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Precious Stones vs. Semi-precious Stones: Which One Does Your Jewelry Have?

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Is your jewelry box stuffed with necklaces, rings, and bracelets you never wear? Want to score some fast cash from your unwanted bling?

For centuries, precious and semi-precious stones have been hot-ticket items. Consumers love their gorgeous glimmer and shine. While all gemstones are beautiful, precious stones are much more valuable than semi-precious ones.

Struggling to identify what stones your jewelry has? Keep reading to learn more about the critical differences between precious and semi-precious stones. 

What Are Precious Stones? 

There are only four types of precious stones, including:

  • Diamonds: These stones are solely made up of carbon atoms. Diamonds can be completely transparent, translucent, or opaque.
  • Sapphires: These precious stones are composed of aluminum oxide, vanadium, titanium, and magnesium. Blue sapphires are the most popular.
  • Rubies: This stone is renowned for its blood-red hue, caused by the chromium ions in its composition.
  • Emeralds: This bright green gemstone belongs to the beryl family of minerals. The green hue is attributed to trace amounts of chromium. 

These four stones are deemed precious because of their rarity, quality, and colors. Another key differentiator of precious stones is their hardness or superior scratch resistance. A stone that can scratch another is considered to be harder. For instance, an emerald is harder than a garnet stone because it leaves marks on it. A diamond can only scratch another diamond.

A mineral’s durability is measured by the Mohs scale, with one being the softest and 10 being the hardest. 

What Are Semi-Precious Stones? 

Every other gemstone that isn’t one of the four mentioned above is semi-precious. Some of the most common semi-precious stones are garnet, opal, turquoise, and aquamarine. 

Precious vs. Semi-precious Stones: What’s the Difference? 

The main differences between precious and semi-precious stones are their hardness, color, rarity, clarity, and value.

  • Hardness: As we said earlier, precious stones have the highest Mohs scale ratings. Diamonds rank the highest with a mineral hardness of 10. They are followed by ruby, sapphire (9), and emerald (8). Most semi-precious stones have a hardness rating below 7.5.
  • Color: Even after regular wear, precious stones retain their stunning colors for the long haul. Semi-precious stones will eventually turn dull.
  • Rarity: Precious stones are much rarer than semi-precious gems. Surprisingly, the semi-precious stone tanzanite is rarer than diamond. However, since it is softer, tanzanite is considered to be semi-precious.
  • Clarity: Crystal-clear precious gemstones are extremely rare. Clear semi-precious stones are more abundant.
  • Value: Precious stones cost much more than their semi-precious counterparts. 

Does My Jewelry Contain Precious or Semi-Precious Stones? 

Wondering if the gems in your bracelet are emeralds or jade? Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine by the naked eye.

To find out what kind of gemstones are in your jewelry, plan a visit to one of Maxferd’s five convenient jewelry store locations. We provide free walk-in jewelry evaluations to determine its intrinsic value.

During a jewelry evaluation, our specialists will closely inspect your jewelry to uncover its worth. We make our determination based on measurable factors, including weight, size, rarity, and the clarity of individual stones. We’ll also evaluate the overall condition of your items, looking for signs of wear, scratches, or manufacturing defects.

After the evaluation, you can sell your jewelry to us, obtain a collateral loan, or simply walk away with the information we have provided.

For over 135 years, California residents have trusted Maxferd for professional, accurate jewelry evaluations. Contact us today by calling (800) 888-PAWN (7296) to learn more.