, pink, and orange.
- Red Beryl - a rare and valuable gemstone that comes in shades of red and pink.
- Red Zircon - a gemstone that comes in shades of red and is often used as a less expensive alternative to ruby.
These gemstones vary in their shade of red, rarity, and price, but they are all beautiful and highly valued for their unique qualities.
What are the most common Blue gemstones?
Blue is a popular colour for gemstones, and there are several gemstones that come in shades of blue. Here are some of the most common blue gemstones:
- Sapphire - a precious gemstone that comes in various shades of blue, from pale blue to deep blue.
- Aquamarine - a light blue or blue-green gemstone that is a member of the beryl family.
- Blue Topaz - a popular gemstone that comes in several shades of blue, from pale blue to bright blue.
- Blue Zircon - a gemstone that comes in various shades of blue, including sky blue and teal blue.
- Tanzanite - a rare and valuable gemstone that is found only in Tanzania, and comes in shades of blue and purple.
- Lapis Lazuli - a deep blue gemstone that is often used in ornamental carvings and jewellery.
- Kyanite - a gemstone that comes in various shades of blue, often with streaks or veins of white.
These gemstones vary in their hue, saturation, and transparency, and are often used in jewellery, particularly in engagement rings, necklaces, and earrings.
What are the most common Yellow gemstones?
Yellow gemstones are a popular choice for jewellery and can come in various shades, from pale yellow to bright yellow. Here are some of the most common yellow gemstones:
- Citrine - a popular gemstone that ranges in colour from pale yellow to deep amber.
- Yellow Sapphire - a precious gemstone that ranges in colour from pale yellow to bright yellow.
- Yellow Diamond - a rare and valuable diamond that has a yellow hue, and is often used in engagement rings.
- Yellow Topaz - a gemstone that ranges in colour from pale yellow to golden yellow.
- Heliodor - a gemstone that ranges in colour from pale yellow to golden yellow.
- Golden Beryl - a gemstone that ranges in colour from pale yellow to bright yellow.
- Amber - a fossilised tree resin that ranges in colour from pale yellow to deep orange-yellow.
These gemstones are often used in jewellery, particularly in rings, necklaces, and earrings. Their varying shades of yellow can add a touch of warmth and vibrancy to any piece of jewellery.
What are the most common Green gemstones?
Green is a popular colour for gemstones and there are several gemstones that come in shades of green. Here are some of the most common green gemstones:
- Emerald - a precious gemstone that is known for its rich green colour and is often used in high-end jewellery.
- Jade - a popular gemstone that comes in various shades of green, from pale green to deep green.
- Peridot - a gemstone that comes in shades of green-yellow and is often used in August birthstone jewellery.
- Green Sapphire - a precious gemstone that comes in various shades of green, from light green to dark green.
- Green Tourmaline - a gemstone that comes in various shades of green, often with a slight blue or yellow tint.
- Malachite - a green gemstone that is often used in ornamental carvings and jewellery.
- Chrome Diopside - a gemstone that is known for its intense green colour and is often used in accent stones for jewellery.
These gemstones vary in their hue, saturation, and transparency and are often used in jewellery, particularly in rings, necklaces, and earrings. Their varying shades of green can add a touch of natural beauty and elegance to any piece of jewellery.
Are Diamonds the most precious gemstone?
Diamonds are considered one of the most precious and valuable gemstones, but they are not the only precious gemstone. Other gemstones, such as emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, are also considered precious gemstones.
The classification of a gemstone as "precious" or "semi-precious" is based on historical and traditional usage rather than on actual value or rarity. However, diamonds are known for their exceptional hardness, brilliance, and durability, which makes them a popular choice for engagement rings and other high-end jewellery.
While diamonds may be the most well-known and sought-after gemstone, the value and rarity of a gemstone can vary based on several factors, including colour, clarity, carat weight, and origin. Some rare gemstones, such as alexandrite, paraiba tourmaline, and red beryl, can be even more valuable than diamonds. Ultimately, the value of a gemstone is determined by a combination of its beauty, rarity, and demand in the market.
Can you get Black gemstones?
Yes, there are several black gemstones that exist. The colour black in gemstones is caused by the presence of certain minerals or impurities in their composition. Here are some examples of black gemstones:
- Black Onyx - a variety of chalcedony that is black in colour and often used in jewellery.
- Black Diamond - a type of diamond that is opaque black in colour, and is less common than traditional clear diamonds.
- Black Spinel - a durable gemstone that is often used as an alternative to black diamonds.
- Black Tourmaline - a popular gemstone that is known for its ability to protect against negative energy.
- Black Obsidian - a natural volcanic glass that is black in colour and is often used in jewellery and for ornamental carvings.
Black gemstones can add a touch of sophistication and elegance to any piece of jewellery. They are often used as accent stones in rings, necklaces, and earrings, and are particularly popular in men's jewellery. The choice of a black gemstone will depend on personal preference and the desired style or symbolism of the piece.