Gemstones have been used to make jewellery for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians have been known to wear ornaments made from gold, silver, copper and precious stones 4,000 years ago. Gems are still popular because they are beautiful, rare and durable. A gem is usually a piece of mineral hardened by millions of years of pressure, but some gems are also made of organic matter. Today, gemstones are used in rings, pendants, earrings and all sorts of jewelleries.
You can find extensive information about gemstones used in jewelleries at a jewellers directory, such as the Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA). Here are some popular gemstones that are used to make jewellery in alphabetical order of their names:
Made of tree resin that has been hardened for at least a million years, Amber is an organic gemstone. It has a beautiful yellowish-orange color that goes well with all skin complexions. It is used in rings, pendants, earrings and all sorts of jewellery
Treasured for its beautiful violet and purple hue, amethyst is a much prized gemstone of the quartz family. Its color can range in tone from light to dark purple.
A hard stony substance formed from the secretion of certain marine coelenterates, coral is prized as a gemstone whose color is between orange and red and ranges from a shade of pink to a soft terra cotta.
The hardest substance found in nature, diamond is actually a crystalline form of pure carbon. It is usually clear and colorless, but also exists in color. First thought to have been mined in India about 2,000 years ago, it is the most popular and the most expensive gemstone used in modern jewellery.
Prized for its fine green to bluish green color, emerald is one of the most expensive gemstones. It is also one of the oldest known precious stones. Ancient Egyptians have been known to have used it as early as 3,500 BC.
Known as the Stone of Heaven in Asia, jade is prized for its beautiful green color. However, it is also available in other colors.
Known for unique and interesting patterns under its surface, jasper is a reddish-brown gemstone of the chalcedony family which comes in a variety of colors.
Formed when a grain of sand or other foreign matter lodges inside the shell of certain mollusks, chiefly oyster, pearl is an organic gemstone prized for it smooth and lustrous colors. Most pearls are white, but they can also be other colors, including black.
Quartz is a family of crystalline gemstones of a variety of colors. Some of the best known quartzes are amethyst, rose quartz, smoky quartz and rutilated quartz.
Valued for its intense red color, ruby is one of the most expensive gemstones. In India, it is known by its ancient Sanskrit name Ratnaraj, which means ‘the king of precious stones’.
One of the most expensive gemstones, sapphire is available is several different shades of blue. The most popular is deep blue.
Prized for its intense medium blue to greenish blue color, turquoise is found only in a few places. Southwest USA is the world’s largest turquoise producing area and the stone is closely connected to Native American culture of the region.