A Few Facts About Gemstones

Here Are a Few Facts About Gemstones That You Might Not Know

Raw-GemstonesWhat many folks don’t realize about gemstones is that they are only a bunch of colourful stones and rocks that have been polished and precisely shaped and made into jewels that we see as the finished product. Brilliant as they appear, these stones are normally minerals dug out of the ground on our planet, they are sorted and the worthless stones are tossed out. These chosen gemstones have qualities that the gemologist sees and that made them valuable.

These rocks once examined and cut will be crafted to get the maximum value from the raw stone.  Some precious stones are softer than others. Lustrous ones, ones that glitter and shine, are used for jewelry making. These are then classed into semi-precious or precious stones. Then they can be further arranged into stones that are used by some for therapeutic use and the bulk of the gemstones mainly for aesthetic appeal.

The mineral value would always depend on the rarity of the stone and how difficult it is to find. The more rare, exotic and tough the mining area is where the stones were found, the more costly they will be to buy. Smaller pebble sized stones are also seen as gemstones of value in certain ways. Even though the larger stones can be set on their own clusters of smaller stones together can have a certain appeal to many people.

Who is the one qualified to identify gemstones?

Gemologists are the people that have studied and who are able to identify these raw stones. They have learned and have the authority to explain what the minerals are in the gemstone and they use terminologies that are used in gemology. They will identify certain gemstone characteristics and establish what they are according to their chemical composition.

How do they get characterized and what are the classifications?

Gemstones are essentially characterized and classified by:

• Chemical composition
• Dispersion
• Cleavage
• Refractive index
• Specific gravity
• Hardness
• Fracture
• Luster

Some stones could exhibit double refraction, luminescence and a specific light spectrum that is unique and distinct from other stones. Gems could have flaws which can be described as inclusions.

Classifications can vary as well, they might be included in a cubic crystal system, trigonal crystal system or the monoclinic crystal system. However the normal method for classifying is based on varieties, species and groups.

 

Gemstone values

Essentially it is agreed that the most valuable gemstone of all time is the diamond. They can fetch millions of dollars on the open market. Diamonds are priced based mainly on its properties and these include its brilliance and hardness based on the “Mohs scale of mineral hardness”. Diamonds are unlike any other gemstone, the diamond is the hardest known natural mineral and it has many uses besides the obvious aesthetic one. It is well-known that this magnificent mineral can cut through glass without being damaged in any way.

A gemstone’s worth is based on its mineral characteristics and how rare it is. Then the next factor is the clarity and how the gemstone cutter and polisher craft the stone to get the best from the raw rock. The market is also affected by supply and demand, for instance if there is a demand for millions of stones around the world and the supply only has hundreds of thousands available then the price will go up. Conversely if the demand falls and the market gets flooded with diamonds then the price could drop.

However besides that, there is a vast number and variety of gemstones available to everyone these days and some of them are surprisingly cheap.

One of the grading terms used for gemstones is classing them in terms of their “water”. This grading is  recognized as the luster of the gem and the amount of transparency or “brilliance” that it has.Very transparent gems are considered “first water”, while ones with less transparency will be called “second” or “third water” gems.

The size of any stone will also have a major influence on the price as the larger stones are more rare and are always harder to find.

Here is an alphabetical list of some of the most valuable stones today: Aventurine, Agate, Amethyst, Beryl, Carnelian, Chrysoberyl, Diamond, Diopside, Emerald, Garnet, Jade, Jasper, Lapis lazuli, Larimar, Malachite, Marcasite, Moonstone, Obsidian, Onyx, Opal, Peridot, Quartz, Ruby, Sapphire, Sodalite, Sunstone, Tanzanite, Tiger’s eye, Topaz, Tourmaline, Turquoise & Yogo sapphire.

Picure courtesy of Wikipedia read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemstone