Gem Precious Semi Stone?

So what is a semi precious gem stone?

What makes one gem a precious and another a semi-precious stone?

While historically the classification was based, in part, on rarity, many extremely scarce gems are still classified as semi precious gem stones.

The traditional list of gem precious stones is limited to five stones; Diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald and amethyst.

In modern terms, no distinction is made between precious and semi precious gem stones. However, when it comes to listing gems for sale, the term semi precious stone is still commonly used.

Technically speaking, all gem stones not in the list of five above are semi precious gem stones.

However, a quick survey of listings of semi precious gem stones for sale shows certain names appearing over and over:

While not a comprehensive list of semi precious gem stones, as there are over 3,000 stones that could qualify, this will give you a flavor of what people are talking about.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones – Alexandrite:

    Though not grouped with the precious stones, this beautiful crystal could certainly qualify based on rarity. Discovered in the 19th century in the Ural mountains of Russia, it was named after the young Czar Alexander the second, who came of age on the same day the first stone was found.

    This semi precious gem is pleochroism, or a stone that changes color in different lighting conditions.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones – Aquamarine:

    This cousin to the emerald is a gem stone quality variety of beryl with a unique bluish coloring from which it derives its name. Mined primarily in the Americas, it has a pale color and is said to be soothing to the soul.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones – Citrine:

    This yellow to orange variety of quartz is among the most affordable of the crystalline gem stones. Closely related to the precious stone amethyst, the citrine is sometimes produced by heating low quality amethyst crystals until they turn from purple to yellow.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones – Garnet:

    This complex crystal is made up of no less than seven elements, including calcium, magnesium, and two different isotopes of iron. While often occurring as a deep red stone, purple, green, black and even colorless garnets have been found.

    Unlike other crystalline gem stones like diamonds, which can be cut along flat facets, the garnet fractures when struck and must be chipped like flint to attain the desired shape.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones – Opal:

    One of the non crystalline (or amorphous) gem stones, the opal is composed of hydrated silica (silicon dioxide), or common beach sand. This iridescent gem stone comes in a range of colors including white, gray, yellow, green and even black.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones – Peridot:

    A yellowish green crystalline stone composed of iron, magnesium and silicon, is unique among the precious and semi precious gems as it only comes in one color. The depth of the green is determined by the amount of iron in the compound, but the color remains yellowish green regardless.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones – Spinel:

    Chemically very similar to its close cousin the ruby, this deep red stone is often used as a less expensive substitute. Many famous so called rubies, including the 170 carat 'Black Princes' Ruby', which is part of the Crown Jewels of England.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones – Topaz:

    Based on an aluminum compound, this stone is typically straw yellow and has pyramid shaped crystals.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones – Turquoise:

    This blue amorphous stone is perhaps best known by the jewelry produced by the Native Americans, but is also found in quantity throughout Asia. The name comes from the French term 'pierre turquoise' or 'Turkish Stone'. While not found anywhere in that country, Turkey was historically a center of trade for this stone.

  • Semi-Precious Gem Stones - Zircon:

    While nowhere near as hard as the diamond, the clear zircon so strongly resembles this precious gem and is often used as an economical diamond substitute in jewelry, particularly when many gems are required for the piece.

As indicated elsewhere in the article, with thousands of gem stones to choose from, a complete list of semi-precious stones would soon expand beyond reason.

If your favorite gem is not on this list, take heart.

Mankind's love of gem stones, whether precious, semi precious and common, is large enough to include everyone’s tastes.