Q:

What are some different kinds of gemstones?

A:

Quick Answer

There are the precious gemstones like diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald. There are also the semi-precious gemstones like turquoise, amethyst, garnet and quartz. There are also the gemstones that are considered birthstones (like aquamarine for the month of March and peridot for the month of August) and anniversary stones (like blue topaz for the fourth year and onyx for the eleventh year).

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Full Answer

A gemstone is a piece of mineral that is used in cut and polished form to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks or organic materials that are not minerals are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value.

Gemstones are classified into different groups, species and varieties. They are also characterized in terms of refractive index, dispersion, specific gravity, hardness, cleavage, fracture and luster. They may also be classified in terms of their "water." This is a recognized grading of the gem's luster, transparency and/or "brilliance." Highly transparent gems are considered "first water," while "second" or "third water" gems are those that have a lesser transparency.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a blue gem called?

    A:

    Blue gems come in many different varieties and colors, with sapphire being the most classic and highly prized blue gemstone from the mineral corundum. All blue corundums are known as sapphires while corundums of all other colors are called fancy sapphires, and red corundums are known as rubies. Other gemstones with a blue color include tanzanite, zircon, topaz, aquamarine, lapis lazuli, spinel, tourmaline, iolite, apatite, agate, rainbow moonstone, kyanite, fluorite and paraiba tourmaline.

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  • Q:

    What is a created sapphire?

    A:

    A created sapphire is a sapphire made in a laboratory. Lab-created sapphires have the same mineral composition as naturally occurring sapphires, but they are much more affordable.

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  • Q:

    How can you tell if a sapphire is real?

    A:

    Examine a sapphire under strong light with a jeweler's loupe to look for scratches, bubbles and light reflections that indicate the stone's origins. If in doubt, a certified gemologist can give a definitive answer as to whether or not the stone is genuine.

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  • Q:

    How hard is a diamond?

    A:

    Diamond is the hardest mineral on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, with a rating of 10, and is four times harder than the next mineral on the chart, corundum, of which sapphire and ruby are varieties. The Mohs scale is the most common system used for this measurement. It is a relative scale, grading the comparative hardness of 10 common minerals and their resistance to scratching.

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