Sunday, June 26, 2011

What is a gemstone?

Any mineral that is cut and polished and used to make jewelry or any other ornamental object can be classified as a gemstone--sometimes referred to as precious or semi-precious. There are also some rocks that are considered gemstones--such as the lapis lazuli, and some organic materials--such as jet, amber, or pearls, that are considered gemstones as well. The price of gemstones is determined by several factors, such as their beauty, their quality, their rarity, their physical characteristics, to name a few. Many gemstones are enhanced in some way to improve their appearance and durability. Heat and radiation are often used to enhance or change the color of hard gemstones, while some of the more porous stones are dyed. Turquoise is one example of a stone that is often dyed. Some stones that may have fissures, or inclusions, are oiled or waxed to fill in the fissures. This may improve the overall appearance and stability of the stone but is usually quite noticeable and reduces its value. Gemstones have been used for centuries for many purposes, and some even believe that gemstones have mystical or magical properties. For an extensive list and description of various gemstones, the article Gemstones Meanings and Properties is an excellent resource.

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