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    Gemstone Guide

    With a broad spectrum of gorgeous hues, gemstones bring a pop of color to any jewelry collection. From fiery rubies to serene sapphires, the right gem can add the final touch of perfection to any great outfit. Helzberg Diamonds is proud to offer a large variety of gemstone jewelry, and knowing more about it — including knowing how to clean and care for it — will help you get the most value out of your collection.

    What Is a Gemstone?

    Created deep in the Earth, a gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal that is cut and polished to make jewelry. Gemstones are admired for their beauty, durability and rarity. According to legend, certain stones are said to heal illnesses, bring love and good luck, and protect travelers.

    Types of Gemstones

    There are a number of different gemstones with varying colors, qualities and characteristics. While the list goes on and on, some of the more well-known gems are: sapphires, rubies, emeralds, alexandrite, amethyst, garnet, aquamarine, opal, pearl, rose quartz, peridot, tourmaline, tanzanite, topaz, morganite, moissanite and citrine.

    Precious Gemstones

    Sapphires, rubies and emeralds are precious gemstones. They have existed for centuries in nature and will continue to endure the test of time. Today, precious gemstones are also created in labs to offer the best value to customers. Traditionally, these gems have been very sought after and valuable stones.

    Semi-Precious Gemstones

    With the exception of sapphires, rubies and emeralds, in general, all other gemstones are considered semi-precious stones. Typically, semi-precious gemstones cost less than precious stones, but some semi-precious gems can actually be more valuable than precious gems. For instance, many natural pearls are worth more than a low-quality precious ruby, sapphire or emerald. Semi-precious gemstones are perfect for those who want an endless array of color options and a larger look at an affordable price.

    Natural Gemstones

    Natural gemstones, also called genuine gemstones, are formed in nature after millions of years of chemical processes. They are extracted, cut and polished to create the stunning gems you see in fine jewelry.

    Lab Created Gemstones

    Lab created gemstones are formed in laboratories using specialized technologies. They are physically, chemically and optically identical to gems found in nature.

    Gemstone Grade Chart

    Gemstones are graded by characteristics similar to those of diamonds. Rarity, color, brilliance, transparency, durability, cut, optical effects and size are all weighed when determining the worth of a gem. Gemologists use specific values to help differentiate gems based on these properties. .

    Gemstone Color

    Gemologists typically describe gem color by referencing three properties: hue, tone and saturation. The basic hues are orange, red, yellow, green, violet, blue and purple. Saturation refers to the intensity of a gem’s hue, which can be soft or strong. A gemstone’s tone refers to its relative darkness (black) or lightness (white).

    Gemstone durability

    The Mohs Scale is the industry-standard test to grade a gemstone’s hardness or durability. Gemstones are graded 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest or most durable. Durability is important to consider when purchasing a gemstone, especially if the gem is set in a piece of everyday-wear jewelry, such as an engagement ring.

    Gemstone Clarity

    A gem’s clarity grade indicates the relative absence of fractures, inclusions and blemishes that affect its structural integrity and appearance. When grading most colored gemstones, gemologists simply note whether a gem is eye-clean (with inclusions invisible to the naked eye) or else slightly, moderately or heavily included.

    Gemstone Cut Styles

    Cutting gemstones is a process by which raw, rough crystal is shaped into the transparent, polished and brilliant gemstones we see in fine jewelry. Gemstones have a variety of shapes and can be cut to accommodate diverse jewelry designs. A gem’s cut and shape work together to enhance its overall clarity, color and shine.

    Gemstone Size

    While a diamond’s size is measured by carat weight, a gemstone’s size is measured in millimeters. Different gemstones have different weights, but size is frequently described as length by width (e.g., an 8x6 oval blue sapphire).

    Gemstone enhancement

    Enhancements are applied to select gemstones to improve their wearability and appearance. Specific treatments are used based on the unique gem type and desired effect.

    frequently asked questions

    how do i clean a gemstone?


    how do i store a gemstone?


    What Is the Rarest Gemstone?


    schedule an appointment

    Schedule an online or in-person appointment to discuss the different types of gemstones Helzberg carries and explore our gemstone jewelry selection.

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