Differences between precious and semiprecious stones

Differences between precious and semiprecious stones

As we already know, human beings since their appearance have always felt devotion and have endowed a certain mysticism to precious or rare stones or stones very difficult to find in nature. So they were given different uses: for ornamentation, to symbolize power and exclusivity, were associated with the worship of certain deities, and were even used to heal or for the opposite.

If you are a jewelry lover, you have probably asked yourself these questions: What is the difference between a precious stone and a semiprecious stone? Why are some worth more than others? What makes a stone belong to one group or another? Gemstones and semi precious stones are, for the most part, minerals. However, some of them are organic, such as amber, and fossilized vegetable resin. But we will see that later.


A bit of history

To begin with, both gemstones and semi-precious stones are gems. Gems were first classified into the categories of "precious stones" and "semi-precious stones" in the mid-19th century.

Gemstones have been a part of our life even since ancient times, their colors, rarity, durability and mystical beauty of gemstones were characteristics that could not be explained by our ancestors. The most genuine explanation was that gemstones had to be divine.

Stones were always connected with the spiritual. This legacy can be found in all major religions, from Buddhism to Judaism and Christianity to Islam. For our ancestors, gemstones were not just simple stones, as they meant much more. They were amulets and talismans that were believed to influence the course of life.

When we speak of semi-precious stones, we are referring to a wide variety of gems that, throughout history, have lost their status as precious stones for one reason or another. In the past, some gems that are now considered semi precious were considered precious stones because they were new discoveries, rare and unknown. This is the case, for example, of amethyst, which was a highly valued stone in the past, but is now considered a semi-precious stone.

Amethyst was a highly valued stone until well into the 18th century, when these gems, recently found in Brazil, began to reach Europe. The growing supply of amethyst decreased its price and interest among the nobility and the emerging bourgeoisie. Another example is jadeite jade, a gem that in the West does not attract much attention, and yet it is in great demand in Asian markets. In China, jadeite is considered one of the most beautiful and valuable gems.

On the other hand, it must be said that this difference between precious stones and semiprecious stones is already somewhat obsolete, as there are gems on the market that even if they are not among the four big ones, can reach astronomical prices. And on the other hand, there are in the market such low qualities of these so-called big four that even the humblest of quartz surpasses them in beauty, tenacity, and merits to be worn as a jewel.

So what is the correct classification? It is more correct to speak of precious stones and ornamental stones. If we take quartz as an example, we see that this mineral has precious stone varieties such as citrine or amethyst and ornamental stone varieties such as jasper.

However, the old distinction between semi-precious stones and precious stones is still so widespread among dealers and consumers. In this article, we will continue to call them precious and semiprecious stones so that you do not get confused.






Gemstones are all minerals whose crystalline forms are suitable and valued for use in jewelry. Traditionally, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are considered gemstones. They are known as the four great gemstones.




Semi Precious Stones

Semi-precious or ornamental stones are rather opaque minerals and all those rocks (amorphous aggregates of various minerals) with which decorative objects and jewelry can be made. The best-known semi precious gems are aquamarine, citrine, quartz, spinel, topaz, moonstone, and labradorite among others.

Generally, their price is not going to be very high. However, semi-precious stones have very different values among them. There are approximately 130 mineral species classified as semi-precious stones. Although all precious stones have a much higher price than semi-precious stones, it does not mean that semi-precious gems are cheap. There are gems in the market that even those not considered precious can reach astronomical prices. This would be the case with lapis lazuli, which is so beautiful and appreciated that it reaches very high prices.

It is for this reason that semi-precious stones are ideal for creating jewelry. Thanks to its beauty, you can create unique and spectacular jewelry, which will enhance your essence and bring touches of light to your looks. Discover the wide variety of jewelry with semiprecious stones, you will love them!




Differences between precious stones vs semi-precious stones

In order to distinguish between precious stones and semi-precious stones, three factors are used:

The hardness of the gems: the hardness guarantees its durability, and goes from 1 to 10 being the diamond is the only gem with the highest grade. The gem will be marked by its hardness to scratching, its tenacity to pressure and shocks, and its resistance to the most common chemical agents. In short, it withstands daily use as part of a jewel, and the same jewel can be passed on from generation to generation.

The rarity or scarcity of these gems: The more difficult they are to find in nature, the higher their price will be on the market. It is also marked by the demand for that gem throughout history or in certain periods.

The perfection or beauty of these stones: This factor depends on the color, transparency, brilliance, and play of colors of each gemstone, among others. Any optical quality that makes it attractive to our eyes will be a factor. A pure gemstone, without imperfections and with radiant color, can have a value even higher than that of a diamond of similar characteristics.


Gemstones will therefore be the hardest/rarest, the rarest, and, of course, the most beautiful and flawless. Now you know a lot about it, don't you?

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