Gemstone prices can be undoubtedly confusing. To the average Joe or Jane, it makes little sense why the same size and weight amethyst is cheaper than an aquamarine, which are both far more affordable than an emerald. Most people’s knowledge of gemstone prices goes only as far as ‘diamonds are the most expensive, and everything else falls somewhere behind.’ If this sounds similar to your own depth of knowledge, you are not alone. Luckily, our handy little guide to understanding the price of gemstones should help enlighten you to make informed, intelligent jewelry buying decisions.
Precious Gemstones vs. Semi Precious Gemstones
Precious gemstones are typically rarer, and therefore more expensive, than semi precious gemstones. Precious gemstones include diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Although pearls are technically not considered gemstones since they are formed organically, some consider them to be the equivalent of precious gems, especially when they are quality South Sea or Tahitian pearls.
Semi Precious gemstones are comprised of the remainder of gems, including amethyst, citrine, garnet, topaz, morganite, peridot, opal, jade and coral. These are typically less expensive than precious stones because they are more readily available, although there are definitely exceptions to the rule. Rare versions of semi precious stones, such as Mandarin garnet or a fine specimen of Alexandrite, can cost just as much if not more than a precious stone. Much of a gemstone’s price depends on size and quality, as well as the distinction of precious versus semi-precious.
General Price Tiers of Gemstones
To give you a general idea of the heirarchy of gemstone pricing, we’ve broken the most common gemstones out into three tiers: Most Expensive, Mid-Range and Affordable:
Most Expensive Gemstones: Diamond, Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby and Tanzanite
Mid-Range Gemstones: Aquamarine, Morganite, Peridot
Affordable Gemstones: Amethyst, Citrine, Garnet, Topaz
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