Top ten precious gemstones – Part 1
Top ten precious gemstones – no one can deny the lure of precious gemstones.
Whether you are an enthusiastic amateur, a seasoned connoisseur or even a gemstone investor.
We all have one thing in common.
We all share a passion for Mother Nature’s treasures.
For centuries, we have sought to find these treasures and lay claim to our stake.
We have begged, borrowed and stole to own what essentially is a piece of rock!
A very pretty piece of rock, but still a piece of rock all the same.
With mines becoming depleted and new deposits being found, all be it at a decreasing rate, it sometimes feels like a race against time or should that be against nature.
It’s fast-moving, fast paced.
No one can deny that some gemstones are truly precious and as times change, so do the values of certain stones.
With parcels of stones being exchanged/bought for thousands of pounds per Carat.
However, the ten listed here via the National Geographic have always been sought after.
“All precious stones are beautiful and rare.
But in order for use in jewellery they must also be harder that most other materials to prevent scratching or otherwise damaged.
They also must be immune to alteration by temperature changes or the various substances they may come into contact with during use such as sweat.
In addition, for a stone to belong to the narrow “top ten” group depends on two things –
- fashion – as with all things trends and “what’s in” counts
- the appearance or not of new materials that might take their place.
The top ten given here represents “The Classics”, but there will always be potential usurpers.
Stones such as
might be considered contenders and there is always entirely new, valuable gemstones that have not yet been discovered.
Top ten precious gemstones Part 1
Diamond is the only gemstone made up of a single element – carbon.
It has an extremely compact crystalline structure that gives it great hardness, the hardest on the Mohs Scale at 10.
A feature that has made it perfect for countless industrial and scientific applications.
From a gemology point of view it also presents all the other qualities of stones used in jewellery, that is to say unrivalled beauty and of course great rarity.
Although diamonds are rare with unrivalled beauty.
There are gemstones, for instance, like Zircon which have double refraction where as diamonds only have single refraction.
Tanzanite and Csarite both of which are ten thousand times rarer than a diamond and only sourced in one place in the world.
Zircon, not to be confused with the manmade Cubic Zirconia, when discovered was found to be 1 million years older than diamonds and scientists had to reconsider the age of Earth as a result.
This variety of beryl is among the most beautiful of gemstones.
The best quality stones come from Colombia and are a vivid green colour with excellent brilliance and clarity.
Emeralds have also been known to be found in Brazil, Zambia and more recently there have been deposits found in Ethiopia.
Emeralds are the only gemstones where inclusions actually makes the stone more valuable.
Ruby is a variety of corundum. It is a totally and colourless mineral when pure but impurities gives it a variety of attractive shades and hues.
The name ruby is reserved exclusively for red stones.
These range in tone from orange-red and pink to a deep purple-red.
Rubies have been found in Burma, Thailand, Madagascar and Malagasy.
The Black Princes’ red stone incorporated into The Imperial State Crown of England above Cullinan II was for centuries thought to be a massive ruby.
However, it is in fact an even rarer red stone known as a Red Spinel also found in Burma which might explain the assumption.
Like ruby, sapphire is a variety of corundum.
Sapphires are usually blue and have been found in Ceylon, or Sri Lanka as it is now known, again Burma and as far-flung as Australia.
Sapphires of other colours also exist, Princess Eugenie’s Padparadscha Sapphire Engagement ring springs to mind, in an array of rainbow tones and hues.
However, these fancy sapphires as they are known as account for only 2% of all Sapphires.
Both rubies and sapphires show significant pleochroism, which means that their colour varies when they are observed from different angles.
Because of this fact they have to be cut with extreme care to display the colour to the best effect.
The hardness of topaz makes it a very suitable stone for jewellery.
In the past the term topaz referred to all precious stones that were yellow, like all red stones being called ruby, including citrine quartz.
However, it is now known that topazes vary from pale blue or colourless to yellow, orange-red. brown and even pink.
The most valuable stones are the golden-yellow and pink ones.
The latter are rare and many pink specimens found in jewellery are often actually yellows, blues or ochres that have been thermally treated or gamma-irradiated.
That is all for now.
Top ten precious gemstones part 2 will follow later.