The Facts About Precious And Semi-Precious Gemstones
Colored gemstones can be roughly divided into two basic categories, precious stones, and semi-precious stones. Of the two, precious stones such as rubies, diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds are the most well-known. This is mostly because these stones have the highest value thanks to their extraordinary colour
The term semi-precious when used to describe certain coloured stones is a fairly recent practice, while most people tend to believe or assume that the term semi-precious has been in use for as long as precious and semi-precious stones have been in demand, the opposite is actually true. The term that is
used to distinguish coloured stones that have a lower commercial value has only been in use for just over a century.
While there are four main precious stones that are the most commonly recognized, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, there are others that have historically been included in that list. Amethyst is one of the oldest and dates back as far as the ancient Greeks.
It is interesting to note however that since large deposits of amethyst were discovered in parts of Brazil amethyst was removed from the list of precious stones and placed on the list of semi-precious stones. It is also important to note that both precious and semi-precious coloured stones are used in a
a vast array of jewellery design as well as in the manufacture of diamond rings.
While on the subject of diamonds, one of the biggest misconceptions is that diamonds are the most precious of all precious gemstones. This is not entirely true. Rubies and sapphires were in fact considered to be much more valuable than diamonds for quite a significant part of history. The reason for this is that diamonds are in fact not all that rare. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, large deposits of diamonds were discovered in South Africa.
This contributed to diamonds becoming even more devalued until diamond companies decided to form a cartel so that the supply of diamonds onto the market could
be closely controlled, thereby making them more valuable and rare.