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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) / Gem Names end in "ite"

Why do so many gemstone names end in "ite"?

The "ite" suffix is derived from the Greek word lithos meaning rock or stone (the adjectival form of lithos is "-ites"). It is a convention in the mineral world that new minerals are given names ending in "ite". The International Mineralogical Association's Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification publishes guidelines for naming new minerals (or renaming old ones).

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  • First Published: February-20-2006
  • Last Updated: November-10-2014
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Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

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Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

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