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Semi-Precious Gemstones

The "Precious Four" Gems
The "Precious Four" Gems

The term semi-precious is used to refer to the entire world of colored gemstones, not including the four so-called precious gems, diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald. The terms precious and semi-precious are actually no longer used in the gem trade, and the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) officially requires that "Members should avoid the use of the term 'semi-precious' in describing gemstones".

This rejection of the term semi-precious is a way of recognizing the incredible diversity and rarity of many colored gemstones. One of the major changes in today's gem market is a growing consumer awareness of the vast range of colored stones. These days customers ask us about sphene and iolite and other previously obscure gem varieties just as often as they ask us about sapphire or emerald.

Rare Sphene Gems from GemSelect Natural Topaz at GemSelect Spinel Gems from Burma and Tanzania So the world of colored gemstones needs some new classifications to replace the outdated distinction between precious and semi-precious gems. None of the trade organizations have proposed a new schema. Yet, one is definitely necessary, since we need a way to explain to buyers why some gems are highly valued and others are not.

At the very least we need a classification for what we might call premium colored gems. These are gems that have excellent gemstone characteristics - hardness, durability, brilliance, clarity and color. In most cases they are also quite rare. These could be considered to be the new precious gems. This group would include not only ruby, sapphire and emerald, but also spinel, tanzanite, tsavorite garnet, demantoid garnet, alexandrite and the finer tourmaline.

Ametrine Gemstones at GemSelect Natural Chrome Diopside Another useful categorization is grouping gems that have good gemstone characteristics, but are widely available and very affordable. These include members of the quartz group - amethyst, citrine, ametrine, rose quartz, etc. - as well as topaz and the more common garnets. All of these stones have very good hardness (between 7 and 8 on the Mohs scale) and most have very good clarity. However, they are typically priced at well under $10 per carat.

Top Tsavorite Garnet at GemSelectThis still leaves forty or more varieties of fascinating gems to explore. Gemologists have useful ways to categorize them, but the market has a hard time classifying them, except by the term "colored stones". These gems include andalusite, diopside, fluorite, sphene, kyanite and moonstone. Each has its own unique colors and gemological characteristics. As they become better known, connoisseurs seek out the finest examples of each variety, so that the very best peridot and rarest rhodolite specimens become premium gemstones.

  • Première publication: 18 Mars 2008
  • Dernière mise à jour: 24 Janvier 2019
  • © 2005-2021 GemSelect.com tous droits réservés.
    Reproduction (texte ou graphique), sans le consentement écrit de GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd) est strictement interdite.
Plus de formes
Pierres précieuses populaires
  • Saphir
  • Émeraude
  • Rubis
  • Aigue marine
  • Zircon
  • Opale
  • Topaze
  • Tourmaline
  • Grenat
  • Améthyste
  • Citrine
  • Tanzanite
Toutes les pierres précieuses (143)
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T V Z
  • Actinolite Œil de chat
  • Agate
  • Agate Géode
  • Agate de Feu
  • Aigue marine
  • Amazonite
  • Ammolite
  • Améthyste
  • Amétrine
  • Andalousite
  • Andésine Labradorite
  • Apatite
  • Aventurine
  • Béryl doré
  • Calcite
  • Calcédoine
  • Charoïte
  • Chrysobéryl
  • Chrysocolle
  • Chrysoprase
  • Citrine
  • Clinohumite
  • Corail
  • Corail de Fossile
  • Cornaline
  • Dendritique Agate
  • Diamant
  • Diaspore Couleur Changeant
  • Diopside Chrome
  • Diopside Étoilé
  • Disthène
  • Druse d'améthyste
  • Druzy Azurite
  • Enstatite
  • Flocon de Neige Obsidienne
  • Fluorine
  • Fluorite avec changement de couleur
  • Grandidierite
  • Grenat
  • Grenat Almandin
  • Grenat Couleur Changeant
  • Grenat Démantoïde
  • Grenat Grossulaire
  • Grenat Hessonite
  • Grenat Malaya
  • Grenat Mali
  • Grenat Pyrope
  • Grenat Rhodolite
  • Grenat Spessartite
  • Grenat Tsavorite
  • Grenat Étoilé
  • Hiddénite
  • Howlite
  • Hématite
  • Hémimorphite Druse
  • Idocrase
  • Iolite
  • Jadéite
  • Jaspe
  • Jaspe Sanguin
  • Kornerupine
  • Kunzite
  • Labradorite
  • Lapis-lazuli
  • Larimar
  • Malachite
  • Maw-Sit-Sit
  • Morganite
  • Nacre
  • Nuummite
  • Obsidienne
  • Oeil de Chat Aigue-Marine
  • Oeil de Chat Quartz
  • Oeil de Tigre
  • Oeil de Tigre Matrice
  • Oeil de chat Apatite
  • Oeil de chat Scapolite
  • Oeil de chat Sillimanite
  • Oeil de chat de la Pierre de Lune
  • Onyx
  • Opale
  • Opale Boulder
  • Opale Chocolat
  • Opale Doublet
  • Opale Noir
  • Opale de Feu
  • Opale en Matrice
  • Opale hyalite
  • Opale œil de chat
  • Perle
  • Pierre de Lune
  • Pierre de Lune Arc en Ciel
  • Pierre de Lune Étoilé
  • Pierre de Soleil Étoilé
  • Pierre de Soleil 
  • Pierre précieuse étoiles
  • Pierres précieuses Jade
  • Pierres précieuses de couleur changeante
  • Pierres précieuses oeil de chat
  • Pietersite
  • Prehnite
  • Pyrite
  • Pyrite Arc en Ciel
  • Péridot
  • Quartz
  • Quartz Citron étoilé
  • Quartz Fraise
  • Quartz Fumé
  • Quartz Rose
  • Quartz Rose Étoilé
  • Quartz Rutile
  • Quartz avec marcassite
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Rubellite Tourmaline
  • Rubis
  • Rubis en Fuchsite
  • Rubis Étoilé
  • Rubis-Zoisite
  • Saphir
  • Saphir couleur-Changeant
  • Saphir Étoilé
  • Scapolite
  • Scolécite
  • Seraphinite
  • Serpentine
  • Sillimanite
  • Smithsonite
  • Sodalite
  • Spectrolite
  • Sphalérite 
  • Sphène
  • Spinelle
  • Sugilite
  • Tanzanite
  • Topaze
  • Topaze Imperiale
  • Topaze Mystique
  • Tourmaline
  • Turquoise
  • Variscite
  • Zircon
  • Émeraude
  • Œil de faucon
Catégories principales
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  • Gemmes, briolettes et perles percées
  • Pierre de naissance
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  • Saphir non chauffé
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Taille et poids

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

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

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart