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Precious Gemstones – Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies and Sapphires

February 18th, 2012

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Have you ever wondered what gems are considered to be precious gemstones?  Diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires fall into that category.  Whether you favor the rich red of a ruby or the sparkle of a diamond, precious gemstones possess a beauty and uniqueness all their own.  Read on to learn more about your favorite gemstone.  Let us know which one is your favorite!


8096 RING | Alson Jewelers

The beauty and sparkle of diamonds have captivated our attention for millions of years.  They are the hardest and most brilliant of all the precious stones  Diamonds have always been the most prized of all the precious stones for centuries. Royalty would use diamonds to embellish their crowns, swords and jewelry.

The first recorded history of diamonds dates back over 3,000 years to India. Diamonds were used for decorative purposes as well as a talisman to ward off evil or provide the wearer protection in battle.


Diamonds come in many colors, the most popular being white diamonds.  Colored diamonds or fancy colored diamonds come in yellow, pink, blue, red, black, chocolate, and even green.  Fancy color diamonds can be more expensive than white diamonds due to their rarity. Usually the more intense the color, the higher the value of the fancy colored diamond.

When shopping for a diamond, it is important to consider the 4 C’s which include Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight.

Cut – The brilliance and the sparkle of a diamond is determined by its cut.  A diamond that is well cut allows the most amount of light to be reflected from each of its facets and dispersed through the top.  We believe that the cut of a diamond is one of the most important of the 4 C’s.  Even with the perfect color and clarity, a diamond will look dull if it is not cut properly.

Clarity – Almost all diamonds carry inclusions that cannot be seen by the naked eye.  These also make diamonds unique, as no two diamonds are the same.  However, these inclusions impact a diamond’s clarity.  The absence of inclusions or the fewer inclusions a diamond has means better clarity.  Therefore, the better the clarity, the greater the value of the diamond.

Color – Colorless diamonds come in a variety of color grades that are marked D through Z.  D, E and F grade diamonds are the most rare and most expensive.  These contain no color.  The further down the scale you go, the more yellow appears in the diamond.  Once a diamond gets past Z, then it is considered a Fancy color diamond.  The more intense the color is of the diamond, the more rare and expensive it will be.

Carat Weight – The weight of a diamond is measured in carats.  1 carat equals 100 points.  Diamonds may be referred to as a 3/4 carat stone or a .75 point diamond.  The larger the diamond, the more valuable it is, but it should not be the only consideration.  The cut, clarity and color should all be considered for a desirable diamond.


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Known for its deep, rich red color, the ruby is considered to be second to the diamond as one of the most prized gemstones throughout history.  The ruby’s red color symbolizes love and passion.  The word ruby comes from the Latin word “ruber” meaning red.  The ancient Hindus referred to this gem as “Rajnapura” meaning “King of Gems”  and was considered to have magical powers.  It was worn to ward off evil and cure indigestion.  It was believed that the ruby’s red glow comes from an internal flame that cannot be extinguished, making the a gift of a ruby symbolic of everlasting love.

When considering buying a ruby, you will want to look for the best color.  Almost all quality rubies have inclusions, although they will not be visible to the naked eye.  Look for a clear stone with few inclusions and beautiful color.


Bez Emerald Ring | Alson Jewelers

The emerald has been desired since ancient times and a fine emerald can be more expensive than a high quality diamond of the same carat weight. Emeralds range in color from yellow-green to blue -green, with the most popular being a deep emerald-green.

The intense green of the emerald is symbolic of spring and rebirth.  The Egyptians were known to engrave emeralds with the symbol of foliage to represent eternal youth and would bury their dead with theses jewels.  The ancient Romans associated the emerald with fertility and rebirth and dedicated this gem to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.  Many people believe today, that wearing an emerald brings wisdom, growth and patience.

When purchasing a fine emerald, as with a diamond, the 4 C’s apply as well.  Of the 4 C’s, color is extremely important and is broken down into three categories:

Hue –  The color of the stone

Tone – The depth of color ranging from light to dark

Saturation – The purity of the green and level of other hues

Remember, the more vivid the green, the greater the value of the emerald.


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Sapphires come in a wide variety of colors from deep blue to pink, purple, clear, orange, yellow and green .   The blue sapphire is the most sought after and the most valuable. The Greeks named this gem “sapphirus” meaning blue.  Many ancient civilizations believed that the world was set upon an enormous blue sapphire, which made the sky blue with its reflection.  The sapphire is second only to the diamond in hardness and can be worn everyday mounted in an engagement ring or right hand ring without worrying about scratching or damaging the stone.

When buying a sapphire, the most important thing to consider is color.  Sapphires of good color with highly saturated or medium dark tones are best and most valuable.

Sapphires have grown in popularity in recent years.  Prince Charles famously proposed to Princess Diana with a beautiful blue sapphire engagement ring that has since been handed down to their son, Prince William, who gave it to his now wife, Princess Kate

Which gem is your favorite?  Is it the sparkle or flash of a diamond, the allure of an emerald, the fire and depth of a ruby or the deep blue of a sapphire?  Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.