Category Archives: Birthstones

Gemstones: rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and other quality gemstones

Gemstones: rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and other quality gemstones

From the earliest times, diamonds and other gemstones – both precious stones and semi-precious stones such as rubies, emeralds, sapphires and pearls – have adorned the richest and most noble people in the land. Kings, Queens, Emperors – even dictators – have all been amongst the privileged few able to afford to wear gemstones, precious and semi-precious stones on their clothing, on their heads and hands and in ceremonial decorations like crowns and coronets.

Although fashions change, there is still a desire for those rich enough to show off their wealth by wearing rare and expensive objects such as gemstones – gemstone rings, gemstone bracelets and other gemstone jewelry.

Over the years, a wide range of materials have been classified as gemstones and we provide a list of gemstones.

However, these days, whilst a diamond – along with a ruby,  emerald, a sapphire and even a diamond – is still one of the most expensive gemstones around, you don’t need to be wildly rich or regal to afford one. Nevertheless you do need to be able to assess the quality of the gemstones you want to buy – whether it is a diamond, a ruby, sapphire or emerald. 

sapphire-deep-blue-tRubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds are considered to be the main gemstones. These four precious stones are considered the most important of all the gemstones. Other colored stones(precious stones and semi-precious stones) tend to be prized for their color and their association with certain months of the year (eg as birthstones, birthday gemstones) and their  perceived characteristics.

In recent years, colored gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds – and even colored diamonds – have been attracting much attention. That extra touch of dramatic color to a piece of jewelry is now seen as highly desirable.

Chalk emeraldOf course, diamonds are still considered to be “a girl’s best friend” and the demand for large, good quality diamonds with that touch of “oomph” is increasing. Jewelers around the country have been receiving requests for super-sized diamonds – largely as a result of the huge rocks worn by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston.

millenium_starIn this environment, it is important to be able to assess the quality of a stone and its setting. Ultimately, it is the quality of the stone together with the setting and the metal that determines the value of any piece of jewelry.

Of course, that may be secondary to the fact that you like a particular piece of jewelry. There can be no substitute for a ring, necklace, pendant, or some other piece of jewelry that has romantic or other associations. Whether it is a family heirloom handed down from a close relative, a gift from a loved one or simply the first piece of jewelry you bought for yourself. Even if you can’t put a value on these memories and associations, you can still put a value on the piece itself. This can only enhance the memory and its value to you.

Here on the pages of this website you will find an alphabetical list of the most important gemstones and precious stones, together with background information on each gemstone – name, colors, mineral origins and any meanings or associations that are connected with each stone. We also provide a list of birth stones – the stones associated with each birthday – and with each Zodiac sign. All of this is brought together on our Birthstones Chart.




Birthstones by month: which data to believe

blue sapphire ring set in white goldWith so many lists of gemstones by month and so many birthstone lists – many of them with contradictory information – it’s not surprising that many of us get confused as to which ones are correct.  Well, quite simply – they are all correct in one way or another.  

The history of birthstones goes back many years to various points in history – and to different cultures. In ancient times, gemstones were ascribed specific qualities that related to beliefs about health, healing, astronomy and astrology.  Some of these cultures include: Hindu, Hebrew, Roman, Arabic, Polish and European pagan civilisations – all with different beliefs about the qualities and meanings of the different gemstones that they were familiar with.  As a result, we now have an abundance of information about many of the gemstones currently used for jewelry today – much of which is paradoxical .

In the early part of the last century, an attempt to produce an official list of birthstones by month was made by the American Gem Trade Association – in 1912 to be precise. This list has now become known as the “Modern” gemstone list to differentiate it from all the previous ones. 

However, the rationale that the American Gem Trade Association used for designating a gemstone for each month is unclear – and if anything has only served to confuse people even further.  The more cynical gemstone experts consider that the “Modern” list was constructed purely in order to promote certain gemstones on a commercial basis and bears no relationship to any of the underlying belief systems, customs or traditions of the different ancient cultures. Continue reading Birthstones by month: which data to believe