For centuries, people have been fascinated by beautiful stones, collecting them, gifting them, using them as a currency. Naturally, jewellery is another popular use and one most people are familiar with, but the description of gemstones and why they are used for jewellery are not as well-known. To clear up any questions you may have on the subject, here’s what you need to know about gemstone jewellery.
What is gemstone jewellery?
Upon hearing the term, you might think that gemstone jewellery is jewellery made out of gemstones, but this is not always the case. In most cases, this type of jewellery contains gemstones, but they are adhered to metal, glass, and other materials that make up the core of the jewellery piece. As for gemstones, they are rocks and minerals with unique (and typically vibrant) appearance, which have been altered to integrate with jewellery (rings, earrings, brooches, etc.).
Key characteristics of gemstone jewellery
Birthstones and mother’s rings
The label of birthstone jewellery is assigned to pieces that incorporate a certain stone representative of a month, day, name, or other factor related to a person’s birth. For example, a person born in September will consider their birthstone sapphire, and pick birthstone jewellery that incorporates sapphire.
Mother’s rings, on the other hand, are not associated with the birthday of the wearer, but rather the birthstones of the wearer’s children. For example, a mother with two children born in different months may choose a ring with two different birthstones melded together or placed in different parts of the ring.
Some jewellery is made with uncut gemstones, while the traditional approach is to cut and polish them. An uncut stone rarely has the uniform shape of a circle, square, octagon, etc., and is molded into the jewellery just as it was found. Nevertheless, most gemstones are cut into a uniform and aesthetically pleasing shape before being polished and added to jewellery, and they are what we are used to seeing in earrings, tiaras, diadems, and all traditional jewellery.
The gemstones in jewellery are typically characterised as either precious or semi-precious. Jewellery in itself is usually quite expensive, but the stones used in it strongly fluctuate by value. Nevertheless, value is not the characteristic of a precious gemstone, since this is just an archaic name for sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, and rubies, which were considered the most precious centuries ago. Nowadays, some people also include amethysts, opal, and jade in this category. While “precious” stones are indeed valuable, there are plenty of other gemstones in the world that are rarer and many times more expensive.
Undoubtedly, diamond is the most popular type of gemstone jewellery, but there are plenty of others that can be found in jewellery stores, craft shops, and other places where jewellery is sold. For example, quartz jewellery is valued for its similarity to diamonds, ease of crafting, and accessible prices. Rubies and sapphires are also quite popular, as they have come to be associated with specific colours, up to the point where any red stone in jewellery is mistakenly called a ruby, and a blue one a sapphire.