Monday, April 02, 2007

Semiprecious; A Term In Search of an epitaph

In this post: Book Review: Hope Diamond by Richard Kurin


by Richard W. Wise, G.G.

©2007

Semiprecious is like semi-pregnant, it is a word that makes no sense. No less an authority than Robert M. Shipley, the founder of GIA, called it “an indeterminate and misleading classification”. Still, some people, including a good many dealers, stubbornly cling to it like limpets sucking on a rock. In ancient days do you suppose King Tut and the rest of the royals knew that they were using second class gems to decorate their tombs? When will this term finally be consigned to the linguistic dustbin where it truly belongs?

The French philosopher Voltaire insisted that intelligent discussion was impossible unless terms were defined. I contend that the precious versus semiprecious is a distinction without a difference and that semiprecious is a truly meaningless term. To use a meaningless term is to talk nonsense. To prove the point, I will issue this challenge. I say that the term precious cannot be defined in a way that excludes gemstones other than the usual list.

Consider, if you will, the usual suspects: The list of precious gems usually includes: diamond, ruby, blue sapphire and emerald. Right? Well if so what criteria make these gems and only these gems precious? All possess the usual criteria; beauty, rarity, value, durability but to the exclusion of all others? Take beauty, emerald can certainly be beautiful but is it more beautiful than its first cousins the aquamarine, the red beryl, the heliodor? It is worth more in the market than aquamarine and heliodor but is far more abundant and lower priced than red beryl.

Alexandrite, is another case in point, it possesses all of the criteria and is rarer than every gem on the list yet it is excluded. Why is blue sapphire a precious gem and yellow sapphire only semi-precious? Cuprian tourmaline from Paraiba, Brazil is hugely expensive, it is certainly beautiful and rare and durable to boot. Why isn’t cuprian tourmaline considered a precious gemstone?

If its precious, its, well precious but if it’s semiprecious is somehow less than precious. What makes one stone precious and another less so and why, one might ask, would anyone marketing a product use a term to describe that product that denigrates that product?

Win a Free Book:

I will give a free signed, hardbound copy of the 1st edition of my book: Secrets Of The Gem Trade, The Connoisseur’s Guide To Precious Gemstones to the first of my readers to provide a definition of the term Precious that includes diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald and excludes all other gemstones.

A couple of ground rules; First, according to The Pocket Oxford to define means to “ to mark out the boundary of…to give the exact meaning of a word” thus if I say andesine is a precious gemstone the question is, what are the criteria that determine preciousness and does the given gem meet them? Second; a definition is not a list so something like “precious is a gemstone category that includes diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald.” is not acceptable because it is redundant like saying a “a rose is a rose”. What is required and acceptable is a true definition one that provides a basis, a series of criteria by which a stone is either included or excluded from the select company of precious gems. Third: Your answer must be posted in the comments section (below) of this blog post on or before April 20, 2007.

Book Review:

Hope Diamond, The Legendary History Of A Cursed Gem by Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Books, Harper Collins. $24.95

This wonderfully researched and lively account traces the story of the Hope Diamond and in the process debunks and dispels much of the misinformation surrounding the world’s most famous gem.

The debunking begins on page one. Years ago I heard a story that Harry Winston shipped the Hope to the Smithsonian by regular mail in a plain brown paper wrapped package. It went by mail alright in a plain brown wrapper but it was insured for a million dollars.

Kurin begins his tale at the beginning by making his own journey to northwestern India to the fabled Kingdom of Golconda and the storied mines of Kollur. This is the mine mentioned by the famed 17th Century French gem merchant, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier. Tavernier, the man who sold the diamond to Louis XIV of France was famously silent about where he obtained the stone but he does mention Kollur as a source of colored diamonds and based on that single mention, most experts have deduced that Kollur was the source.

What did he find in Kollur? Snakes! After a difficult three day journey following Tavernier’s route by car, snakes and very little else. There exists barely a trace of the old mines which were played out and abandoned in the 18th century. The presence of snakes together with a nearby mountain and bit of local folklore leads Kurin to speculate that perhaps, Kollur was the site of the original Valley of the Serpents mentioned by Marco Polo. A bit of a leap, perhaps, unlike Mogok, Kollur isn’t a deep valley but the locals do have a two-headed bird god and that is something the Burmese contender lacks.

Source of The Great Blue:

Kurin pulls together an interesting, if flawed, argument for Kollur as the source of the Hope. He points out that when Tavernier sold the stone to the Sun King, the Hope was barely fashioned, almost rough. From this he concludes that the stone was purchased at the mines.

His next conclusion is a bit more of a reach. With the meticulous attention to detail that he demonstrates throughout, Kurin discovered a short note by Tavernier on the original chart made up by the French gem merchant, describing number six of the best twenty stones Tavernier sold to the French monarch in 1668.

“C’est un autre diamante que j’achetais l’an 1653 a la mine de Coulour.”

Taking this statement and the fact that there are no other stones immediately adjacent to that bit of text, the author speculates that the autre diamond, to which Tavernier refers, may be the blue and if so, Kurin concludes, it was purchased in 1653 at Kollur.

The question is; to which diamond does the note refer and was number six another diamond purchased or another diamond purchased at Kollur? The passage can be read either way. The note, as Kurin points out, was not next to the Hope which was number one on the list. To that I would add two additional points that pose certain difficulties in accepting Kurin’s speculations: First, number six is a colorless diamond and both the stones, numbers five and seven, immediately adjacent to number six are also colorless and second; number six is shown as completely faceted even though, according to Tavernier’s own words, it was originally purchased at the mines at Kollur. Fact is, any dealer worth his salt knows a bit about recutting. The real question is; why if Tavernier did hold on to the stone for fifteen years why didn't he recut it?

To the above I would add a further quibble. Tavernier was a dealer and speaking as a dealer I can state with some authority that our biggest thrill is the hunt. After the adrenalin rush of bagging a big, beautiful and expensive stone, a dealer’s next thrill is selling that big beautiful expensive stone to obtain the capital to begin the hunt all over again. Would a dealer hang onto such a treasure for 15 years if he could have sold it? I doubt it.

Harry Winston and The Smithsonian:

The book is a great read. I discovered interesting facts and important information not previously available with each turn of the page. One particular favorite is the section in which the author reproduces the correspondence between Harry Winston, his lawyers, The Smithsonian, their lawyers and the IRS and its lawyers that detail the labyrinthine negotiations that resulted in Harry Winston’s donation of the Hope Diamond to The Smithsonian. Winston was more than willing to donate the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian but he was also determined to receive its full value as a tax deduction.

Cartier versus Evalyn Walsh McLean:

In Chapter 19 we learn that Pierre Cartier was the man most responsible for promoting the Hope’s hard luck legend. Cartier bought the Hope in 1910 for $110,000 and was successful in selling the great blue to Evelyn Walsh McLean and her husband for $180,000 the same year. Cartier’s myth making nearly backfired, fearing the curse, the McLean’s tried to back out of the deal and Cartier had to seek court action to enforce the sale. In the end the fabulous wealthy socialites bought the stone on the installment plan for $1,000 a month.

Hope Diamond is the most authoritative account of the legendary blue gem published to date. It is also a great story packed with anecdotes detailing the machinations of the rich and shameless. Highly Recommended. Under 20 bucks on Amazon. Buy on Amazon


Interested in reading more about real life adventures and secrets of the gem trade? Follow me on gem buying adventures in the exotic entrepots of Burma and East Africa. Visit the gem fields of Austrailia and Brazil's famous Capao mine. 120 photographs including some of the world's most famous gems. Consider my book: Secrets Of The Gem Trade, The Connoisseur's Guide To Precious Gemstones.

“Wise is a renowned author... He’s
done a marvelous job of this first book, monumental work, a tour de force...My recommendation: Buy this book”.

Charles Lewton-Brain, Orchid

Only $39.95. You can read a couple of chapters online: www.secretsofthegemtrade.com.

Buy it on Amazon: www.amazon.com

27 comments:

John S. White said...

According to Max Bauer in the introduction to his book "Precious Stones" (Edelsteinkunde in the original German) - "The minerals which combine the highest degree of beauty, hardness, durability, and rarity - diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald, for example - are by common consent placed in the foremost rank of gems; those in which these characters, especially that of hardness, are less conspicuous, are less highly esteemed. The former may be grouped together as precious stones, while the latter, characterized sometimes by greater beauty, but by lower hardness and more common occurrence, are known as semi-precious stones."

Richard W. Wise said...

John,

I have read Bauer and what he excludes "greater beauty, but lower hardness and more common occurance".

If we use those criteria then how do we exclude spinel, alexandrite, morganite, red beryl, topaz? Do they not combine these attributes?

One might also argue that if each of Bauer's criteria rarity is a sufficent condition to include or exclude a gem, rarity would exclude diamond from the list.

Africanuck said...

How about the classic definition of a gem as per John above, and add "those whose principal known deposits were under the control of the big colonial powers (Spain, England, Portugal etc). I have to wonder if the terms "precious" and "semi-precious" were put into use to promote certain gem varieties that "The Empire(s)" possessed in large quantities but that the others had to fork over large amounts of $$ to have to show their "glory".

DRAGONSTEK said...

I'M NEW TO GEMOLOGY AND A FELLOW G.O.L. NEWBIE,I FIND THE WORDS PRECIOUS N SEMIPRECIOUS TO BE AN OXIMORON, ALL GEMSTONES ARE MIRACLES OF MOTHER NATURE, WHICH TO ME WOULD MAKE THEM ALL PRECIOUS ,I THINK PEOPLE CONFUSE THE MEANING BY THINKING THAT JUST BECAUSE ITS A DIAMOND,RUBY EMERALD OR SAPPHIRE THAT ITS PRECIOUS,AND ALL THE OTHERS ARE UNWORTHY ,I THINK ITS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED NOW EXPECIALLY DUE TO ALL THE E-BAYING GOING ON .A STONES PRECIOUSNESS IS OR SHOULD BE BASED ON ALL ITS PROPERTIES. AN UGLY PRECIOUS DIAMOND AFTER ALL WILL BE JUST THAT A UGLY DIAMOND. I HAVE ONE LAST THING ,RICHARD YOU ARE AN INCREDIABLE WRITER AND YOU BRING ALL YOUR READERS ALONG WITH YOU ON YOUR ADVENTURES,THANK YOU FOR THAT ... DRAGONSTEK.... P.S I ALREADY HAVE UR BOOK AND HAVE UNDERLINED ALOT SO IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE A SIGNED CLEAN COPY

J. Wilcox said...

How about:

PRECIOUS (gemstone): A valuable and highly prized mineral with a crystalline structure that is either isometric or hexagonal, has a minimum hardness of 7.5, has historically been used for religious or ceremonial purposes, and for which there has been consistent high demand throughout history.

Richard W. Wise said...

J. Wilcox,

Good effort and before I had my first cup of morning coffee I thought you had me but, your definition would have to include every color of sapphire plus spinel, morganite and red beryl would it not?

J. Wilcox said...

The argument for spinel could go either way, therefore I have revised my definition to firmly exclude spinel, bixbite, and morganite and hereby resubmit it for your consideration:

PRECIOUS (gemstone): A valuable and highly prized mineral with a crystalline structure that is either isometric or hexagonal, has a minimum hardness of 7.5, is devoid of magnesium and/or manganese, has historically been used for religious or ceremonial purposes, and for which there has been consistent high demand throughout history.

Richard W. Wise said...

J. Wilcox,

Interesting but getting close to being a list. You would exclude the other colors of sapphire by saying that they have not been in consistent high demand throughout the ages? One might use the same argument to exclude the true emerald.

For most of recorded history, emerald has been another name for green sapphire. The Colombian sites were only discovered in the late 16th century.

One might argue that Cleopatra's Mines produced true emerald but those mines were lost prior to the Roman period and remained lost until the late 20th century. The only other site anyone can document for sure is in Austria and that probably was not mined until
after the 17th Century.

What about oriental amethyst or purple sapphire as it used to be called?

I think your efforts illustrate my point. Certainly you can continue to hone your definition but will the result truly be a definition of preciousness as it relates to gems or just an amusing exercise?

DRAGONSTEK said...

GEMSTONES OF THE WORLD BY WALTER SCHUMMANN SAYS"THE TERM SEMI-PRECIOUS HAS GENERALLY FALLEN OUT OF USE BECAUSE OF ITS DEROGATORY MEANING.FORMALLY , ONE MEANT WITH THIS TERM THE LESS VALUABLE AND NOT VERY HARD GEMSTONES,WHICH IS A OPPOSED TO THE "PRECIOUS" STONES."PRECIOUS" AND "SEMI-PRECIOUS" ARE ADJECTIVES, HOWEVER THAT CANNOT BE ADEQUETLY DEFINED TO DESTINGUISH BETWEEN GEMS" DRAGONSTEK

J. Wilcox said...

Honing my definition gets me closer to giving you what you requested. But it appears that you aren't truly looking for a definition, but a way to prove that you are right in your belief that one does not exist.

If that's the case, perhaps the definition you're looking for is:
"Precious (gemstone): A term formerly used to classify diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires as the top four most regal and valuable gems."

Actually, in my previous comment (not posted), I basically indicated that sapphires of all colors SHOULD BE INCLUDED as "precious" because your original request did not specify that you were only looking at
defining blue (and red) corundum as "precious." (Considering that all sapphires are basically colored by the same three elements [Chromium, Iron, or Titanium], at the moment I can't think of a way to individually exclude any of them while not excluding ruby or emerald.) (Perhaps this llustrates your point?) But regardless, your original request did not specifically exclude any colors of sapphire, therefore they should all be included as "precious."

Regarding the inclusion or exclusion of gems based on their historical high demand, this criteria could be used to argue both for and against its inclusion for gems that were a victim of "mistaken identity." The
only time this particular criteria would be a factor would be when the gems were correctly identified. If we consider that the mineral known as emerald was actually green sapphire, and the stone was in high demand, was the demand for emerald or sapphire? Some would say emerald, some
would say sapphire. In this case it doesn't really matter because both would be considered precious gems (regardless of the fact that the sapphire is green, because your original request did not limit corundum to red and blue). In the case of spinel vs. ruby, it does matter because you did not want spinel included in the definition. Therefore I found
another way to exclude it.

As for oriental amethyst, this term is used for BOTH purple quartz and purple corundum, depending on the user. While it's true that amethyst was/is considered a cardinal gem, I believe the hardness of quartz
(amethyst and citrine included) is 7. The minimum hardness I specified in my definition is 7.5. If you're referring to purple corundum, as stated before, it should be included as "precious" because you did not specifically exclude any colors of sapphire from your request.

To properly include or exclude any specific item in a defined category, one must define qualifiers that would determine its inclusion or exclusion. Identifying a "list" of qualifying traits simply can't be avoided.
Per your own ground rules: "What is required and acceptable is a true definition one that provides a basis, a series of criteria by which a stone is either included or excluded from the select company of precious gems." That is all my "list" is*a series of criteria by which a stone
is either included or excluded. I didn't state that precious gems can only include blue and red corundum, green beryl, etc. That would be akin to your "a rose is a rose" example. I stated that the mineral can't include certain elements (namely magnesium and manganese). I am defining
traits to include or exclude the minerals without specifically naming which minerals we are looking to include as "precious."

As far as whether or not my definition is truly a definition of preciousness as it relates to gems or just an amusing exercise, if "preciousness as it relates to gems" is not based on pre-existing definitions, but is comprised solely of the requirements you requested, then yes, this is definition is truly a definition of "precious." You requested a
definition for precious that includes only diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires and excludes all other gemstones. I gave you that definition. If we are basing the term "precious" on its current definition, then no, nobody can define that for everyone. That being the case, if we go by the existing definition ("of high value or worth"), can't anything we personally place value on be considered "precious?" I was simply trying to meet your criteria for creating a NEW definition (completely
exclusive of the pre-existing list/definition of "precious gemstones" that many of us know).

So, in conclusion, I don't see where my definition fails in what you asked for (which appears to only have been a facade to "illustrate a point"). I hope that wasn't the case because I haven't read your book, but was certainly hoping to. I have truly enjoyed the challenge of trying to come up with a definition that met your criteria. And, if nothing else, I've learned a lot just researching and responding to this thread.

aligirl712 said...

Based on Jewelry glossary.com

There is a consensus that diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires are the "precious" gemstones. Everything else is piled into the semi-precious gemstones category. Many equal in beauty to the four "precious" gemstones. For whatever reason, the four "precious" gemstones are considered more valuable. They are also valued for their beauty rarity and durability. When the study of gemology began, the gemstones Diamond Ruby Emerald and Sapphire were considered to be the four(most)precious gemstones, based on the studies of the day. They had to be the most beautiful, durable and rare.

Beauty: A combination of qualities that delight the senses or appeal to the mind. In defining beauty the precious gemstone should have visual appeal. Color, Symmetry, luster and transparency.

Rarity: Based on a sliding scale, A few are so rare that they are considered a collectors items. Most gemstones are in the middle of the rarity scale.

Durability: The gemstone should have hardness, toughness and stability.

aligirl712 said...

Mr. Wise,
I have a question about the definition of "precious" stones. It seems that when gemstones were coveted before gemology studies became modernized. All red gemstones were considered ruby. All blue gemstones were considered Sapphire. All green gemstones were considered emerald and all gemstones that were transparent were considered diamond. Is the definition of the four precious gemstones just lack of knowledge of chemical composition and why the gemstone became that color? I do not know where the other colored gemstones would fall in the early days of civilization.

I gave a definition of precious gemstones earlier but I wanted to know your take on this?

Richard W. Wise said...

J. Wilcox,

"The list of precious gems usually includes: diamond, ruby, blue sapphire and emerald. Right? Well if so what criteria make these gems and only these gems precious?"

quote from the blog post above!!! You will note "blue sapphire" which, as we all know, is the only sapphire included in the usual list.

From a legalistic point of view your argument has a bit of merit. You did come up with a definition which comes close to meeting the letter of my challenge but unfortunately doesn't really define preciousness in any meaningful way.

I do admire the effort, however.

Richard W. Wise said...

Aligirl,

You make an interesting point. It is true that at certain times and places, color was a defining crterion. The Biblical sapphire was actually Lapis Lazuli. The Egyptians may have confused serpentine with emerald. In some of the old Hindu texts we see rock crystal was believed to be a type of diamond.

The ancients did, however, recognize other types of stones and did not reduce all stones to just four basic categories. The Hebrew High Priest's breastplate contained 12 different gems, I believe. If you read Pliny you will see that the Romans recognized quite a number of gems. Al Tiefachi, an Arab physician writing in the 12th century mentions thirty different gems and understood the differnce between ruby and red spinel.

RW

Roberta Wingo said...

Is this what you are looking for?
I had to look up the word "cardinal" to make sense of it. I was't sure if it was refering to the Catholic Church.
I believe that it is meaning-- main or prevailing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemstone
Traditionally, common gemstones were classified into precious stones (cardinal gems) and semi-precious stones. The former category was largely determined by a history of ecclesiastical, devotional or ceremonial use and rarity. Only five types of gemstones were considered precious: diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald, and amethyst. In current usage by gemologists, all gems are considered precious, although four of the five original "cardinal gems" (excluding the now-common amethyst) are usually — but not always — the most valuable.

Richard W. Wise said...

Roberta,

Interesting, wonder where Wiki got that definition? I never heard it before and it is historically inaccurate.

There are almost as many lists of Precious Gems as their are writers who have mentioned a list, from Marbodius on. All include the big four but I have not heard the term "cardinal gem" before.

Roberta Wingo said...

I am not a gemologist, just a person interested in gems. I purchased your book recently and have found it extremely helpful.

This contest however has really opened up a can of worms for me. You mentioned that you had not heard the term "cardinal gems" before, so I tried to do more research on it.

Not one to easily give up I have spent a couple of days searching the internet and some of my books trying to find where or how the term originated and have found that there is no clear answer.

Regarding the previous message where the stones were called precious because of being taxed higher, I can find nothing on that either.

If you have an answer for where the term "cardinal gems" originated or why it was used please let me know.

Richard W. Wise said...

Roberta,
If you read the post carefully you will see that the contest is out to make a point. Traditionally ruby, blue sapphire, emerald and diamond and only those were considered precious.

We have a distinction. Some stones are precious and some semiprecious. If that is so then what are the attributes that make those stones stone precious? Obviously there must be some if the term precious is to have any meaning.

My point is that any of the usual attributes; rarity value, beauty, durability can be applied to a number of the so called semiprecious stones as well. Thus, I saw that the distinction makes no sense, it is a distinction without a difference.

J. Wilcox said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J. Wilcox said...

Is it unreasonable to conclude that modern jewelers/gemologists refer to diamonds, rubies, blue sapphires, and emeralds as "precious" because that's where they've typically made most of their profits (until the recent discovery of tanzanite, et al., that is)? (And if it's not unreasonable to reach that conclusion, is it unreasonable to believe that perhaps the same was true in ancient times?) Those four gemstones seem to be the four that (over the course of time) were most known to the general public and most demanded by the elite. High demand (plus enough material available to fill the orders) results in high profits. Therefore, I have to believe that the term "precious" is (and was) based on popular demand and the resulting profitability.

The problem here is that a reason or definition) can probably be found as to why these four and only these four were considered "precious" in the past. However, due to recent (within the last 50 years) discoveries of new minerals, the term can really no longer be so exclusive.

jasusang said...

Mr. Wise,

Hello, I am a gemstone fanatic, thanks to my mother, who started this strange obsession I have with gemstones! I just enjoy researching and learning about gems and all their glory.
Precious gemstones (diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire, and amethyst) were highly esteemed by the rich and famous, or wealthy, in the dark ages. These gems were often used in ceremonial occasions and I also read as others mentioned semi-precious stones were also termed "cardinal" gemstones. Amethyst has basically been kicked out of the "precious gemstone" category and diamonds were not as valued then as emerald, rubies, and sapphires, and amethyst. What baffles me is that "precious" gemstones receive all types of treatments to increase their color and clarity (oiling, heat treatment, fluxing, etc...) and are quite expensive fellows.
Even though the majority of gemstones receive treatment today, there are some "semi-precious" gemstones that do not receive treatment of any sort and are far more beautiful. For example, my favorite gemstone is the garnet. Every garnet gemstone that Momma Nature creates is quite unique. The garnet family of gems do not usually receive treatment of any sort. (I have read that some Russian demantoid is heat treated today to improve its color.) A beautiful Tsavorite garnet, a so-called under rated semi-precious gem, is more rare, more brilliant, than any emerald could ever be. A Tsavorite can make an emerald wish it were a Tsavorite:) Where an emerald needs a "make over" just to look good!! The Tsavorite is a pricey gem because of its rarity, but an emerald will cost a heck of alot more than a tsavorite of the same carat size, clarity, and cut. I have read that garnet was uses in doublets and/or triplets with ruby and even emerald in antique jewelry. Odd that garnet was used with emerald, but that the red could not be seen from the garnet when used in a doublet with an emerald. ?
The term "precious" should be removed from the world of gemology and a gemologist's vocabulary. All gemstones that Momma Nature creates is indeed unique and should all be termed "Precious!!!" Inclusions make some gemstones more valuable, such as the byssolite inclusions, or horsetails, in the Russian demantoid garnet which has the dispersion of a diamond without treatment and is much, much, more rare!

Roberta Wingo said...

Please forgive me if this is a duplicate.

This is about as close as I think anyone can get. It doesn't include diamonds but it is refering to coloured gems.

http://www.gemscape.com/html/ftcguide.htm

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
EFFECTIVE DATE: May 30, 1996.

F. Precious and Semi-precious Stones (Category V): Secs. 23.18-23.21
Guides in this part apply primarily to colored gemstones, precious (rubies, sapphires, emeralds) and semi-precious (amethyst, topaz, etc.) stones.

Roberta Wingo said...

Finially, I get it. I am submitting the following definition based on the points you are trying to make, the rules of the contest and the several pages of notes I have compiled.

The term “Precious Gemstone” is a 20th century classification of the gemstones: diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald. Historically, these are the gemstone that were most valued by Royalty, the clergy and the wealthy. They were also referred to as “Cardinal Gems”, meaning the main or prevailing. (ex. cardinal points of compass, cardinal rule or cardinal virtue.) At varying times in history the list of stones would vary somewhat and but they were always considered valuable due to their rarity and beauty.
Currently the term is discouraged, as it implies that the other gemstones are less valuable which is not always correct.

Anonymous said...

HI AGAIN, BEEN THINKING AND READING AND I THINK THE MEANING PRECIOUS AND SEMI IS STUPID, I THINK GEMSTONES HAVE A MAGICAL MESTIQUE AND EACH ARE PRECIOUS TO EACH PERSON.I BELIEVE THAT A PRECIOUS STONE WOULD HAVE TO BE ONE THAT WAS RARE,BUT WOULD ALSO HAVE TO HAVE THAT SPARKLE,THAT A GEMSTONE TALKS WITH.I THINK COLOR HAS INFLUINCES IN A TYPE OF GEMSTONE SO I BELIEVE IT WOULD HAVE TO BE WANTED, BUT THEN IF ITS RARE IT WOULD DRIVE THE PRICE UP TO BRING IT TO A PRECIOUS LEVEL .I THINK IT WOULD BE HARD TO PUT JUST A NUMBER TOO HOW MANY GEMSTONES ARE PRECIOUS BECAUSE THEN EVEN IF IT WAS RARE , IT MAY NOT HAVE THAT SPARKLE .I THINK EACH GEMSTONE HAS A LINE THAT DIVIDES ITSELF FROM WITHIN THE OTHERS IN ITS OWN GROUP. DRAGONSTEK

nickynewark said...

Diamonds are so precious, DeBeers dumps them in the sea by the drum to create apparent rarity. A 2ct. eye clean white diamond can be found anywhere. Good luck finding a 2ct.eye clean red beryl(a true precious gem). Nick

aligirl712 said...

Mr. Wise,

I hope you will post the answer that your were looking for in your quest to find the answer of what a true precious gemstone is?

This has been a wounderful adventure for me. I have learned so much in the research. I have also read the other comments and they have made me think as well.

thank you for your wisdom.
ali

Virgilio Elcullada Luib Jr. said...

The book Hope Diamond was listed as $12 or something at National Bookstore. I think I might be addicted to buying almost all the gemology related books sold at our local bookstore bcoz this has has never happened before. Though most of them are sold only at the main branch of the capital city. So far I only got Renee Newman Diamond Ring Buying Guide.

Now back to the point. I think that the name precious stone refers to the traditional most popular gems used in jewellery. Since diamonds, rubies, blue sapphires and pearls are the most popular gems they always have a market appreciation for all seasons. I think that is the main reason why they tend to cost more than any other gems because of their demand.

The finest white diamonds; Golconda diamonds, red diamonds, Burma rubies, Kashmir sapphires, Colombian emerald and natural pearls still have the record breaking prices per carat than any other gems. Though slowly bixbite, paraiba tourmaline and Russian alexandrite among others are getting closer to that precious super star of gems status.

The world of precious gems are everchanging and that makes it exciting all the time and updating ourselves on what's the latest news will help keep the boat floating.