jewellery design

Jewellery Designing Guide to Semi-precious Stones

There’s a fascinating fact-check to be made about what stones are precious and semi-precious. In the world of gemstones, the classification of precious and semi-precious stones is made clear from time to time.

Diamonds, rubies, sapphire, and emerald are precious stones in the jewellery design context. The secondary status of semi-precious stones is not taken in a conclusive manner, as the reasons behind them bearing such status do not always project a fault in its composition or nature.


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Basically, every gemstone is a part of a mineral compound that is refined and cut into forms. This is then used in ornaments for their distinct qualities like shine, colour, geophysical relevance and rarity value.

The categorisation of gemstones by their value is done based on their rarity. Rarity has influenced the assigned status of gemstones as precious and semi-precious throughout history.

Another factor that decides the status of gemstones as semi-precious is the purity of the stone. The precious stones are classified based on their quality of their color, clarity, and luster. With such a criterion, even diamonds that are of lesser quality are considered semi-precious stones. This aspect is to be carefully studied by students at jewellery designing institutes so they have clarity on their notions and suggestions about stones.

In fact, there are even non-mineral varieties of gemstones that are considered semi-precious and used in jewellery. A look at some of the gemstones will reveal their peculiar properties and other amusing facts. These can be a matter of interest for discussion in jewellery design classes and among gemstone enthusiasts alike.


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An amorphous gemstone, opal is believed to be created in nature by the precipitation of silica in rock crevasses during rainfall. Once the water evaporates, the remaining silica deposits cause the rock to acquire a beautiful range of colours and get converted to what is known as opal.

Opal in nature comes in various shapes and takes a very long time to form. Opals are classified into precious and common based on the vibrancy of colour that appears on the stone. Australia is the source of nearly 95% of the world’s opal.

Largely, opal is used in jewellery in its unrefined form. The value of opal is determined by the colours present on a stone.


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Blue Topaz


Topaz is found as a composite of aluminium, silicate, and fluorine. This stone is believed to be first found by ancient Egyptians over 2000 years ago. The stone, in its purest form, is transparent. But rarely is a topaz found that pure.

Blue topaz has three different shades namely Sky, London Blue and Swiss. The stone is well-known for its soothing and calming abilities and is considered a symbol of chastity, friendship, and happiness.

The rarest variety of topaz is the red topaz which is also called the Imperial Topaz.


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Turquoise has a history that dates back thousands of years, being regarded as a popular and prized gemstone due to the unique blue to green hue it carries. It is considered to be a protective stone that is strong, soothing to touch and pleasing to the eye.

Turquoise is also formed by a chemical reaction where the deposits of minerals like copper and aluminium transform the rock into the gemstone with colours that range from sky blue to gray-green.

The stone is known to change colour under the influence of sunlight or other chemicals.


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Popular as a healing stone, jade, in fact, comprises different types of gemstones. But the pure forms of jade are jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite is rarer among the two and hence more precious.  The chime test helps to distinguish jadeite from nephrite. When struck, nephrite emits a musical tone, but jadeite doesn’t.

The stone was in fact used to make weapons thousands of years back due to its sheer strength. Though the green variety of jade is most popular, it is also available in shades of white, yellow, lavender, orange, black and grey. The Imperial Jade, that occurs only in Myanmar and Burma, is the most precious of jades.

Many more semi-precious gemstones are available to be used in jewellery designing. Ascertaining the value and significance of each is a matter of study in gemology in a jewellery designing course.

Gemstones are invaluable gifts from the treasure of nature that continues to amaze human minds with their unique qualities. A dedicated study of precious and semi-precious gemstones will reveal highly interesting facts that can make a considerable influence on one’s perception of them.

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