Gems, Jewelry and Gemstone Buying Guides

Amethyst RingGems are a wonderful way to celebrate a special occasion!

Most people think of diamonds when considering a gemstone gift, but diamonds aren't the only gems available when you're looking for that perfect piece of jewelry.

When and where were the first pieces of jewelry created?

Jewelry has been around since the beginning of time and was valued even before the first written language or spoken words. The first jewelry was made of natural items such as animal bones and shells. These were carved and used for functionality such as holding pieces of cloth together.

As mankind progressed, jewelry made from gems and precious metals began to be seen as a symbol of wealth and status as well as something to ward off evil spirits and demons. The first real proof we have of jewelry making is in ancient Egypt for the first Pharaohs.

What is considered a Precious Gem?

The term "precious gem" is usually used to describe the scarcity or monetary value of a gem. What is considered a precious gem, or cardinal gem as they are also called, differs depending on the part of the country you live in. In China, for instance, Jade is the most prized gem, but in Egypt, it is turquoise.

There are four very distinct categories that gems fall into:

  • Precious or Cardinal - Examples are: Diamond, Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire
  • Semi-Precious - Examples are: Onyx, Tigers Eye, Turquoise, and Jade
  • Imitations - Examples are:  Glass, synthetics, assembled stones
  • Organic and Zoogenic - Examples are: Amber, Ivory, Pearls, Mother of Pearl

Before you actually buy a gem, you should contact a reputable online or retail dealer, weigh your choices, and do lots of research.  All things considered, if you choose a gem you love, you can enjoy looking at it every day- long after the memories of the research and price have faded.