Types of Gemstones

Did you know there are roughly 200 varieties of gemstones in the world today? Although there are different types of gemstones available, we would like to first talk about gemstones’ distinctions.  There’s an important distinction that needs to be made between “precious”’ and “semi-precious” stones. People often confuse which stones are deemed precious and which are deemed semi-precious, mainly due to the rarity and value associated with these stones.

Misconceptions About Gemstones

A common misconception is that precious stones are more valuable and/or rarer than semi-precious stones. Although this is usually the case, it isn’t necessarily true. 

There is no clear definition of what factors constitute a gemstone to be valued as a precious or semi-precious stone. These terms have been used commercially during the 19th century to classify gemstones for purposes of marketing. In the west, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds generally fall under the category of precious stones, while all other stones are considered semi-precious.

However, there are examples of semi-precious stones such as Musgravite, which commands a whopping price of $35,000 per carat, as opposed to diamonds that fetch $25,000 per carat.

Rarity and craftsmanship are arguably the largest contributing factors to gem pricing. There was a time when amethysts were deemed precious stones and were sold at absurdly high prices until large reserves were found in South America. Now they are classified as semi-precious stones and have receded in monetary value and are thus available at lower prices.

Many stones like Red Beryl, Gem Silicia, and Benittoite are classified rarer than diamonds or rubies. However, they are still regarded as semi-precious stones as per the 19th-century gemstone classifications. However, this signifies that there is no clear or definite indicator of the rarity and value of a gemstone. One should not be influenced by the categorization of a gemstone but focus on the appeal of the stone.

Fun Facts about Gemstones

1. The rarest gemstone in the world today is Poudretteite, which was discovered first in Quebec, Canada. It is so rare and unheard of to find a 1-carat polished Poudretteite. Conversely, Tiger’s eye is the most commonly occurring natural gemstone globally, usually sold for just a few dollars per carat. 

2. The largest precious gemstone ever discovered, yet unpolished, is the Bahia emerald. It weighs approximately 840lbs (381 kg or <18000 carats) and was valued at $400 million. This precious gemstone was, however, reported stolen in 2007 in Los Angeles, California.

3. The Largest semi-precious gemstone ever discovered is a pearl that weighs six-ton and measures 1.6m in diameter! Found in China, this pearl was valued at approximately $300 million.

4. The most expensive gemstone in the world today is Alexandrite, which goes for a whopping $70,000 per carat.

5. Amber is the softest gemstone in the world. Diamonds are the hardest and therefore cost the most to shape.

6. After millions and millions of years, it is postulated that the sun will become one large diamond star!

In conclusion, we would like you to explore the various types of gemstones available and understand the benefits associated with each stone before you make a purchase. You can find a range of precious and semi-precious gemstones at ZonaBrazil and explore different options.  

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