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A gemstone, also referred to as jewel, semi-precious stone, or gem, is a piece of mineral crystal that can be cut and polished to be used for adornment. Certain rocks, such as lapis lazuli and opals or other organic minerals like amber and pearl, are used as adornments and jewelry and, can therefore be considered gemstones. Many gemstones are hard stones, but some soft minerals are also valued for their aesthetic properties. Gemstones have been used to adorn manuscripts, jewelry, sculpture, and various types of tools and utensils.

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Why are uncut gemstones less expensive than cut stones?

The “cut” of a stone is often one of the most important factors in determining the value of a stone. The “cut” of a stone does not refer to the shape, but rather the proportion, symmetry, and polish. These factors determine how light intersects and is reflected from the stone; the quality of “sparkle” so to speak. Shaping a stone to maximize these factors is labor intensive and requires a skilled artisan. This labor is therefore factored into the price of the stone.

How are gemstones valued?

Of course, rarity plays an important role in the value of gemstones. The distinction between precious and semi-precious stones is a retired distinction in modern gemology, though  diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds still have a reputation that exceeds those of other gemstones. Gemstones have no universally accepted grading system (unlike diamonds). Physical characteristics such as color and clarity dictate the value of gemstones. Blue and pink diamonds are often considered gemstones and can be extremely valuable. “The Pink Star” diamond was sold at Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in 2017 for a record-breaking $71.2 million; $1.19 million per carat. “The Oppenheimer Blue” diamond sold for a final price of $57.5 million at Christie’s in 2016 with the most valuable price per carat at $3.93 million.

The ten rarest gems in the world are:

  • Taaffeite
  • Benitoite
  • Tanzanite
  • Poudretteite
  • Jadeite
  • Red Beryl
  • Black Opal
  • Grandidierite
  • Benitoite
  • Tanzanite
  • Poudretteite

The ten most valuable types of gemstones are: 

  • Blue Diamond (semi-precious stone)
  • Jadeite (semi-precious stone)
  • Pink Diamond (precious stone)
  • Emerald (precious stone)
  • Ruby (precious stone)
  • Emerald (preciou stone)
  • Alexandrite (semi-precious stone)
  • Musgravite (semi-precious stone)
  • Red Beryl (semi-precious stone)
  • Black Opal (semi-precious stone)
  • Tanzanite (semi-precious stone)

How can I tell if my gemstone is fake?

Synthetic gemstones are chemically and physically identical to natural gemstones, but are created in laboratory settings. Imitation or simulated gemstones are chemically different, but visually similar to natural gemstones. Examples of simulated or imitation stones include cubic zirconia, which look similar to a true gem, but does not possess the same chemical or physical properties of a natural stone. Cultured, synthetic, or "lab-created" gemstones are not imitations: the bulk materials are chemically the same. Whether or not a gemstone is natural stone or synthetic, the chemical, physical, and optical characteristics are the same. Often synthetic gemstones are brighter in color and clarity; impurities in natural gemstones are not present in synthetic stones and are created at a cost significantly less than natural gemstones.

Not just gemstones...

Mearto evaluates many different items.