Precious Stones Explained
By Sam Serio
The mineral to which the term "precious stone" is applied,
must be adaptable for jewelry or ornamental purposes and must possess beauty, hardness,
The beauty of a precious stone or gem consists of its color or
colorlessness, brilliancy or softness of luster, and transparency. To take a high and
lasting polish, a mineral must be hard and many stones that would otherwise be
highly valued are low in the estimate of worth because they do not possess of sufficient
hardness to make them endure the wear and friction to which a precious stone is subjected
when used in the form of jewelry. The rareness of precious stones has a decided effect in
determining their values. For instance, the crocidolite, commercially known as tiger-eye,
was sold by the carat some years ago, and was largely used in the making of fine jewelry.
Today, this material is so plentiful that it is no longer classed among the higher gems,
but serves for cameos and intaglios like chalcedony and onyx.
The changes of fashion have much to do with determining the market
value of precious stones. Amethysts, topazes, cat's-eyes, aquamarines, alexandrites, and
even emeralds and opals have been eagerly sought for at times and then again neglected for
other gems, causing a sensible difference in the value of these stones.
It has been a mooted question as to the proper dividing line between
stones that deserve the title precious, and those, which should be placed in a
so-called semi-precious or lower category. To draw such a line is hardly possible, as
neither hardness, rareness, nor value would be a positive test some of the hard
stones, like zircon and almandines being less valuable than softer opal, while the
diamond, one of the most plentiful of precious stones, is at the same time, one of the
Neither can price be taken as a complete test, because fashion makes a
turquoise, an opal, or an emerald much more valuable at one time than at another, All
precious minerals used for ornamental purposes, from the diamond to quartz, or chalcedony,
may properly be termed precious stones.
The Final Word On Precious Stones
The most precious stones are the diamonds, emeralds, rubies and
sapphires. The pearl is oftentimes classed with precious stones. Although strictly
speaking while it is not a stone it holds an esteemed place in jewelry.