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What is the difference between semi-precious and precious stones?


What is the difference between semi-precious and precious stones?

Gemstones were first classified into the categories of precious stones and semi-precious stones in the mid-1800s. As far as a precise definition of precious and semi-precious stones is concerned, there is none. To classify as a valuable semi-precious stone, it all boils down to rarity and craftsmanship. When amethysts were rare, they were considered precious, but as soon as huge reserves of amethysts were found in many parts of the world, this gemstone stopped being referred to as a precious stone.

In the West, precious stones are diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. All other stones are considered semi-precious stones. The term “precious stone” versus “semi-precious stone” is a commercial term that simply isn’t always applicable. They are terms which were created as a marketing tool by the people who were looking to sell precious stones. There are many examples of semi-precious stones that demand a higher price.  For example, a Tsavorite green garnet is more valuable than a mid-quality sapphire.

Many semi-precious stones are also rarer than precious stones. Red beryl, ammolite, benitoite, gem silica, demantoid garnet, tsavorite garnet, and many other gems are mined in fewer locations and produced in smaller quantities than any of the precious stones. They are incredibly rare in comparison, however this does not allow them to be considered precious under the classification of the 1800s.

A gemstone is a mineral or other natural material that has the beauty and durability needed for use as a personal adornment or an ornamental object. Some people believe that any stone that meets this characterisation should be considered as something special and precious.  If you are interested in purchasing a gem stone you should not be influenced by the names "precious" or "semi-precious." Instead they should focus on what gemstone appeals to them, suits their intended use, and has a price that suits.

Tsavorite green garnet

 


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