The mysterious appeal of gemstones, their exquisite and varied colors, and the amazing play of light contained within them, have made them desirable to many. These qualities, combined with their rarity, hardness and durability means that precious gemstones are uniquely valuable.
The natural beauty, strength and resilience of gems have inspired beliefs in their mystical origins and supernatural powers, and stones that have survived the centuries have collected an abundance of history and romance around them.
There are over 3,000 different minerals, but only around 50 are commonly used as gemstones. Others are cut for collectors, but are often not suitable for personal adornment because they are too soft and easily damaged. The number of minerals regarded as gemstones does in fact change constantly, as new sources and varieties are found and fashions change.
To be considered as a gemstone, a mineral (or sometimes an organic material) must be beautiful, most importantly in its color. A gemstone must also be durable – hard enough to withstand constant use or handling without becoming scratched or damaged. Finally it must be rare, because its very scarcity endows it with a greater market value.
Most gemstones are minerals with a fixed chemical composition and regular internal structure. A few gems, such as amber and pearl, come from plants or animals, and are commonly known as organics.
Other stones, called synthetic or created gems, do not have a natural origin, but are made in laboratories. These have the same physical, optical and chemical properties as natural gems, and are often cut to imitate the natural gemstones.
Case Study References:
Lab Created Diamonds – Man Made Alternatives
Almost all cut gems begin life in a crystalline form embedded in a host rock known as the matrix. In this state, the gemstone is referred to as “rough” and in many cases is barely recognizable as the finished gem. However, many crystals are attractive enough to be displayed in their natural state. Others are faceted and polished to enhance their beauty and then set into a piece of jewelry or an ornament.
The links below will give you some further information on some of the beautiful gemstones used in our extensive jewelry collection: