Precious stones VS semi precious stones: What are the differences?

Precious stones VS semi precious stones: What are the differences?

Gemstones are minerals or rocks that are magnificent in color, hard, durable, rare, and can be faceted and carved into jewelry and artifacts, including natural, synthetic and organic materials.

In gemology, gemstones are generally divided into two categories based on hardness and rarity: precious gemstones and semi-precious gemstones.

The use of gemstones goes back a long way in human history. Since the Paleolithic period (25,000 – 12,000 B.C.), people in Africa and the Middle East have been decorating themselves with shells, bone blocks, teeth and stones.

For example, agates and crystals were very popular at Jarmo in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) in 7000 BC.

In addition, it is believed since ancient times that gemstones have healing properties and magical powers. The Egyptians, Babylonians and Assyrians all believed that gemstones could cure diseases. The choice of gemstones was determined by the color of the disease.

What are precious stones?

In gemology, gemstones are generally divided into two categories: precious gemstones and semi-precious gemstones.

There are four main types of precious gemstones, namely diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, while the rest of the stones, like crystals, agates and carnelian, belong to the category of semi-precious stones.

What are semi-precious stones?

Semi-precious stones including tourmaline, lapis lazuli, topaz, aquamarine, garnet, peridot, tiger’s eye, labradorite, moonstone, obsidian, malachite, turquoise, rhodochrosite, amethyst, jade, agate, chalcedony, opal, lithium pyroxene, calcite and so on.

In addition, organic gemstones such as amber, pearl and coral are also classified as semi-precious gemstones.

Differences between precious stones and semi precious stones


The more precious a stone is, the harder it is. In reality, any naturally occurring stone that reaches a hardness of 9 or more can be classified as a gemstone. This is one of the most important reasons why diamonds are the king of gemstones.

Semi-precious stones, on the other hand, are generally not as hard. Many semi-precious stones can even be fragile and easily detachable.

Rarity (Price)

Because of their beauty and rarity, precious stones are always at the top of the industry in terms of price. They are often sold by carat, and some of them can even be described as “worth a fortune”;

Compared to precious stones, semi-precious stones are much more affordable, and the majority of the stones in the market belong to this category.

Precious stones list


Diamonds are legendary in our cultural consciousness and have been for millennia. The name “diamond” itself is derived from the ancient Greek “adamas”, meaning “unbreakable” or “untamed”.

These precious stones are rated a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, denoting that they are the hardest material known to man. They are unbreakable, unscratchable, and unbeatable in terms of durability.

Because of thir high refractive index, diamonds are really shining under the light. Large sized diamonds can be extremely valuable.

In general, the larger, clearer, more finely-cut the gem is, the more expensive it will be. For example, for a 1 carat diamond, you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $9,000 (the average price is around $5,500), depending on its qualities and origin.

Read more about this precious stone.


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Ruby is the July birthstone, also known as the “stone of love”, which symbolizes passion, love and eternity. Ruby embodies three main characteristics of high-grade gems: charming beauty, excellent durability and extreme rarity.

The durability of ruby is mainly due to its excellent hardness and high temperature resistance. Ruby has a Mohs hardness of 9, second only to diamonds, and is the second hardest substance in nature.

Natural rubies are mostly from Asia (Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China), and high quality rubies are extremely rare and extremely difficult to obtain.

All in all these precious stones have been prized and sought after by humans since antiquity. It is the July birthstone and the gift for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. They are especially prized in Asia, where they used to be buried in the base of buidlings for good luck.

Read more about this precious stone.


The word sapphire comes from the Greek sappheiros, which referred to the startling and rich blue color most people associate with the sapphire. It has been worn as a guard against illness and envy and to safeguard travelers.

It has a value of 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, with a vitreous and or glassy luster, and is transparent to translucent and has a strong pleochroism. Though most people think sapphires are blue, a sapphire can be any color but red.

The value of a sapphire depends on its weight, its clarity and its color saturation. The most expensive sapphires are usually beautiful, clear, deep blue and can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Like so many other types of crystals, the sapphire comes with its own meanings. It’s the September birthstone and the gift for the 45th wedding anniversary. The sapphire is a stone of wisdom, and each color has its own meanings.

Read more about this precious stone.


They’re green, they’re gorgeous, and they stand in a class of their own. Emeralds are a May birthstone and it is one of the most popular gemstones currently on the market.

Emeralds are a member of the beryl mineral family. The green coloring comes from chromium and vanadium. Apart from its typical green color, emeralds also have yellow and blue hues.

The main sources of emeralds are Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia, among which Columbia produces the most emeralds worldwide contributing 50% of the world’s yield.

Women who have been drawn to their elegance, including Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth II, and more modern and famous ones like Elizabeth Taylor.

There are many reasons to choose an emerald gemstone as a valuable addition to your precious jewelry collection. Even though emeralds are not as hard as diamonds, if cared for properly, they do stand the test of time.

You can be sure that emeralds will amaze you thanks to their unique features. They are able to captivate your imagination, bring you solace, and be a brilliant addition to your jewelry collection.

Read more about this precious stone.

Listing of semi-precious stones

Blue semi precious stones

Turquoise Necklace min

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The most typical blue semi-precious stone is Turquoise. Other blue semi precious stones including Lapis Lazuli, Aquamarine, Larimar, Topaz, Aventurine, Tanzanite, Indicolite or Blue Tourmaline, Dumortierite, Iolita, Blue Quartz, Blue Spinel, Sodalite, Kyanite, Apatite.

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The list of blue semi precious stones with images, properties, meanings.

Purple semi-precious stones

The most typical purple semi-precious stone is Amethyst. Other purple semi-precious stones including Jade, Kunzite, Iolite/Cordierite/Dicroite, Purple garnet, Spinel, Sugilite, Tanzanite, Purple tourmaline, Purple chalcedony, Fluorite.

The list of purple semi-precious stones with images, properties, meanings.

Yellow semi precious stones

Gold Citrine Necklace Brighter Than Sunshine e1625224984719

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The most typical yellow semi-precious stone is Citrine. Other yellow semi-precious stones including Alexandrite, Amber, Garnet, Heliodor, known as Yellow Beryl, Jade, Fire opal, Topaz, Tourmaline, Zircons.

The list of yellow semi-precious stones with images, properties, meanings.

Green semi precious stones

Malachite: a beautiful and unique gemstone with powerful healing properties!

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The most typical green semi-precious stone is Malachite. Other green semi-precious stones including Jade, JasperAgate, Amazonite, Aventurine, Bloodstone, Peridot, Tourmaline Tsavorites- known as Garnet green.

The list of green semi-precious stones with images, properties, meanings.

Black semi precious stones

The most typical black semi-precious stone is Onyx. Other black semi-precious stones including Tahitian black pearl, Spinel, Obsidian, Black garnet, Black jade, Black opal, Schorl- Black Tourmaline, Black zircon.

The list of black semi-precious stones with images, properties, meanings.

Pink semi precious stones

The most typical pink semi-precious stone is Rose quartz. Other pink semi-precious stones including Chalcedony, Kunzite, a variance of Spodumene, Garnet, Morganite, Rhodochrosite, Pink spinel, Pink Topaz, Pink tourmaline, Zircon.

The list of pink semi-precious stones with images, properties, meanings.

White semi precious stones

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The most typical white semi-precious stone is Moonstone. Other Agate, Jade, Jasper, Opal, Pearl, Quartz or Rock crystal, Topaz, Tourmaline, Zircon.

The list of white semi-precious stones with images, properties, meanings.

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