Gemstones, Birthstones, Gemstone Jewelry



If we search for the meaning of the word ‘gemstone’ we may get an answer like some sparkling material which adding a sparkle or some aesthetic value to a piece of jewelry. Usually these gems are cut and polished before being used. Though most of the gemstones are pieces of mineral but some gems are not minerals but are included in this category as are being used in jewelry making. Again generally gemstones are hard, but there can be exceptions as some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster. Please read on as we describe what the qualities of a gemstone are and what governs its value.

Three Traits of Gemstones

Though we have just said that gemstones are used in making jewelry but a substance is not automatically considered a gem just because it is used in jewelry or it is a mineral (Otherwise seeds, hairs bones etc may also become gems). Technically, there are three traits that can be considered the identifying feature of gemstones namely beauty, rarity and durability. So, all the gems will be beautiful, rare and strong but all these gems can possess different levels of these three trait. Let us now look at each of these traits in detail.


It is really difficult to define beauty but for general understanding beauty is defined as a quality that delights the senses or is appealing to the mind. As for gemstone this beauty is their exclusive visual appeal that is a result of special combination of color, symmetry and surface appearance. Each of these gems is famous for their own special beauty trait.


Rarity is all about the availability of the gemstone, but it varies from stone to stone. Most gemstones are somewhere in the middle of the rarity scale but rarity alone cannot make a gem valuable it has to be beautiful as well as durable.


Gems are for ages and they endure that is why they are valued. Unlike flowers their beauty lasts more than a life time so, any material to be categorized as gem has to be durable. Durability in turn is a combination of three factors stability, toughness and hardness.

Four Cs of Gems

So, now we can identify a gemstone, next is how to judge its value, deciding factors that influence the value of the gemstone is commonly referred to as Four C’s of gems that is Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat. So, we will discuss these 4 Cs of gems now.


Most of the gemstones have earned their value for their unique and alluring color. Some of these stones even display interesting phenomena that adds to their beauty and value.


Color alone is not enough. The gemstones’ clarity also affects their value. For example if a stone has a beautiful color but it has lots of inclusions and blemishes it may not look as beautiful when set in a piece of jewelry as a stone with a better clarity.


Gemstones are rare and most of them are formed in a unique condition inside the earth. So, it is very difficult to change their composition but we can cut the stone in a way to maximize their beauty and sparkle. It really helps in the appearance of the gemstone by maximizing the light returned by the gemstone. Cutting a gemstone is a special art that takes years of practice to master.


Finally the last factor influencing the gem value is carat. It is the standard unit of measurement of gem weight termed as metric carat which is abbreviated as ‘ct’. One carat is equal to 0.20 grams or one-fifth of a gram. Industry insiders for greater precision divide a carat into 100 units called points and abbreviated as ‘pt’.