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Frequently Asked Gemstone Questions


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1. What Really Is A Gemstone?

What makes something be considered as a gemstone?
Well, a gemstone is a naturally occurring form of a mineral which is desirable for its beauty, valuable in its rarity, and durable enough to be enjoyed by its owner. Attractive crystals and minerals have caught man's eye since the beginning of history. As he saved and collected these rare beauties, they were valued and became what we now call gemstones. There are more than 30 popular varieties of gemstone minerals, and many more rare collector types of gemstones. While we normally think of certain colors with certain gems, most gemstones occur in a variety and range of colors.
Gemstones are oddities in the geological world. The special conditions that allow a mineral crystal to grow slowly and undisturbed, and thus remain transparent and evenly colored, are extremely rare in natural environments. Moreover, such conditions tend to be very restricted in volume on the rare occasions when they do form. The result is that only a small amount of the mineral material present in any specific geologic deposit is suitable for use as gemstones, and the usable portions of the crystals which are recovered tend to be very small.


What is meant when something is called a "colored" Gemstone ?
In the gem and jewelry trade, all Gemstones other than diamond are called colored stones. So if it isn't a diamond , its a colored stone. Its odd, but this means that a deep yellow diamond is not a colored stone, while a colorless sapphire actually is a colored stone. I know its kind of confusing, but that's how the gemstone industry defines its terms.
Why are Certain Gemstones Considered as "Precious"?
The term "precious" is defined by the dictionary as something "having great value"; "semiprecious" refers to something of "lesser" but still significant value. The dramatic rise in the prices of all gemstones beginning in the 1970's has made the normal use of these terms completely obsolete. However, they remain familiar to many jewelry makers and buyers from around the world, and therefore still retain colloquial use. Traditionally, the term "precious," as applied to gemstones, has (for centuries) meant four stones: diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire - other gemstones are considered as "semi-precious", no matter how valuable they actually are. In this day and age, it is not unusual that fine quality semi-precious stones command as high a price, and not uncommonly even higher than the lesser grades of so-called "precious" stones.

I want to see more about how Gemstones are cut and polished.

I have a whole web page devoted to the process of cutting and polishing gemstones by the method known as faceting. Learn about the process from gem rough to finished jewelry by checking out our faceting web page: FACETING AND POLISHING PAGE HERE



Nevada Outback Gems

Find out more by checking out all of our links below:
Our Free Colored Gemstone Information Encyclopedia Amethyst and Citrine info Aquamarine information
What Really Is A Gemstone? Apatite information Chrysoberyl information
How are Gemstones Mined? Diamond information Emerald information
What About a Gemstone Makes it so Valuable? Garnet information Morganite information
What About Investing in Gemstones? Opal information Peridot information
Nevada Outback Library and Bookstore - Learn more! Ruby information Sapphire information
The Rockhound's Corner for Gem Hunting Spinel information Oregon Sunstone info
Take a virtual tour of our Nevada Turquoise mines Tanzanite information Topaz information
Rare Crystals and Gemstone Rough, including Turquoise Tourmaline information Tsavorite information
Natural Gold Nugget Photos: Big Nuggets, Crystal Gold Turquoise information Zircon information
Chris' Gold Prospecting Encyclopedia Nevada Outback Gems Homepage Nevada Outback Gems Site Map