Semi Precious Gemstone
Lapis Lazuli Stone (20)
Malachite Stone (5)
Pearl (Moti) (10)
Aqeeq Stone (16)
Feroza Stone (31)
Marjan Stone in Pakistan (19)
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What is the Difference Between Precious and Semi Precious Stones?
In antiquity, precious stones were diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire and pearl, sometimes the opal was also considered a precious stone. Everything else is considered semi-precious gemstones. Among the popular ones and less expensive ones are the Amethyst, Turquoise, Aquamarine, Topaz, Peridot, opal, Tourmaline, Alexandrite, garnet (but the green Garnet could cost more.) Today we still use these terms in the world of jewelry.
So, our initial understanding is that precious stones are of greater quality, of greater importance and higher priced, and semi-precious meaning of less commercial value than precious. This clearly indicates that these terms are marketing terms, and ultimately confusing. Many stones such as the rare and beautiful Tanzanite, may cost as much as $1000 per carat. So, don’t be deceived as to think that because it is called semi-precious that it will be less expensive. A diamond can be purchased for as little as $200 per carat while a garnet which has always been regarded as semi-precious could be selling over $500 per carat. Therefore, the labels precious and semi-precious should be completely abandoned because whether a gemstone is considered one or the other has very little to do with the current value. These labels put on gemstones are inaccurate and can often be misleading. As the example of the Tanzanite, many gemstones today could easily be categorized as precious due to their increasing scarcity, and high price. Rarity will be an important factor in determining the cost of a gemstone and the value of a gemstone should not increase or diminish just because it is categorized as precious or semi-precious.
Precious and semi precious are nothing but labels helping us to categorize gemstones, but in no way determine importance or value. As far as terms go, here are some you should know: “gem”, “gemstone”, “jewel” “synthetic” and “simulant”.
Gem: a mineral (naturally occurring material) cut and polished.
Gemstone: a fragment of the gem (the cut stone).
Jewel: the combination of metal and gemstone. Gemstone set in a metal in order to be worn.
Synthetic: a manmade material in no way equivalent to a mineral.
Simulant: a material resembling another material, example glass used as a substitute for ruby or emerald.
You can also find more information about different gemstones on our blog.
Some Semi precious Stones
Amethyst -Greek “Amethystos”, translation-‘not drunken’, the stone was believed by the Ancient Greeks to prevent intoxication.
Description- Amethyst is a purple stone, ranging in shade from pale pinkish-violet to deep purple
Characteristics of the Gem- Made from an elementary composition of silicon dioxide and vitreous luster, it can be found in alluvial deposits. Amethyst has a trigonal crystal structure with a hardness on the Moh scale of 7.
Holistic Benefits- Improves and strengthens the immune system, diminishes headaches and stress. Provides inner peace and balance within the body. Beneficial for intuition and inspiration.
Gem Folklore- The Greek God Dionysus (God of intoxication) became angry and vowed revenge on any mortal who he came across. Ravishing Amethyst came along and the gods turned her into the gemstone, saving her from a murderous attack.
Sourcing- mined in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Zambia, Namibia and other African countries
History- Amethysts are inlaid in the British Crown jewels, Egyptian royalty and jewelry of Catherine the Great. The Victorian era saw the amethyst rise in popularity.
Zodiac & Birthstone- Pisces (Feb19-March 20)
Garnet – derivation most likely from Latin, ‘Granatum’ (pomegranate), the pulp and seeds of the fruit are similar in color to the Garnet.
Description – A group of gemstones with similar crystal structure and chemical compounds with a wide range of colors except blue. The most well-known is the rhodonite Garnet, ranging in color from pink to red-violet.
Characteristics of the Gem- determining the exact chemical composition of the garnet is difficult, the reliance on color and refractive index is used for classification. Classic red stones are Almandine, Rhodolite or Pyrope. Garnets have vitreous luster and 7.5 Moh hardness.
Holistic Benefits- used for regenerating the bloodstream, provides courage and assistance in accepting love. Creativity stimulant.
Sourcing- Garnet can be found in Mexico, Australia, Switzerland, Tanzania, Brazil, Burma, Arizona, South Africa and Scotland.
Zodiac & Birthstone – Aquarius (Jan 20 Feb 19) Month: January
Turquoise – 13c. ‘turqueise’ meaning Turkish stone- late Middle English, Old French. Also Persian ‘Firouze’, the name given the gem.
Description- intensely greenish-blue or paler sky-blue
Characteristics of the gem- Turquoise is somewhat porous and opaque. It is a hydrated hydroxyl phosphate of copper and aluminum that is formed by leaching meteoric or groundwater through aluminous rock. It reads 6 on Moh’s scale.
Holistic Properties- assists in tissue regeneration, helps nutrients absorb into the body. Protects against toxins and pollutants.
Folklore- the ancient Greeks believed turquoise protected the wearer from evil by changing color.
Sourcing- Persia, US, Mexico, Tibet, Russia, Chile and Australia
History- 3200BC Egyptians mined Turquoise in the Sinai and Tibetans sculpted ritual objects out of Turquoise. Montezuma’s Grave and treasure collection includes Turquoise.
Zodiac & Birthstone- Sagittarius, December
Peridot- yellow-green to olive green gemstone.
Characteristics of the Gem- A volcanic gemstone, Peridot is derived from olivine- a species of magnesium-iron rich silicate minerals. Moh’s hardness rating 6.5 with a vitreous to oily luster.
Holistic Properties- stimulates personal growth and awareness, protecting the wearer against cynicism and garnering assertiveness.
Folklore- The Romans prescribed administering medicines out of goblets made of Peridot would strengthen the remedy. It was also called ‘evening stone’ as the color of the gem does not fade at night nor by lamplight.
Sourcing- Burma, Brazil, USA, South Africa, St.John’s Island, China and Norway.
History- The Crusaders brought the earliest known Peridot gems to Europe from St. John’s Island in the Red Sea (54 km. off the coast of Egypt), 70AD.
Zodiac & Birthstone: August
Colorful Semi Precious Stone Jewelry
If diamonds are a woman’s best friends, jewelry is can surely be tagged as their first love. Women absolutely love jewelry and their tastes have been varied in different times. But the love is consistent. However, jewelry is not what it used to be ten years back. New styles and patterns have emerged and won the heart of the young generation of women. Beaded jewelry, button jewelry, string jewelry, and many more. Young women have always wanted to take a break from regular metals like silver and gold. But the above-stated styles only make for casual wears. So how do we manage the formal affairs?
Semi precious stone jewelry or gemstone jewelry is a smart answer to the question. You can buy jewelry in different colors and styles to match your formal wears and party dresses. Let’s have a look at different stones that you can look at in different colors. Studded in a variety of metals – gold, silver and platinum, they look absolutely stunning and brilliant.
Pearls: Pearls are lustrous white stones found in the sea. Pearls have always been associated with elegance and austere beauty. White pearls make beautiful jewelry pieces in all forms of ornaments, be it a ring, ear rings, necklace, beaded pearl necklace, bracelets, etc. It is a very good stone to match with formal wears both Indian and western. Also looks good with semi casuals.
Amethyst: Amethyst are beautiful stones found in vivid purple shades. It is basically a transparent version of quartz, which has crystal-like shine and looks very beautiful when studded as a big huge chunk. It specially looks very nice as big cocktail ring or as a long, chunky necklace. Goes well solo, studded in platinum and teamed with western party wears.
Emerald: The best of green shade that is available in more than one version of the basic green. Emerald looks beautiful when matched with contrasting gemstones. A garnet and emerald combination looks very beautiful in a choker and ear rings set. Emerald can give a traditional look also. Looks very nice when matched with Indian dresses.
Garnet: Garnet is bright red is a nice deep color that will go with red and black both the colors. It does not have much of a luster but looks very nice with a deep red tone. Can also be matched with other pieces of gemstone jewelry. Gold, silver and platinum all look good with the stone, you can also go for string jewelry with these stones strung in exotic designs.
Used for variety of purposes, there is a wide spectrum of semi-precious stones [http://www.hunzabazar.com/] in different shapes, sizes, color, brilliance and clarity. Know more about these stones, their composition, physical & chemical properties, their uses.
Semi-precious Stones – Properties and History
Semi-Precious stones and Their Properties Continued
Lapis Lazuli – from the Latin, ‘lapis’, which means stone, and from azul (Arabic) meaning blue.
Description- a bright blue metamorphic rock, composed of minerals such as lazurite, sodalite, pyrite and calcite. The best quality lapis lazuli has a potent dark blue with small areas of white calcite and metallic pyrite.
Characteristics of the Gem- The intense dark blue stone is somewhat soft, 5.5 on Moh’s scale. Luster is vitreous to oily and crystal structures vary depending on the mineral composition.
Holistic Properties- is for mind/body/soul connection to the higher spiritual self. Is said to lessen anxiety, create overall body/mind relaxation and changes darkness to light/ negative to positive, also called ‘night stone’
Folklore- Known by the Romans as a strong aphrodisiac. In the Middle ages it was used to keep the arms and legs in good health and release the soul from envy, fear or error.
Sourcing- Afghanistan mines the best quality deep colored stones, also, lighter stones found in Chile, Russia and the US
History- In Renaissance paintings, the beautiful blue stone was ground up and put into the pigment ultramarine, which was used to paint sky, sea and anything blue. It’s existence in trade is evident in the ancient city of Ur as early as 4th millennium B.C. Lapis Lazuli is also seen from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome in adornments for royal jewels and other amulets.
Topaz -from Sanskrit ‘tapas’, meaning fire.
Description- Topaz exists in an earthly palette. Deep golden yellow and pink have the highest value. Blue Topaz exists, with color enhancement through irradiation.
Characteristics of the Gem- Topaz has an orthorhombic crystal structure and rates 8 on Moh’s scale. Topaz occasionally has tear-shaped cavities encompassing a gas bubble or varied immiscible liquids. Some have diamond-shaped cross-section attributes with striations running the length of the stone.
Holistic Properties- A formidable healing stone that encourages well-being. It attracts love, enables creativity and promotes self-expression. Topaz has medical benefits in easing insomnia, asthma and hemorrhages.
Folklore- The Greeks believed it made the wearer invisible when used in an emergency. Topaz was used to banish enchantment and aided in correcting eyesight. Its esoteric and restorative attributes were controlled by the waxing and waning of the moon.
Sourcing- Topaz is found in igneous rocks- in pegmatite’s, granites and volcanic lavas. Locations include Brazil, US, Pakistan, Tasmania, Australia, Russia and Mexico.
History- Some famous Topaz gemstones: The Giant Braganza (originally mistaken as a diamond) from the Portuguese Crown, two very large and beautiful Topaz in museum collections, the Green Vault in Dresden and The Smithsonian Institute’s “Hall of Giants”. Historically, Topaz has been associated with the sun as the Egyptians attributed its golden glow to the sun god Ra and the Romans associated it with their god of the sun, Jupiter.
Zodiac & Birthstone- Sagittarius (Nov 23 – Dec 20) Month: November
Citrine – derived from French ‘Citron’ meaning lemon
Description- A pale yellow or, when heat treated, a golden yellow stone that acquires its color from trace amounts of iron.
Characteristics of the Gem- is a derivation of quartz, 7 on Moh’s hardness scale.
Holistic Properties- said to engender euphoria and self-esteem, preventative properties against proclivity for self-destruction.
Gem- In primitive times, the gem was used, worn or carried as an effective defense against evil thoughts and snake venom. Sourcing- Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul.
Semi-Precious Stones – More Characteristics and History
Tourmaline – Singhalese word “turmali,” meaning “mixed.”
Description- a brittle black or grey mineral occurring in prismatic crystals within granite or other rocks. This stone occurs in all colors and many times in combinations, bicolor and tricolor tourmaline stones are favored, sometimes coloring occurs in bands, sometimes coloring takes on one shade with another in the center. ‘Watermelon tourmaline’ is pink in the middle with green surrounding it.
Characteristics of the Gem- 7.5 hardness in Moh’s scale. Also used in optical instruments and electrical instruments due to its pyroelectric and polarizing properties because of the boron aluminosilicate making up its trigonal crystal structures.
It becomes magnetic and attracts light objects.
Holistic Properties- a very new age association with a protective impact. It is said to heal mental disorders and enables the wearer to face and tackle difficult challenges and changes.
Sourcing- pink and red tourmaline is found in Russia and Madagascar, Us, Burma, East Africa and Brazil.
History- The widowed last Empress of China, Tz’u Hsi was extremely fond of pink tourmaline and purchased a ton of the gemstone from a Himalayan mine. Upon her death, she was laid to rest on a pillow of carved pink tourmaline.
Description- Amber is translucent fossilized tree resin from extinct conifers of the Tertiary period. These typically yellow stones may also come in shades of golden orange, green, violet, red and black. Sometimes containing the bodies of trapped insects, found along the southern shores of the Baltic Sea. When this gemstone is rubbed, it gives off static electricity. The word electric comes from the Greek word for amber.
Characteristics of the Gem- this gemstone is very soft with a 2.5 on Moh’s scale.
Holistic Properties- said to have powers to balance energy and facilitate cleansing. It assists the wearer in remaining calm and protects from accepting other people’s suffering.
Folklore- In paleontology, amber has been used to classify and identify insects that were trapped in the gemstone. Stone Age man instilled the stone with mystical powers and wore it to worship. The Assyrians, Etruscans, Greeks, Phoenicians and Egyptians also ascribed significance and value to the stone. It is a stone that has been in public popularity since the Stone Age.
Sourcing- from the southern shores of the Baltic Sea and the Dominican Republic.
History- Amber is recorded in the Odyssey by Homer mentioning the stone as a princely gift of earrings and a necklace made of amber beads. During the time of Emperor Nero, who was a great admirer of amber, a piece of the stone was worth more than the price of a slave. The ancient Germans called it ‘Bernstein’ (burn stone) and used it as incense. In the Middle Ages, amber was used for stones to make rosary beads.
Description- a pearly white stone which can range in color from colorless to brown, yellow, pink, green or grey. The clarity also ranges from transparent to translucent. The highest-grade moonstone is of a blue sheen with perfect clarity and a colorless body.
Characteristics of the Gem- A variety of feldspar, the different refractive indexes cause the shimmer which is called alternatively schiller or adularescence, due to the intergrowth of two kinds of feldspar. It has a vitreous luster and rates 6 on Moh’s scale.
Holistic Properties- attributed to “Mother Earth” and powers of female fertility and related to menstrual cycles.
Sourcing- Sri Lanka, southern India, Mexico, European Alps and Madagascar
Where to Buy Semi Precious Stones…?
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