Precious vs Semi Precious Stones (Semiprecious Stones)
One cannot just pinpoint the difference between a precious stone and a semi precious stone because it is something to do with the quality of each stone. The use of beautiful, colored stones for embellishment and ornamentation of fine jewelry has been popular among jewelers and people alike for the last many centuries. In most of the jewelry pieces, precious stones are used to make the piece of jewelry more attractive. The stones that are used for crafting jewelry are divided into precious and semi precious stones. Not many people are aware of the differences between precious and semi precious stones and are susceptible to being duped by fraudulent people. This article will highlight the differences between precious and semi precious stones to make people more aware.
What are Precious Stones?
Most popular precious stones (and, of course, most valuable) are ruby, emerald, sapphire, and diamond. Some people also include pearl in this category though technically they are not stones but sold as stones because they are equally beautiful and attractive. As the name indicates, precious stones are those gemstones that are rare, have a high quality and have an even setting. Some other gems that are generally considered precious stones are spinel and tourmaline. Sometimes, you will see that some of the precious stones even have names. That is because they are so rare and high in quality. In diamonds, Heart of Eternity is a rare blue diamond. The Hope Diamond is another famous precious stone. Then, the largest known sapphire is a black color sapphire known as Black Star of Queensland.
Another important factor regarding determining the value of a gemstone is this. There is a method called four C’s. They stand for cut, color, clarity, and (k) carats. These factors decide the value of a gemstone. Usually, color is the most important factor. However, with diamonds, cut is the most important factor.
What are Semi Precious Stones?
As far as semi precious stones are concerned, the most popular ones are jade, topaz, moonstone, opal, zircon, amethyst, turquoise, aquamarine, etc. There are also bloodstone, malachite, coral, agate, garnet, azurite, and some more that are not as valuable as those mentioned above but are still considered semi precious stones.
Both precious and semi precious stones are found either as rocks or minerals in rocks under the surface of the earth. They are then polished, and their value enhanced by talented artisans who make them fit enough to be used as embellishments with ornaments and jewelry. Though there is no way to judge the artistic value of a precious or semi precious stone, their value is dependent upon their quality and rarity. You may be surprised to see a 10 carat jade selling for just $10 while finding another smaller piece of jade selling for almost $100. You may get a piece of ruby for less than the price of a rare agate, which is so called semi precious stone. This makes the situation very confusing, and it is prudent to refer to stones as just gemstones rather than precious and semiprecious. A soon as a salesman in a jewelry shop uses the word semiprecious the value of the gemstone is lessened in the eyes of the customer, and it loses all its desirability.
As far as a precise definition of precious and semi precious stones is concerned, there is none, and besides diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, nearly all other gemstones are classified as semi precious. To classify as a valuable semi precious stone, it all boils down to rarity and craftsmanship of the artisan. When amethysts were rare, they were considered precious, but as soon as huge reserves of amethysts were found in many parts of the world, this gemstone stopped being referred to as a precious stone.
What is the difference between Precious and Semi Precious Stones?
• Gemstones that are found under the surface of the earth in the form of rocks and minerals and used for embellishment of jewelry are classified into precious and semi precious stones depending upon their rarity and use.
• While diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphire are classified as precious, agate, jade, azurite, topaz, and many others are classified as semi precious stones.
• There is no legal definition of precious and semi precious stones, and it is their rarity and craftsmanship of the artisan that decides the value of a gemstone.
- Hope Diamond in 1974 via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
- Semi-precious gemstones : quartz, amethyst, blue topaz, spinel by Mauro Cateb (CC BY-SA 3.0)