Welcome to Alicia J. Diamonds’ comprehensive guide to Gemstones. Join us on a journey into the world of these semi-precious treasures. This guide will delve into these natural wonders’ history, symbolism and sheer beauty.
Let’s begin by understanding what gemstones are and taking a look at their geological origins:
What Exactly Are Gemstones?
Gemstones are naturally occurring minerals or rocks that have been cut, polished, and crafted into exquisite pieces of jewellery and decorative items. Humans have been captivated by their aesthetics, scarcity, and intrinsic value for centuries. Each gemstone boasts a palette of colours that holds its irresistible charm. Moreover, these treasures have been cherished throughout history for their significance, metaphysical properties and healing abilities.
The Science Behind Natural Gemstones
Natural gemstones, also known as organic gemstones, embody a captivating blend of geology, chemistry, and physics. These extraordinary minerals are formed within the Earth’s crust, where they crystallise under immense heat and pressure, taking thousands or even millions of years under intense heat and pressure. Gemstones possess captivating colours and remarkable transparency due to the exceptionally rare mineral transformation they undergo.
The chemical composition of gemstones is incredibly diverse, with each type possessing its own unique mineral structure. For instance, diamonds consist of carbon atoms arranged in a crystalline lattice, while rubies and sapphires are variations of the mineral corundum coloured by trace elements such as chromium and iron. When light interacts with these minerals, fascinating optical effects like refraction, dispersion and reflection occur, producing the mesmerising optical effects that make natural gemstones alluring.
Types of Gemstones
Gemstones come in the form of precious stones and extremely rare semi-precious stones, popular especially with jewellery making. In this list, you’ll discover an array of gemstone varieties.
There are four types of stones in the world classified as precious gemstones;
Known as the “King of Gemstones,” diamonds are renowned for their brilliance and durability. These dazzling gems form far into the Earth’s mantle and are often used to create stunning engagement rings and other high-end jewellery pieces.
The allure of sapphires has captivated generations with their deep blue shades. These valuable gemstones are a symbol of wisdom and add a touch of sophistication to any piece of jewellery. One of the most famous pieces, the “Hope Sapphire,” is a sapphire known for its intriguing history.
Rubies are connected with passion and love. These vibrant gemstones are highly valued for their intense shades of red, vibrant colour and exceptional hardness. Throughout history, rubies have adorned the crowns of Kings and Emperors, symbolising power and wealth.
Emeralds are a green gem admired for their rich hue, which signifies renewal and growth. These precious green gemstones have a standing tradition of adorning royal jewellery, including Queen Mary’s legendary emerald and diamond tiara.
Semi-precious gemstones possess their own distinct beauty and allure, setting them apart from their rarer and more valuable counterparts.
Topaz occurs naturally in colours, with blue topaz being particularly popular. These gemstones are renowned for their brilliance and versatility, making them a favoured choice among jewellery enthusiasts.
Garnets exist in an array of colours; however, deep red garnets enjoy the fame. These gems are believed to symbolize protection and strength, making them widely embraced in both traditional and contemporary jewellery-making designs.
Rhodalite garnets are a type of garnet renowned for their captivating pink shade. These gemstones are highly valued for their colour and are frequently utilised in one-of-a-kind and visually appealing pieces of jewellery.
Moonstones are adored for their mesmerising display of colours resembling the tranquil glow of the moon. These gemstones have associations with intuition and love and are often used in bohemian-style jewellery.
Hematite is a gemstone recognised for its reflective surface and grounding properties. It is often used in unisex jewellery designs, adding an edgy and contemporary flair.
Onyx is a gemstone that emanates elegance and mystery. It is commonly featured in men’s jewellery to provide a stark contrast in black and white arrangements.
Amethysts are a purple gem variety made of quartz. They are highly prized for their deep purple hue, often associated with tranquillity and spiritual growth. These gems find their place in various styles of jewellery, ranging from classic to modern.
The yellow-orange tones of Citrine are reminiscent of sunshine. Believed to bring positivity and abundance, these gemstones enjoy popularity when it comes to creating jewellery pieces.
Tourmalines come in an array of colours, making them versatile gems for designers. Gem enthusiasts appreciate the distinctive colour combinations that these stones possess.
Although not naturally occurring, cubic zirconia has become a favoured alternative to diamonds. It showcases a sparkle at an affordable price point, making it accessible to a wide range of individuals.
High-Value Semi-Precious Stones
These stones are rare and exceptionally valuable varieties of semi-precious gemstones.
Pink sapphires display a romantic hue. Their rarity, appearance and desirable gemstone colour contribute to their value in the world of fine jewellery.
Tanzanite’s striking violet-blue colour is truly captivating. These gems are exclusively found in Tanzania and are highly priced due to their value and limited availability.
Though they are thought of as white gemstones, Opals are renowned for their iridescent play of colours, which can resemble a kaleidoscope of hues. Their unique beauty makes them treasured gemstones often used in customised creations.
Have a look at our collection of Gemstone Jewellery.
Gemstone Properties and Meanings
The meanings and properties associated with gemstones provide a glimpse into the world of semi-precious stones. These insights unveil the qualities and symbolic significance these exquisite minerals have held for centuries.
Metaphysical and Healing Properties
Gemstones go beyond being items; some believe they possess unique properties and energies that can impact our lives. Here are a few noteworthy aspects regarding the healing properties of gemstones;
- Healing Properties: Many people turn to gemstones because they believe in their healing abilities. For example, amethyst is said to enhance clarity, while rose quartz is associated with love and emotional healing.
- Holistic Well-being: Gemstones are believed to contribute to holistic well-being by addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of health. Lapis lazuli is an example of a gemstone used by ancient healers with this belief.
- Spiritual Connection:
- Enhanced Spiritual Experiences: Certain gemstones are thought to heighten experiences and aid in meditation. An example would be clear quartz, which is believed to amplify energy and facilitate growth.
- Facilitating Inner Exploration: Gemstones can act as tools for self-exploration, assisting individuals in connecting with their selves and the spiritual realm.
- Historical Significance: People have used gemstones as talismans for protection throughout history. Black tourmaline, for instance, is believed to ward off negative energies.
- Emotional and Psychic Protection: Gemstones are often carried to provide psychic protection in everyday life.
- Balance and Harmony:
- Physical and Spiritual Balance: Maintaining a sense of balance and harmony in life, both physically and spiritually, is often linked to using gemstones such as jade and turquoise.
- Alignment and Well-being: Some gemstones have been known to align the body, mind and spirit, fostering a sense of equilibrium within oneself.
- Significance in Astrology:
- Gemstone Associations: Many gemstones are associated with zodiac signs believed to enhance the qualities and attributes of individuals born under them.
- Personalised Energy: It is common for people to select gemstones based on their sign in order to tap into energies that harmonise with their characteristics.
These metaphysical properties and healing aspects add a layer of meaning to gemstones. They serve not only as adornments but also as tools for personal growth, wellbeing and spiritual exploration.
Physical Characteristics and Gemstone Properties
In addition to their attributes, gemstones possess physical characteristics that contribute to their uniqueness and value. Here are some key features;
- Colour: Gemstones exhibit a range of colours associated with minerals and elements. The colour greatly influences the value and visual appeal of a gemstone.
- Clarity: The presence of inclusions or flaws within a gemstone can affect its clarity. Stones with imperfections are typically considered valuable.
- Hardness: Gemstones are assessed for hardness using the Mohs Scale, with diamonds rated the hardest at 10 and sapphires, noted for their durability, scoring a 9. This hardness influences wearability and resistance to scratches, often making sapphires preferred over softer stones like emeralds for items like engagement rings, which are subject to everyday wear and tear.
- Lustre: Lustre refers to how a gemstone reflects and refracts light. Different gemstones can have types of lustre, such as adamantine, metallic or pearly lustres.
- Cut: The cut of a gemstone is crucial for enhancing its beauty. Various cuts can enhance a gemstone’s brilliance, fire and overall appearance.
- Carat Weight: Carat weight measures the size of a gemstone. Larger gemstones tend to be rarer and more valuable, especially in the case of stones like diamonds.
- Optical Phenomena: Some gemstones exhibit phenomena that contribute to their uniqueness. These phenomena include asterism (star patterns) or chatoyancy (cat’s eye effect).
- Transparency: The transparency of a gemstone can vary between transparent, translucent or opaque. This characteristic impacts both its use in jewellery and its visual appeal.
Understanding these characteristics and properties of precious stones is vital for professionals like gemologists, jewellery designers, and enthusiasts. These factors greatly influence the value, aesthetics and purpose of each gemstone.
Popular Gemstone Cuts and Shapes
From colour and clarity to carat weight and cut, each aspect plays a crucial role in determining the gemstone’s appearance and suitability for your unique preferences and jewellery designs.
The Art of Gemstone Cutting: Exploring Different Cuts
The cut of a gemstone plays a crucial role in enhancing the gemstone’s appearance, brilliance and beauty. Different cuts are chosen to highlight the characteristics of each gemstone. Below are ten popular gem-stone cuts that you should know:
- Round Cut: This timeless cut is renowned for its sparkle and fire. It maximizes the brilliance of a gem and is commonly used for diamonds. However, it can also work well for other gemstones, especially those with good clarity.
- Princess Cut: Square or rectangular in shape, the princess cut is famous for its sharp corners and brilliance. It’s a popular choice for diamonds and sapphires.
- Emerald Cut: This rectangular cut features step-like facets that create a mesmerizing hall-of-mirrors effect. It’s a good choice for emphasising a gemstone’s clarity and is often used for emeralds and diamonds.
- Oval Cut: Oval-shaped gems offer an elongated and elegant appearance. This particular cut combines the brilliance of a round cut with a shape, making it versatile for various types of gemstones.
- Pear Cut (Teardrop): The pear cut is designed to resemble a tear shape, bringing together the round and marquise shapes. It’s used to showcase a gemstone’s symmetry and can make fingers appear longer when used in rings.
- Marquise Cut: With its elongated, football-like shape, the marquise cut highlights a gemstone’s size and carat weight. It’s known for its distinctive, elegant appearance.
- Cushion Cut: This cut has rounded corners and larger facets, producing a softer, romantic look. It is often favoured for coloured gemstones like sapphires and rubies.
- Asscher Cut: Similar to an emerald cut but square, the Asscher cut boasts exceptional clarity and step-cut facets. It’s a popular choice for vintage-style jewellery.
- Radiant Cut: Combining brilliant cut facets with trimmed corners, the radiant cut serves as a hybrid between the emerald cuts. Its versatility allows it to showcase the colour of a gem beautifully.
- Cabochon Cut: Unlike faceted cuts, cabochons are smooth and domed, with no facets. This cut is commonly used for opaque gems like opal and turquoise, emphasizing their unique colours and patterns.
Some characteristics of these cuts stand out, such as the colour, clarity, brilliance, size and overall beauty of a gemstone. When deciding on a cut, think about which qualities you want to highlight. The type of jewellery you’re making in order to choose the option. Furthermore, the choice of cut has an impact on the look and attractiveness of a gemstone piece.
Choosing the Right Gemstone Shape for Your Jewellery
Choosing the shape for your jewellery’s gemstone is essential to create a piece that reflects your style and preferences. The cut not only enhances a gemstone’s beauty but also defines its character. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the gemstone shape for your jewellery:
- Highlighting Gemstone Qualities: Each cut has its way of accentuating a gemstone’s attributes. For example, a round cut maximises sparkle, while an emerald cut highlights clarity. Think about which qualities are most important for your piece.
- Design and Style: Take into account the design and style of your jewellery. Round cuts are versatile and are suitable for both classic and contemporary designs, while princess cuts add a modern touch. Vintage-inspired pieces may benefit from an Asscher cut.
- Gemstone Type: Certain cuts are traditionally associated with types of gemstones. For instance, oval cuts are commonly used for gemstones, whereas round cuts are typically chosen for diamonds. Other types of gemstones are more typically used in jewellery such as gemstone beads, for example. However, don’t hesitate to explore combinations and break away from tradition.
- Finger Length and Shape (For Rings): Consider how the gemstone shape complements the wearer’s hand if you’re designing a ring. Pear cuts can elongate the appearance of fingers, while cushion cuts offer a softer, more romantic look.
- Personal Preferences: Ultimately, your personal taste and what resonates with you matter most. Do you prefer a round cut’s brilliance or an Asscher cut’s vintage charm? Your emotional connection to the gemstone shape will make your jewellery all the more special.
- Gemstone Size: The size of the gemstone also plays a role. Certain cuts like marquise and pear can create an illusion of a stone, which can be advantageous if you desire an attention-grabbing piece.
- Occasion: Consider the occasion or purpose of the jewellery. Round cuts are commonly selected for engagement rings due to their timeless elegance, while unique cuts may be favoured for statement pieces.
Remember that there aren’t any rules when it comes to selecting a gemstone shape for your jewellery. It’s a personal decision that should align with your vision and tell the story you desire. Explore options, seek advice from a jeweller and trust your intuition when choosing the gemstone shape that resonates with you or your partner.
Gemstone Jewellery Trends
The realm of gemstone jewellery is continuously evolving in response to changing tastes and fashion trends. Here are some of the trends in gemstone jewellery;
Sustainability: As environmental consciousness grows, more consumers are looking for ethically sourced and sustainable gemstones. Lab-grown diamonds and recycled gemstones are becoming popular due to their eco-appeal.
Customisation: Personalised jewellery is on the rise, with customers opting for bespoke gemstone pieces that reflect their style and preferences.
Vintage Revival: Vintage and antique gemstone jewellery, with its timeless charm and character, is making a comeback in popularity.
Mixed Gemstones: Designers are experimenting with combinations of many different stones and gemstones in a single piece, creating stunning and vibrant jewellery.
Minimalism: Minimalist designs with understated gemstone accents are becoming a staple for those who prefer subtle elegance.
Unconventional Cuts: Gemstones featuring traditional cuts, such as asymmetrical shapes or freeform designs, have captured the attention of jewellery enthusiasts.
Is it Feasible to Buy Gemstones Online?
In today’s digital age, buying gemstones online has gained popularity as it provides a convenient and accessible way to acquire these precious treasures. However, potential buyers often question whether it is safe to trust sources when making important investments. In this discussion, we will explore the practicality of purchasing gemstones by examining the advantages and considerations involved.
Advantages of Buying Gemstones Online:
- Large Selection: Online platforms provide access to a wide variety of gemstones from across the globe. Shoppers can explore diverse options, from traditional favourites like diamonds and emeralds to more unique gems like alexandrite and padparadscha sapphires.
- Convenience: Shopping for gemstones online is incredibly convenient: buyers can browse and make purchases from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need for physical visits to multiple stores.
- Transparency: Reputable online sellers often provide information about the gemstones they offer, such as certifications, origin details and disclosures about any treatments. This transparency empowers buyers to make informed decisions.
- Competitive Pricing: Online marketplaces often feature competitive pricing due to reduced overhead costs compared to typical brick-and-mortar stores. Shoppers can find excellent deals and compare prices easily.
- Reviews and Ratings: Many online platforms allow customers to leave reviews and ratings, enabling buyers to assess both the sellers’ reputation and the quality of the gemstones based on experiences shared by customers.
Considerations When Buying Gemstones Online:
- Reputation and Trustworthiness: It’s crucial to research and choose sellers with a proven track record of reliability and positive customer feedback. Look for certifications issued by regarded laboratories.
- Photographic Accuracy: Keep in mind that the appearance of gemstones can vary depending on lighting conditions and photography techniques used during product imaging. If you need to, request additional pictures or videos to assess the colour and clarity of the gem.
- Return Policies: Ensure you understand the seller’s return and refund policies in case the gemstone doesn’t meet your specifications or expectations.
- Certifications: When purchasing high-value gemstones, insist on gemological certifications from recognized laboratories to verify the gem’s authenticity and quality.
- Shipping and Insurance: Verify the shipping method, insurance coverage, and tracking options to protect your purchase during transit.
- Ethical Sourcing: Consider the ethical and environmental aspects of your purchase. Seek out dealers who adhere to ethical sourcing practices and support responsible mining.
In conclusion, buying gemstones online is feasible, provided you do your research, learn about gemstone properties and values and communicate with the seller. With precautions, online shopping for gemstones can be rewarding to acquire these semi-precious stones and treasures.
The Importance of Ethical Gemstone Sourcing
Ethical gemstone sourcing is paramount in today’s conscientious consumer climate. It encompasses fair labour practices, eco-friendly approaches, and the avoidance of conflict gems. Ethical sourcing safeguards human rights through fair wages and secure working conditions, benefiting mining communities by alleviating poverty. It champions environmentally responsible practices to minimise the industry’s ecological footprint.
Additionally, it strives to steer clear of conflict gems, which can fund violence and human rights violations. Furthermore, ethical sourcing invests in local communities by supporting education, healthcare, and infrastructure development. This ethical shift in sourcing aligns with consumer expectations for transparency, reflecting the values of fairness, sustainability, and ethical consumption.
Here at Alicia J., we understand the importance of ethical sourcing and are committed to sourcing ethical, authentic diamonds for our valued customers at the best possible price.
How to Care for Your Precious Gemstone Jewellery
In today’s consumer environment, sourcing gemstones holds great importance. It involves labour practices, eco-friendly approaches and avoiding conflict gems. Taking care of your gemstone jewellery is essential for preserving its beauty and ensuring its durability. Whether you own diamonds, rubies, sapphires or emeralds, these gems require attention. In this guide, we will provide tips to help you maintain the condition of your gemstone jewellery.
To begin, it is important to clean your jewellery. You can create a cleaning solution by using water mixed with mild detergent. Allow your jewellery to soak in this solution for a few minutes, and then softly scrub the gemstones using a brush or toothbrush to remove any dirt or debris. Rinse the jewellery under water thoroughly to ensure all soap residue is gone, and gently pat it dry with a lint cloth for a sparkling finish.
Remember to handle your gemstone jewellery with care. Make sure to apply your cosmetics, perfumes or lotions before putting on any jewellery to avoid any chemical damage. It’s also advisable to remove your jewellery during activities that may be strenuous to prevent scratches. When storing your pieces, it’s best to keep them in a pouch or a lined jewellery box so they don’t scratch each other.
Protect your gemstones from harsh chemicals like chlorine and household cleaners. Remove your jewellery before swimming in chlorinated pools or using strong cleaning products. Also, store your pieces away from direct sunlight to prevent fading, as some gemstones are sensitive to UV rays.
Each gemstone type comes with care instructions. For example:
- Diamonds, the paragons of hardness, still require a gentle touch. Employ the cleaning method mentioned above and store them separately to forestall any inadvertent scuffs on fellow gemstones. Read more about how to care for your diamonds in our blog.
- Emeralds are comparatively soft and prone to harm from temperature fluctuations. They shy away from ultrasonic cleaners and steamers, demanding a more tender approach to cleaning.
- Sapphires and rubies, resilient as they are, appreciate regular cleaning (sans harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners), particularly if they’ve undergone treatments.
- Pearls, as organic gems, need exceptional consideration. After wearing them, gently wipe them with a cloth to remove oils and sweat before storing them from other jewellery items in order to prevent any potential blemishes.
Where to Find Gemstones in The UK
We can give you the run-down if you’re looking for where to find gemstones in UK stores. In your quest for rare gemstones in the United Kingdom, there are several avenues to explore the captivating world of these precious stones. Whether you have a specific gemstone in mind or want to immerse yourself in its allure, here’s a general guide to help you navigate your search:
Exploring Gemstone Sources in The United Kingdom
Begin by exploring your local resources. Local jewellery stores, whether in your town or the nearest city, often stock a variety of gemstone jewellery, ranging from classic to contemporary designs. If you’re in a larger urban area, consider venturing into renowned jewellery districts: these historic hubs are home to numerous gemstone dealers and jewellers, offering a wide spectrum of gemstone choices. Another exciting option is to explore vintage shops where hidden gems from the past may surprise you. These shops frequently showcase pieces with beautiful gemstones that hold their rich histories.
Top Places to Buy Gemstones in the UK
Beyond physical storefronts, the digital realm opens up a world of possibilities. Trusted online retailers can provide the convenience of exploring a vast array of gemstones. However, exercise caution and ensure that the retailer has a strong reputation and provides comprehensive information about gemstone quality and sourcing. For those who seek a more personal touch, boutiques and artisanal stores are worth considering. These establishments often showcase handcrafted gemstone jewellery, reflecting the artistry and creativity of skilled craftsmen.
Another option is to visit speciality shops focusing on gems, offering a selection of loose gemstones and finished jewellery. These shops may even have experts who can help you make decisions.
Lastly, keep an eye out for auctions. Gemstone shows are happening in cities across the UK. These events can be a treasure trove for collectors and enthusiasts, providing an opportunity to bid on exceptional pieces.
The Beauty and Diversity of Gemstones: A Lasting Fascination
In conclusion, the United Kingdom offers an array of options for discovering gemstones, each with its own distinctive allure. Whether you choose to explore stores and iconic jewellery districts or enjoy the convenience of online shopping, the world of gemstones continues to captivate hearts and minds.
No matter what you’re interested in or what your goals are, every gemstone has a story that goes beyond being an accessory. These gems are additions with histories and charm, bringing joy and meaning to those who appreciate and own them.
Alicia J. Diamonds: Your Trusted Source for Quality Gemstones
At Alicia J. Diamonds, we pride ourselves on being your go-to destination for the finest gemstones, with a particular emphasis on diamonds and other precious stones. Our commitment to ethical sourcing and providing authentic gemstones at competitive prices sets us apart as a trusted name in the world of fine jewellery.
We understand that the process of buying gemstones can often be daunting and confusing. That’s why we make it our mission to offer transparency and empowerment to our customers, ensuring that every purchase is a well-informed and quality-driven decision.
Our team has extensive expertise and has undergone rigorous training with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). This knowledge equips us to guide you in selecting gemstones that align perfectly with your preferences and budget.
Whether you’re searching for the ideal engagement ring, a stunning necklace, or a personalised piece of jewellery, Alicia J. Diamonds offers a diverse range of options to cater to various tastes and styles. Each gemstone we source is chosen with meticulous care, reflecting our unwavering commitment to delivering ethically acquired and genuine gems.
Related article: What is the Most Expensive Gemstone?
Let’s cover some of the most frequently asked queries about Gemstones.
What Are Cabochon Gemstones?
A gemstone cabochon is a gemstone that has been meticulously shaped and polished into a distinctive domed shape on its upper surface, while the bottom remains generally flat.
Opaque gemstones are typically crafted into cabochon cuts, while gems with higher transparency are often faceted stones. Additionally, the hardness of the stone plays a crucial role in this decision-making process. Softer stones are more susceptible to scratches, which is why they are often fashioned into cabochon rather than faceted gems, preserving their durability and aesthetic appeal.
What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Gemstone?
When acquiring a gemstone, it’s crucial to take into account several key factors. Traditional aspects such as colour, clarity, cut, and carat weight significantly determine a gemstone’s quality and value. However, from an astrological perspective, it’s equally vital to ascertain that the gemstone is completely natural and devoid of any treatments like heating, chemical treatments, dyeing, or resin filling, as these can impact its metaphysical and optical properties.
How To Tell If A Gemstone Is Real or Fake?
How can one distinguish between genuine and imitation gemstones? The process of authenticating real gemstones requires evaluating attributes such as colour, clarity, hardness, and refractive properties. Genuine gemstones usually display natural variations in colour and may contain imperfections, whereas counterfeit gemstones often appear excessively flawless.
What Are The Rarest Gemstones?
The rarest gemstones in the world are esteemed for their scarcity and exceptional beauty. These precious stones, the rare collector’s gem often being more valuable than diamonds, have captivated humans for centuries. Here are some of the rarest gemstones:
- Jadeite: Renowned for its intense green colour, primarily found in Myanmar.
- Blue Garnet: Exceptionally rare and changes colour from green to purplish-red. It is found in Madagascar and is made when an extremely rare mineral crystalises.
- Red Beryl (Bixbite): Known as the “red emerald,” found in Utah, USA.
- Musgravite: Extremely rare and found in South Australia.
- Serendibite: Found in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, deep blue serendibite is the most valuable.
- Taaffeite: Exceptionally rare, with lavender and pink varieties.
- Alexandrite: Famous for its colour-changing properties, primarily from Russia.
- Black Opal: The most valuable type of opal, found in Lightning Ridge, Australia.
- Pink Star Diamond: A rare pink diamond of record-breaking value.
- Gem Silica: Gem silica is a rare combination of Quartz and Chrysocolla. It only has a few known locations and is rarely seen on the market.