by Rob Wagner
Semiprecious gemstones are beautiful, natural gems that have real value. Semiprecious gemstones are popular for use in beautiful gemstone necklaces, gemstone rings and gemstone earrings. A semiprecious gemstone is purchased for its extraordinary beauty, but also to mark birth months or for ceremonial or cultural reasons. Gorgeous semiprecious gemstone jewelry is the perfect way to add glittering gems and jewels to your look.
Precious vs. semiprecious: There is no set scientific or geological definition for precious and semiprecious gemstones, and many cultures rate gems differently. Generally speaking, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and rubies are considered the four precious gemstones. Pearls and opals are also considered part of the precious family. This rating is based largely on rarity and value. Religious groups may place more value on a gemstone, and some cultures will find a gem more precious based on its mythological properties. Choose gemstone jewelry such as gemstone necklaces, gemstone rings and gemstone bracelets that have personal meaning and value.
Cultural attraction: Many semiprecious gemstones have cultural meaning and importance. Turquoise, for example, has long been a favorite semiprecious gemstone in the American Southwest and Mexico for its historic relationship to Native American and Mexican culture. Jade has strong ties to Asian culture and is often carved into mystical jewelry pieces. Semiprecious gemstone jewelry with green gems such as diopside and peridot resemble emeralds and appeal to individuals with ties to Irish culture.
Free pass: Amber is popular for earrings, rings and pendants, as well as decorative home accessories. Amber is considered a semiprecious gemstone, but it is actually yellowish-brown fossilized tree resin that has hardened to the density of a soft gemstone. Authentic amber is fairly rare and can be quite valuable.
Care: When purchasing semiprecious gemstones, buyers should be aware that each stone may require different cleaning techniques to protect the stone. Knowing where your semiprecious gemstone rates on the Mohs scale of hardness can help you care for it properly. Moonstone and coral, for example, are fairly soft and should be kept away from chemicals and abrasive materials, while alexandrite and topaz are almost as durable as diamonds and can be cleaned more vigorously and worn daily.