Precious and Semi Precious Gemstones – What is the ”difference” ?

Dear reader, is time to embark on a different path in our journey. Today we will explore the precious and semi precious gemstones, imaginary caves. Are your curious to know the difference between precious and semi precious gems ? If the answer is ”Yes”, Great !!!…you are in the right place.

Along this path, I will tell you a short introduction about the gems, what is a precious gem, what is a semi precious gem, and of course, what is the difference between them.

I will also take you on a more detail journey that I know you will like. Is very important to understand the gems world the best that you can, because by doing this your will be able to choose your stones better. This being said, I think is time to begin., but safety first, so…

Please fasten your seat belt, try to smile 😀 , and enjoy the ride !



A short introduction

I want you to know, you can revisit Gemstone Geology journey, where I explained in more detail what gemstones are. The main important aspect you need to know is that gemstones were first classified into two categories of “precious stones” and “semi precious stones” in ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks classified the gems based on the rarity of the stones in ancient times, as well as their qualities.

In modern times this classification is made by gemologists (qualified individuals that can identify and evaluate gems). They describe their categories based on their chemical composition, by their crystal system, and by their crystal habit.

Please remember when you consider buying gemstones as jewelry, is important to know that the price of the gems will be different based on their category.

Now let’s continue to the fun part…



Precious gems

Imagine now you are entering a large cave full of precious gems, and you look around and see many shapes and colors of this beautiful stones. Would you like to know more about the stones that you see ?

  • Diamondis a precious stone consisting of a clear and colorless crystalline form of pure carbon, the hardest naturally occurring substance. The word diamond derives from the Greek word ”adamas”, meaning invincible. Diamonds are the hardest minerals, also they have the highest thermal conductivity, and basically, they can cut throw everything. They are very old stones, with ages between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years, and if you want to have a look when they form, you need to go down, 150 to 250 kilometers (93 to 155 mi) in the Earth.


  • Ruby is a precious stone consisting of corundum in color varieties varying from deep crimson or purple to pale rose. The word Ruby, derives from the Latin word ”ruber”, meaning red. The most important aspect is that the ruby is distinguished for its bright red color, and is the most famous red gemstone. Ruby is a very tough and durable gem, and the only natural gemstone harder than Ruby is diamond, also ruby is one of the traditional gems that the Cardinals are wearing.


  • Sapphire is a transparent precious stone, typically blue which is a variety of corundum (aluminum oxide). The word Sapphire derives from the Latin word ”saphirus” and the Greek word ”sapheiros”, both meaning blue. An important aspect is, that sapphire like the ruby, is distinguished for his blue color, and is the most famous blue gemstone. An exotic type of sapphire, known as color changing sapphire displays a different color depending on the light source.


  • Emerald – is a bright green precious stone consisting of a chromium-rich variety of beryl. The word Emerald derived from the Greek word ”smaragdos”, meaning green gem. Emerald is defined by its green color. Now you need to know, to be an emerald, a specimen must have a distinctly green color that falls in the range from bluish green to slightly yellowish green. Emeralds are notorious for their flaws and flawless stones are very rare.

Let’s rest for a second because we are about to enter in the second cave.



Semi precious gems

Moving forward, imagine how you are exploring the second large cave full of semi-precious stones. I know you were impressed by the first cave, but if you pay attention in this cave, you will see a multitude of colors shapes, forms and many types of stone. Do you want to know more about them ? OK!, I will present to you some of the most famous semi precious gems.

  • Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz.
  • Yellow Citrine is a golden yellow variety of quartz.
  • Blue Topaz is a pale blue, consisting of an aluminum silicate that contains fluorine.
  • Smoky Quartz is a grey, translucent variety of quartz.
  • Garnetis a deep red vitreous(like glass in appearance) silicate mineral.
  • Rose Quartzis a type of quartz which exhibits a pale pink to rose-red hue.
  • Pink or Green Tourmalineis a crystalline boron, silicate mineral

The reason I present this specific stones to you, is that all of them are ranks 7 or higher on the Mohs Hardness Scale (is a scale ranking minerals based on their scratch resistance). I did this because all the precious stones that I presented to you earlier, have the harnesses of 8 to 10 on the Mohs Scale. Another important fact is that they are over 300 minerals, that are gemstones ( precious and semi-precious).

Now let’s get out of the caves because I want to have a chat with in regards of the difference between them. Shall we ?



Wath is the ”difference”

Now that we rested a bit, I want to explain to you, very shortly the ”difference” between them. I’m saying shortly because the ”precious” and ”semi precious” term, is used mainly in commercial contexts, for example when you want to buy one, and this doesn’t necessarily mean some stones are more valuable than others.

When we are talking about the difference between precious and semi precious gems, we are referring to the rarity of the respective stones in ancient times, as well as their quality, their color, translucency, and hardness.

To understand the difference between them, you first need to know everything about the gems that you want to get. This is very important because you will see a big price range when comes to precious vs semi precious gemstones. The more knowledge you have about these stones, the better you will take an advised decision when the time comes to get one, or two, or ten…



In my opinion…

My dear friend, we arrived at the end of today’s adventure. I know it was a bit long, but I am confident that you enjoy every bit of it. Along the way you see a short introduction of the stones, how to put stones in the right category, precious or semi precious, and the difference between them.

In my opinion, when comes to choosing your stone, is very important not to focus too much on what category is from. Now, if you are interested to buy jewelry is a different story, and I will tell you more about it, on a different journey.

I believe if you are new to crystals and gems world, is better to take it step by step. What I mean is, to start with one, and get as much information as you can about it, after taking the second on, and so on… In my opinion, this is important because you will get a much more powerful connection with the stones if you research about them.

I hope you enjoyed this more profound journey, and now maybe you prepare yourself to take the step and get your first stone, or if you are a fan, to get another one. Now I have to go ! It was a real pleasure to walk along your side, and as usual…


Till next time ! 🙂









  1. Alex

    Hello George,

    Very informative post. I had a general idea about gemstones before reading this and now have a better understanding of the subject. Thanks!


    1. George (Post author)

      Hey Alex,

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. I’m really happy that you like it.
      See you in the future post.

      Best wishes !

  2. K

    A nice basic breakdown of precious and semi-precious stones. Enjoyed reading about what they are here and looking forward to hearing more!

    1. George (Post author)

      Hey K,

      Thank you and I’m really glad that you enjoyed reading the post.
      See you in the future post.

      best wishes !

  3. Vicki Crawford

    This is a really great article George
    It is full of really great information, good pictures and I really enjoyed my read with this post
    All the best

    1. George (Post author)

      Hey Vicki,

      Thank you very much. I’m really glad that you enjoy it ! 🙂

      Best wishes !


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