Types of Gemstones

In this guide, we explain the symbolic, historical, and practical differences among an array of beautiful gemstone types and precious stones so you can make an empowered choice to perfectly fit your taste.


LIST OF GEMSTONES

Available in all the colors of the rainbow, there is a wide variety of different types of precious gemstones in beautiful rainbow colors to suit every taste, style, and budget. Here is a brief introduction to the gemstones and gemstone jewelry featured on the ICONIC site. This list of gemstones features additional detailed information about the gems’ history, photos, and other relevant facts.

Gemstone hardness refers to the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, which runs from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest).


What is a Gemstone?

Gemstones are natural stones – rocks, organic matter, or minerals that are chosen for their outstanding beauty, rarity, and durability. These precious gems then become cut, treated as needed, faceted gems, and finally polished to create precious gem materials for jewelry, decorations, and accessories.

While most gems are hard there are others that are soft, too and some that are too fragile to be used in jewelry making. These softer rare gemstones are often put on display in stores or museums or collected by precious stone collectors.

With so many different and popular gemstones to choose from it can be challenging to select the best one for you. Here are some important facts and unique information about the most popular gemstones and ones we have available on the ICONIC site


Precious Stones

types of gemstones - diamond

Diamond

Hardness: 10 (extremely hard)

Though often treated as a separate category of popular gemstones, diamonds are, in fact, a type of gem. Uniquely strong and brilliant, diamonds have become a symbol of eternal love and the most popular gemstone for engagement rings. The word “diamond” stems from the ancient Greek word “admas,” used to describe something that is unbreakable or invincible.

Most diamonds on the market are white diamonds, prized for being colorless. Fancy-color diamonds are extremely rare and valuable. For a unique colored gem, you may want to consider a black diamond which is a very unique type of gem. To learn more about diamonds, visit Diamond Education.

Birthstone: April

Anniversary: 10th, 60th

Gemstones - Emerald

Emerald

Hardness: 7.5-8 (medium-very hard)

The gem of spring, emeralds, symbolize rebirth. Cleopatra, the ancient ruler of Egypt renowned for her exceptional beauty, was known for her love of these gorgeously radiant green gemstones.

A type of beryl and the same mineral species of colored gemstones as aquamarine, for emeralds the color range of green colors go from green to greenish-blue. Color is the single most important factor in evaluating emeralds and the more intense and vibrant the color, the greater the value of the gem.

Rarely eye-clean, emeralds are one of the unusual gemstones where visible inclusions (referred to as the “jardin”) in its polished form are acceptable.

Birthstone: May

Anniversaries: 20th, 35th

Gemstones - Ruby

Ruby

Hardness: 9 (very hard)

Referred to as the “king of gems,” rubies have been known as the gemstone for centuries. A variety of the corundum mineral species, rubies can sell for the highest price per carat among all the different colored popular gemstones.

Ruby colors are found in the range of red to orange-red to purplish-red. Rubies are often heat-treated to intensify the color and improve the clarity of the gem. They appear a deeper red under incandescent light.

With a name stemming from the Latin word for red (“ruber”), a fiery dark-red crystal ruby is symbolic of love and passion.

Birthstone: July

Anniversary: 15th, 40th

Gemstones - Sapphire

Sapphire

Hardness: 9 (very hard)

With a name that comes from the Greek word for blue (“sappheiros”), it is easy to understand why many people are surprised to learn that the sapphire gem is actually available in a variety of rainbow colors. Popular sapphire colors outside of blue include pink, yellow, and white.

Known as the gem of truth and fidelity, a blue sapphire stone is among the particularly popular gemstones chosen for engagement rings. Princess Diana was one of the most famous wearers of a sapphire stone engagement ring. It’s the very same ring now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.

As with other popular gemstones like rubies, sapphires are often heated to enhance their gem quality in color and clarity.

Birthstone: September

Anniversary: 5th, 45th

Gemstones - Black Diamond

Black Diamond

Hardness: 10 (extremely hard)

A black diamond is a very unique and beautiful gem variety. Bold and mysterious, black diamonds make a statement, especially when paired with white diamonds or fitted into a minimal statement piece of jewellery.

In nature, black diamond gems get their color from the presence of dark inclusions. Today, most black diamonds are diamonds that have been heat-treated. The heat treatment turns any dark green inclusions darker to the point of appearing black.

Birthstone: January

Anniversary: 2nd

Gemtones - Amethyst

Amethyst

Hardness: 7 (medium hardness)

Found in varying hues of purple, the semi-precious gem amethyst is the most valuable variety of the mineral quartz. Throughout history, amethyst has been considered the stone of sobriety (Ancient Greece), love (Middle Ages), and intellect (Renaissance). St. Valentine is believed to have worn an amethyst ring engraved with the image of Cupid.

Prior to the discovery of large amethyst deposits in the 19th century, this purple gemstone was worth as much as a ruby. Today, amethyst is more affordable but still among the very popular gemstones.

Birthstone: February

Anniversary: 6th, 17th

Gemstones - Citrine

Citrine

Hardness: 7 (medium hardness)

Citrine is a warm, earth-toned variety of quartz. The semi-precious gemstones Citrine can have color ranges from pale yellow to orange-brown. This is often confused with topaz as the two gemstones share the status of November birthstone like tanzanite, turquoise, and zircon gems share being birthstones of December.

A natural citrine gem is very rare. The more common citrine gems are the product of heating amethyst, another variety of quartz.

Another of the popular gemstones, Citrine is also referred to as the “merchant’s stone” or the “money stone,” as it is believed by some as the gem to bring prosperity.

Birthstone: November

Anniversary: 13th

Gemstones - Blue Topaz

Topaz

Hardness: 8 (very hard)

Among the popular gemstones, the Topaz exists in shades of brown, yellow, green, blue, red, pink, orange, and purple, as well as colorless.

Blue, the most popular color for topaz, is actually the rarest in nature. The blue color of topaz is the result of irradiation and heating. These treatments turn colorless or pale gems into beautiful shades of blue, such as Swiss (a light blue, almost electric sky blue) and London blue (deeper blue, almost dark blue).

Birthstone: November (precious topaz), December (blue topaz)

Anniversary: 4th (blue topaz), 23rd (imperial topaz)

Gemstones - Garnet

Garnet

Hardness: 6.5-7.5 (medium hardness)

There are many varieties and colors of garnet gems, the most well-known stone of which is the red garnet. Intense and fiery, the red garnet gem has been popular for millennia. Archaeologists discovered ancient garnet jewelry dating back over 5,000 years. Garnet stones were believed to protect travellers; in the story of Noah’s Ark, Noah uses a garnet lantern to light the way.

Non-red varieties of garnet gems include green Russian demantoid (first discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains and the rarest and most valuable of the January birthstone) and African tsavorite, pink and purple rhododendron, and orange to reddish brown spessartite and hessonite.

Birthstone: January

Anniversary: 2nd

Gemstones - Black Onyx

Onyx

Hardness: 7 (medium hardness)

Hardness: 7 (medium hardness)

Onyx is a banded variety of the mineral chalcedony. An ideal texture for carving, the onyx gem was often used in ancient Rome and Greece to produce cameos in jewelry and wax seals.

Most onyx used for jewelry today is in different shades of black, white, or red, in which case it is called ‘sardonyx.’ Most black-coloured onyx is the result of chemical treatment, a common practice used for thousands of years. One technique in ancient times, described by the Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder in the first century, included soaking chalcedony in sugar water. The glossy noir style of a beautiful black onyx is perfect for art deco designs or as a contrast to white diamonds.

Anniversary: 7th

Gemstones - Peridot

Peridot

Hardness: 6.5-7 (medium hardness)

Called the “gem of the Sun” by the ancient Egyptians, peridot is one of the few gemstones found in only one color: green. Vivid lime green is the most desirable color for peridot gems, though its range of colors go from light green to olive green.

Formed in the heat and pressure of the earth’s mantle, peridot gems also exist in outer space. Peridot crystals have also been found in pallasite meteorites (asteroid or comet debris that have fallen to earth).

Birthstone: August

Anniversary: 16th


Birthstones: Names of gemstones for each month

January : Garnet

February : Amethyst

March : Aquamarine

April : Diamond

May : Emerald

June: Pearl or Alexandrite

July : Ruby

August: Peridot

September: Sapphire

October: Tourmaline or Opal

November : Topaz or Citrine

December : Tanzanite, Zircon or Turquoise


Frequently Asked Questions

A gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal stone, which can be cut and polished for use in jewellery or other adornments. This includes the types of gems such as diamonds, emerald and sapphire found within popular gemstone rings and other jewelry but also many other gemstones including lapis lazuli, turquoise, aquamarine which are prized by ancient civilizations because of the range of colors that don’t get worn out easily!
The rarest gemstone on earth, Painite holds the Guinness World Record for it. After its discovery in the year 1951 by British gemologist Arthur Charles Davy Pain, there existed only 2 specimens of this precious mineral until they were both found within just a few decades later!
Asteria says that blue diamonds are worth $3.93 million per carat, and they’re rare to find in a flawless sample- which makes them even more valuable. The last time this type of diamond went up for auction was at Christie’s Geneva called “The Oppenheimer Blue,” where it eventually sold off for around 57.5 Million Dollars (or approximately 3 Million Per Carat).
It’s important to find out if the gemstone you’re interested in buying is natural or synthetic. A qualified professional can tell by looking for any cracks, scratches and black spots on the surface of a transparent stone; cracks are usually only found when there has been some type of breakage so these should be examined carefully before purchasing an item.
The diamond is the hardest gemstone, but talc is a mineral that can be softer than some other stones on this scale. The Mohs Scale ranks minerals according to their scratch resistance and its originators divided them into different groups based upon how easily they cave or break under pressure; from 1 for softest (talcum powder) down through 9 hardness which represents diamonds in descending order of reactivity with commonly occurring materials like iron ore.
There are 200 varieties of different gemstones known in the world today, as Walter Schumann’s latest edition lists about two hundred. Alongside the most popular gemstones like diamond and sapphire-which can be found abundantly on Earth–there are unique gemstones and a vast array of semi-precious stones that have been so incredibly rare, their value outstrips some more valuable precious stones such as rubies or emeralds.
The world’s most expensive gemstone, the red diamond can fetch over $1 million per carat and there are less than 30 diamonds in the world.
The birthstone is a symbol of your personal birth period (month or zodiac sign) and it’s the perfect gift for any significant other.
Gemstones are found in various parts of the Earth’s crust, with some forming as minerals and others being formed through metamorphic processes. The different types that make up these rocks can be classified by their chemical composition into igneous, which is molten rock created at high temperatures; metamorphic where there has been a significant change to another mineral or Rocks composed entirely from other substances like shale etc.; sedimentary which contains particles such as sandstone (Sedimentary).
The International Gem Society lists ten stones that are rarer than a diamond. These are:
Tanzanite
Burma Ruby
Jadeite
Alexandrite
Paraiba Tourmaline
Ammolite
Kashmir Sapphire
Natural Pearl
Red Beryl
Benitoite
Rubies are stones that can be found in nature’s rough and tumble. They’re some of the most valuable gems on earth, with records setting at $1 million per carat for a flawless ruby; while the finest sapphire could go for $11 thousand per carat.
Iron Pyrite (also called Fool’s Gold) is the ultimate stone of luck, prosperity and abundance. It attracts coins to help you bring in more from the Law Of Attraction so that your wishes come true!
Here are the listed ten most expensive gemstones in the world:
Tanzanite—$1,200 per carat
Black Opal—$9,500 per carat
Red Beryl—$10,000 per carat
Musgravite—$35,000 per carat
Alexandrite—$70,000 per carat
Emerald—$305,000 per carat
Ruby—$1.18 million per carat
Pink Diamond—$1.19 million per carat
Jadeite—$3 million per carat
Blue Diamond—$3.93 million per carat
The most famous of all sparkling gems, diamonds can be found in many different cuts. They are mainly used to show off their ‘scintillation’ and have 58 facets like the Round Brilliant Cut, which make them stand out from other stones! Diamonds are the point of comparison when discussing stone brilliance.
A crystal is an object made up of atoms or ions that have been arranged in a specific order and structure. Gems, on the other hand, are precious minerals that occur only near their source. A crystal can be called a gem, but not vice versa.
Diamond (April) is the most expensive and prestigious of all birthstones. It’s a symbol for everlasting love, as well as honesty in relationships–a perfect fit!
A fine quality ruby is generally more expensive than most emeralds, with record prices of up to $1 million per carat. Emeralds can be purchased for between 525-1125 USD depending on the color and clarity desired – but note that several factors affect the price of a gemstone!
Diamond – Color can either detract or enhance the value of a diamond. Depending on its color, intensity and hue naturally occurring diamonds include gray, white, blues, yellows, oranges, red, green, olive, pink, purple, browns, black. The rarest type of this stone has been found to be Red stones.
Ruby – Ruby is defined to be red, but all other hues are called sapphire. Ruby may exhibit a range of secondary colors including orange and purple as well violet or pink shades because they have different energies depending on their frequencies with light waves which can affect how you feel when looking at them.
Sapphire – Some of the most popular fancy sapphire colors include padparadscha, pink and purple as well as orange. Some other famous color categories are yellow for oranges; green with undertones that can range from light to dark- burgundy reds -violet shades oily blackish browns-,and white which has been known since ancient times primarily because it was seen on worn crown jewels ornaments used by royalty.
Emerald – The most desirable hues are bluish-green to pure, vibrant greens with no darkness or yellowing in the stone at all–just evenly distributed colors that give off a brilliant glow when polished into sharp edges like glass.
Pearl – Pearls are among the most beautiful gemstones in existence. They come in many colors, including white and cream (a light yellowish brown), black or gray but also silver shades that can be found on some strands of pearls with an interesting iridescent sheen to them due to their organic composition.
Amethyst – Amethyst is a variety of quartz that varies in color from light purple tints to nearly black gemstones. Some examples include ametrine, pink mossy cape and prasiolite which are six of the most well-known types for this beautiful but sometimes difficult crystal formant! The color of the rarest amethyst, known as Siberian Color, like Concorde grapes is a shade that cannot be replicated with just any kind of crystal. This unusual hue has both red primary hues and an orange secondary flash when viewed under incandescent lights.
Quartz – Rock crystal is the most common variety of quartz. Citrine comes in shades from light to dark yellow, amethyst can range through purple hues to pink and lavender or red-violet respectively while rose quartz typically has lighter colors that go near crimson on its spectrum finish imperfections side. Additionally, brown transparent crystals are also available for those who want something different!
Tourmaline – Tourmalines come in all different colors and can be green, blue or yellow. Pink tourmaline is colored by the trace element manganese while brownish-yellow ones are called dravites and black ones are known as schorl (a type of black geode).
Citrine – Citrine is a gemstone that ranges from light pastel yellow to dark reddish-orange. The best quality has an intense golden hue with fiery orange flashes inside and can be clear or cloudy depending on its origin (sulfide). A saturated color free of brown tints prized in citrines is deep red shades which may also be called Madeira Citrine due to their strong resemblance to Portuguese wine made from fruit grown on these islands.
Peridot – Peridot is the gem variety of mineral olivine. The intensity and hue both depend on how much iron it contains, so there can be different shades to an individual stone; yellowish-green, greenish-yellow or brownish-green.