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Gemstones Overview

Gemstones - also known as jewels, gems, precious stones, or semi-precious stones - are types of minerals which are usually cut and then polished to create smooth, sparkly and colourful rocks.

Gemstones are generally hard. However, a few softer gems are still used for jewellery because of their lustre and rarity.

Different Uses of Gemstones

  • Jewellery
    Since the ancient times, gemstones used as jewellery have played a significant role in society. In some parts of the world, precious gems have been utilized as currencies.
    Sapphires, emeralds, rubies and diamonds among others were used to adorn the crowns of royals to signify their prestige and power. Jewellery with gemstones are offered as gifts to show commitment and love.   
    Gemstones in jewellery can come in various designs from earrings and necklaces to bracelets and broaches.
  • Ornamental
    Gemstones can be used in so many ways. Aside from their common use as jewellery ornaments, they can also make great decorative pieces for homes and buildings.
    Gemstones are also found in antique collections of hard-stone carvings. Engraved gems are stones which have designs etched into them, these ornamental gem stones are a luxurious form of art. Often these types of pieces can be found in museums.
    Some establishments use gemstones as adornment for walls, pillars and even walkways. Usually, semi-precious gemstones are used this.  
  • Healing
    Gemstones are also popular for their holistic medicinal uses. They are believed to heal the soul, mind and body. This fascinating attribute has been recognized for centuries.
    A lot of people believe that certain gemstones possess special healing powers. Just like with astrology, a huge amount of money is invested on gemstones a method of alternative medicine. The methods include:
    • Wearing the stone in a piece of jewellery
    • Holding it in your hand
    • Consuming pieces of the stone
    • Crushing the stone and creating a paste to rub on  affected areas

Real vs. Fake Gemstones

Shopping for gemstones can be quite a daunting task since it can be hard to distinguish the real from fake ones. Generally, gemstones go through different treatment processes to bring out their lustre and attractive colour as well as enhance their durability and appearance.

However, fake gems are crafted in an almost-perfect condition as the real ones. For an inexperienced gemstone buyer, identifying the fake can get extremely difficult.

Listed below are some tips to help you spot real gems versus fake gemstones:

  • Consider the price. No matter how close they look, the real stone will cost significantly more than the fake stone. Be wary of unbelievably good deals.
  • Look for inclusions in the stone. Natural gemstones commonly possess more inclusions; fake ones don’t have any. Inclusions mainly add character and significantly affect the pricing of gemstones.
  • Only buy from a reputable seller. Make it a point to request for certification for the stone the gemstones from a trustworthy laboratory, before you buy it.  
  • Do not accept gems certified by unknown labs. If the seller certified it themselves, you should not take their word for it. Have it checked by a third party.

Importance of Gemstone Certification

Gemstones are certified to verify authenticity. A gemological certificate will often have a photograph of the stone and include information such as the weight, cut, origin, measurements, enhancements, and any other essential features noted during the certification process.

Gemological laboratories employ trained gemologists who use a variety of scientific methods and test equipment to thoroughly examine your gemstone to ensure that you get what you are paying for.

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