A Beginner's Guide to Gemstones

Want to buy a gemstone? Don’t know much about them? You may know one or two gemstones like the diamond or ruby, but do you know there are many different types of gemstones available that are just as beautiful and valuable? There are over 100 types of gemstones in the world, with many used in jewelry. If you want to know more about gemstones, the following is a beginner’s guide to gemstones so you can make an informed decision next time you want to buy one.



Natural Gemstones


Natural gemstones are those that are naturally occurring in nature. They are generally mined from the earth. After they are retrieved from the earth, they are sometimes enhanced or treated to help bring out their clarity and color. Although they may have been treated, they are still considered as natural gemstones.


Gemstones which are naturally found on Earth come available in a large range of colors, including, but not limited to, black onyx, quartz, and clear diamonds. Over the many centuries, gemstones have helped in the definition of different colors. For example, emerald green, ruby red, and sapphire blue.


The rarity of natural gemstones varies greatly and, therefore, their value varies as well. Scarcity of a gemstone can occur because the earth doesn’t produce large quantities or man has extracted bulk quantities of the gemstone over the years. One of the rarest gemstone minerals on earth today is the Painite. There are only 18 known specimens, to date. On the other end, Morganite used to be the highest production natural gemstone, although over the years its becoming more and more scarce because it is now prized for its pink color.



Enhanced Gemstones


Over the centuries, gemstone cutters have used a number of different treatment methods to make each gemstone more attractive and beautiful than their original state. One treatment method that’s used is the heating of the gemstone. For example, Tanzanite is a natural steel gray or brown color. When heated, however, it turns into a stunning purple or blue that is prized and is in high demand. In this new state the gemstone is worth 10 times as much as its original state.


Other methods some gemstones are sanctioned to include are dyeing or radiating to help with improving the clear internal flows and color. Some examples of gemstone families subjected to these methods include sapphires, rubies, quartz crystals, and topaz. There are many different emeralds which have been treated with oil or high tech polymers to help improve their appearance.



Man-Made Gemstones


Man-made gemstones are just that: They’re made by man using high quality and advanced technology. These types of gemstones are popular in today’s society for a number of reasons. They’re also far cheaper to produce than natural gemstones are to mine, and they can be made to a specific specification under controlled conditions. This means these types of gemstones are virtually flawless, compared to natural gems.



Synthetic Gemstones


One of the more well-known synthetic gemstones available is cubic zirconia, which is used for imitating diamonds. It is also used to simulate aquamarine, sapphire, topaz, peridot, and other types of gems. Along with cubic zirconia, other minerals are used to help create the coloring that’s required to mimic other gemstones. These minerals include: man-made spinel, crystalline form of aluminium oxide, and corundum.



Imitation Gemstones


Imitation gemstones are gemstones which imitate the color or look of natural stones. These types of stones can be made from a variety of minerals and materials, with the most popular being cubic zirconia. Glass is also another popular choice for imitation gemstones, although remember, that although imitation gemstones may look like the real thing, they only mimic real gemstones.



Birthstones


Birthstones are stones which are associated with a particular month. These stones are regarded differently in different cultures. The commonly used birthstone system is based on the Gregorian calendar; however, other systems of birthstones are based on mystic origins of Tibet and the zodiac signs. One basic outline of birthstones include:




    • January - Garnet

    • February - Amethyst

    • March - Aquamarine

    • April - Diamond

    • May - Emerald

    • June - Pearl

    • July - Ruby

    • August - Periot

    • September - Sapphire

    • October - Opal

    • November - Topaz

    • December - Blue Topaz


Before buying gemstones, it’s important to know a little more about them. By taking in the information above, you can be more informed when you choose your stone. Remember, if you’re looking to purchase more valuable gemstone jewelry, it’s best to purchase it from a respected and reliable gemstone jeweler. So what gemstone have you purchased, and why?