The naming of gemstones can be confusing. Correction! It is usually very confusing for the average customer... Many brands treat terms in the field of goldsmithing and gemology loosely, not paying attention to their correct meaning. Moreover, these terms are then repeated by other brands and unaware customers. And yet it is so important to use the correct terminology if we want to be a conscious consumer who knows what he is buying and understands its value.
The commonly used rules for naming stones were established by CIBJO - an international organization founded in 1926, which introduces guidelines for terms used in the jewelry industry around the world. So how do we use stone terms correctly? Read our short guide!
is the broadest concept covering everything that can be used in jewelry.
is a material created naturally in nature, without human participation or interference. This term includes the following categories: minerals (e.g. diamond, emerald), glass of natural origin (e.g. obsidian), rocks (e.g. lapis lazuli, turquoise), stones of organic origin (e.g. amber) and biogenic materials (e.g. pearl or coral).
Precious and semi-precious stones
From a gemological point of view, there is no basis for dividing stones into precious and semi-precious. Nevertheless, we will encounter this terminology because it is customary to divide natural stones according to their rarity, durability and value. So, the most common gemstones are diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.
is an artificial material whose chemical, physical and structural properties are identical to their natural counterparts. There are many methods of creating synthetic stones and they are very widely used in jewelry. We can find, for example, a synthetic ruby, emerald or even a diamond.
are stones (natural or synthetic) that only resemble other natural stones in appearance. However, they have completely different chemical and physical properties. The most famous type of imitation is cubic zirconia. It is an artificial, man-made material that imitates a diamond in appearance.
these are stones subjected to processes aimed at, for example, changing their color or improving purity or durability. An example of such improvement may be filling stones with oil, resin or glass. Some stone refining techniques are standard practice adopted by the market (e.g. oiling emeralds). The customer has the right to know whether the stone he is buying has been improved. Honest sellers include this information in their stone and product certificates.
Gemologist of the International Gemological Institute