Did you know that the term "semi-precious stone" is now banned by the jewelry industry? The correct term to use is gemstones for all them although the term semi-precious is still commonly used and is practically entrenched in dictionaries.

The term semi-precious was first coined to distinguish stones other than the main precious gems - diamonds and the more coloured ones - sapphires, emeralds and rubies. These "precious" stones were and still are in high demand, and therefore assumed to be the most costly. The rest got saddled with an unfortunate moniker - the word "semi" implies that the stone has a lesser value. Interest and demand have risen for gemstones and some of them, especially the rarer ones can cost a small fortune. The reference below reports that whilst some rubies, sapphires and emeralds can fetch about US$1oo per carat, a fine Paraiba tourmaline (a rare gemstone) of equivalent weight will command $20,000!

Remember fashion can dictate value too. Aquamarine (Latin for "seawater") is a lovely blue-green stone - the lucky stone of sailors long ago. Today, stones with any hint of green are not worth as much as the blue varieties. Yet long ago, the reverse was true. Either way, it is still aquamarine!

International Coloured Gemstone Association
Paraiba Tourmaline
The Beading Gem's Journal

Subscribe to THE BEADING GEM'S JOURNAL by Email
Subscribe in a reader