Glittering and glamorous, gemstone jewelry comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Derived from distinct minerals, gemstones are prized for their unique colors and individual brilliance. Some gemstones are more highly valued than others, though, for different reasons. Often the distinction between precious and semi-precious gemstones is defined by rarity, cultural appeal, and fashion trends, which in turn gives the market value.
While many of these qualities fluctuate over time, the jewelry industry is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC determines how jewelers and jewelry retailers can term precious and semi-precious stones. This gives consumers buying gemstone rings some protection from being deceived into buying what they only think is a highly valued stone. While these definitions help, there is no set, unchanging list that permanently categorizes gemstones because market demands change often. Cultural importance usually defines what gemstone rings are valuable and which are not, historically speaking.
The quality of a gemstone in terms of cut, brilliance, size and polish will also influence the value of it. Even though diamonds are highly valued today, a poorly cut diamond with many flaws will probably cost less than a premium, semi-precious stone like a topaz that is flawless. So, determining what kind of quality stone is desired is important for customers buying gemstone rings.
Precious Gemstone Rings
The following stones are highly przed and valued for their rarity, brilliance, color, symmetry, durability, and cultural popularity in gemstone rings.
Perhaps the most well known gemstone, the diamond ring is practically a category all its own. Diamonds come in various colors, found naturally and man-made, but the most common or popular is the white diamond. Diamonds are prized for being the hardest natural substance, rating a ten on the Mohs scale of hardness, and for their extreme brilliance. Diamonds are very popular as gemstone engagement rings and have become the most traditionally used precious gemstone in marriage proposals.
Deep green signifies the precious emerald gemstone ring. On the Mohs scale of hardness, it’s an eight, which is actually the softest of the precious gems. Typically, the richer the green color, the higher the value is for emeralds. The verdant color comes from very small amounts of vanadium and chromium, but the stone is derived from the beryl mineral.
Corundum is also the mineral responsible for this scarlet beauty. Ruby gemstone rings are also known as red sapphires, and are popular for their luxurious red color, which consumers prefer to be transparent. Allowing light to shine from the stone is important to reveal its brilliance, so stones that are too opaque are usually not as popular or valuable.
These precious gemstone rings are known for their gorgeous color, the best well known of which is blue. The color of a blue sapphire is different from a topaz or aquamarine—instead, it has a deep blue color, similar to navy. Titanium and chromium are responsible for the hue in this stone, which comes from the corundum mineral (which is also the mineral of diamonds). The sapphire has a hardness of nine on the Mohs scale.
Semi-Precious Gemstone Rings
These gemstone rings typically cost less than the precious stones, but they offer beautiful qualities all their own.
This is one of the most popular semi-precious gemstone rings. Amethysts actually used to be precious, but large deposits were found and so the reduced rarity made it a semi-precious stone. They are typically popular for their purple color, which ranges from bluish-purple to reddish-purple, and the stone itself is transparent. All ranges of the amethyst stone are using gemstone rings, and the amethyst comes from the mineral quartz.
Another popular semi-precious stone for rings, the aquamarine is a pale blue color that can also have a blue-green tint. Aquamarine stones come from the beryl mineral, and are becoming increasingly valuable due to their rarity.
This sunny-colored gemstone comes in bright yellow, gold hue, or brownish orange because of the iron that’s present in the mineral. Citrine is of the mineral quartz and is a transparent stone that usually has very few inclusions. It used to be mistakenly called “gold topaz,” but it does cast a warm golden glow and is naturally a fairly rare stone.
Garnets usually invoke a red color to mind, but these gems can also range in hue from black to green, and even come up colorless in some cases. The garnet gem comes from silicate minerals and make for excellent gemstone rings.
Jade also comes in a range of colors including white, green, red, pink, violet, and black or brown. This diversely colored stone is known for its high strength and durability, and is formed from the minerals jadeite and nephrite. This mineral stone is also better suited for oval, round, and flat shapes in rings, rather than as a faceted stone.
Pale as a pink rose, kunzite is distinct in color and beauty. It comes from the mineral spodumene and shows off wonderful color variations at different angles, which can range from the pale pink already noted to a violet color. It is a transparent gem that is frequently given an emerald cut for rings to best display its beauty.
See: Vintage Kunzite Ring
Opals are a unique stone that displays many different colors. Their base often appears a milky white, but colors like red, purple, blue, green, and yellow typically shine through and appear at different angles. The opal stone is composed of hydrous silicon dioxide and ranges in clarity from transparent to opaque.
This stone is known for its a greenish-yellow color that can also range to brownish-green. The popular shade is a verdant yellow-green with clarity. Some peridots have inclusions, or flaws, in the stone, but ultimately they are transparent and lovely for any ring.
Topaz is actually a clear mineral in its purest form, but more commonly, impurities make the gemstone a different color. The most popular topaz gemstone ring is blue, which has four shades of variation. The topaz is also present in gemstone rings in pink, red, green, yellow, and brown. The stone typically has great clarity that makes it a wonderful choice for gemstone rings.
Turquoise brings the best of robin’s egg blue to mind, which is the most valuable shade of this gemstone. It also comes in bluish-green, sky blue, and green colors. This gemstone is soft in nature and rarely cut into a faceted stone. Instead, most turquoise gemstones are bead-like in shape. Made from an aluminum phosphate and hydrated copper, this blue stone is popular in Native American jewelry.
This lovely purple and blue colored stone is named for its country of discovery, Tanzania. The gemstone comes from the mineral zoisite, and exhibits many beauty qualities. Different shades of tanzanite are revealed in different lighting situations, like fluorescent lighting and incandescent lighting. Tanzanite is a fairly rare gem that is popular for its violet color and brilliance.
These semi-precious gems are some of the most popular for today’s gemstone rings, but others include: iolite, onyx, zircon, tourmaline, spinel, carnelian, jasper, agate, and many others.
Precious and semi-precious gemstone rings vary in quality, color, cut, brilliance and shape. The variety available from these stones is astounding and makes for wonderful gemstone rings. Whether selecting the highly precious diamond ring or the uniquely lovely kunzite stone, customers can find the best gemstone ring to fit their budget and personality.