Gemstones have always interested man. In the past, they were associated with the wealthy and the elite of society. They could be found, among other things, in their cutlery, their household effects and their jewellery. They have been passed down various family lines over the years. Even today, they attract the same attention and are expensive. We are all fascinated by their unique colors and shapes. They have distinctive mineralogical characteristics. They can be classified into different categories based on colour, cut, clarity, rarity and other determining factors.

What distinguishes gemstones?

The stones can be categorized depending on several factors. Typically, however, they are grouped by these factors;

Chemical composition

A Edelsteine can consist of a pure element or be a product of a mixture of several mineral compounds. Most gemstones contain both oxides and silicates, which give them a distinctive color.

The structure of the crystal

Gemstones can be either a single crystal, a cluster of massive microscopic crystals like diamond, or an amorphous compound. The crystallized stones can take many shapes including hexagonal, cubic, tetragonal and other intricate shapes. This type of stone requires careful cutting to ensure the shape of the crystals is maintained.

Optical features

The optical properties of many gemstones result from their crystal structure and chemical composition. Color is one of the main characteristics that define gemstones. Most of them emit stunning hues when light shines on them. Some even show off a mix of colors, making them very adorable. Gemstones are also classified according to their refractive index. The refractive power varies depending on the mineral. Clarity is a common term when classifying gemstones. Some minerals have unique inclusions, which can be crystals of other elements, gas or liquid voids. Such inclusions help identify the stones.

specific weight

This is defined as the ratio of the density of a gemstone to the density of water. Some minerals like amber float effortlessly on salt water. Others like diamonds will sink regardless of the weight of the crystal.

durability (hardness)

Not every gemstone is unbreakable. Some like nephrite are a bit soft while diamond is the hardest of all. All of these characteristics, including the availability of the mineral, contribute to classifying the gemstones as either precious or semi-precious. The hardness of a crystal can be measured using the Mohs hardness scale from 1 – softest to 10 – hardest.

Judging the quality of precious stones

Four factors are considered when determining the quality of gemstones. Color is a crucial aspect when evaluating a colored mineral. There are three qualities of color: hue, saturation, and tone. Hue is the mineral’s position on the color wheel. It can be red, black, orange, blue, etc. However, there will be variations of a single hue position, e.g. B. a darker and a lighter green etc.

Another important aspect is clarity. This is assessed by assessing the presence of inclusions in the mineral. Some stones have inclusions while others have no impurities whatsoever. When inclusions are strategically placed and few in number, they can enhance the beauty of the stone.

Third, the cut is another important characteristic that determines the value of a particular gemstone. Key factors reviewed include: shape, cut style, symmetry, and finish.

After all, it’s the carat weight. This is an essential consideration for anyone dealing with gemstones. One gram equals five carats. The price of the stone increases as the metric carat weight increases.


Based on the above factors, a gem can be a precious or semi-precious stone. Precious stones are the hardest and rarest, while semi-precious stones are typically soft and plentiful. However, there are some variations. For example, opals and pearls are considered precious because of their rarity, even though they are soft. Compared to semi-precious stones, precious stones have a high price.

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