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A gemstone (also called a gem, fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks (such as lapis lazuli and opal) and occasionally organic materials that are not minerals (such as amber, jet, and pearl) are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well.

Aquamarine

Named after the color of sea water, aquamarine is the blue to blue-green member of the beryl family. Readily available and moderately priced, the modern March birthstone makes an excellent jewelry stone.

Garnet

First, the species or variety of garnet can impact price and the gem’s use in jewelry. In reality, a stone is a blend of the end-member chemistry. However, these terms will help you understand why some garnets are much more valuable than others.

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli has been used since ancient times and remains popular today. This gemstone has been prized for its bright, blue color and used for inlay and intarsia as well as for pigments for cosmetics and paintings. Its contrast and eye appeal is irresistible.

Turquoise

With striking sky blue to blue-green colors, turquoise has been prized by cultures all over the world for over 5,000 years. Today, the traditional December birthstone is favored by well-known modern jewelry designers as well as aficionados of American Southwestern and Native American jewelry.

Peridot

The modern August birthstone, peridot has been prized as a jewelry stone since ancient times. Always green in color but with considerable variations, a peridot’s particular shade depends on its source.

Moon Stone

Moonstone is a variety of the feldspar-group mineral orthoclase. During formation, orthoclase and albite separate into alternating layers. When light falls between these thin layers it is scattered producing the phenomenon called adularescence.

Rose Quartz

A popular variety of colored quartz, rose quartz makes a durable jewelry stone. Although commonly cabbed and carved, more transparent material can also be faceted.

Spinel

Although spinel has been used in jewelry since ancient times, this gemstone has only recently received the attention it deserves. Before the rise of modern gemology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, spinel was often identified as corundum, as they are often found in the same mines.

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a name applied to a family of related minerals with widely varying properties. Tourmalines make very popular jewelry stones and come in an amazing range of colors, including multi-color zones.