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With hundreds of different gems to choose from, knowing exactly which gemstone you want can be a difficult choice.
Despite this, there are usually 10–20 popular gems that make up a list of gemstones.
And any top 10 list of gemstones has to feature the four famous precious stones—so let’s start there!
Traditionally, four gemstones are considered precious: diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald.
Diamond is probably the most well-known gemstone—a worthy gemstone for the top spot of a list of gemstones!
Sought after for thousands of years, diamond is often a glittering, colorless solitaire adorning a beautiful engagement ring.
Diamond is also the hardest naturally occurring gem—a ten on the Mohs Scale.
In fact, diamonds are so popular that there are now multiple affordable and fashionable alternatives. If affordable and stylish jewelry is up your alley, check out our catalog of beautiful rings here.
Ruby is the famous red gem that is the birthstone for July.
Ruby is made of the mineral corundum, like sapphire, but gets its color from the chromium in its crystal structure.
Fine quality ruby can be one of the world’s most expensive gemstones, reaching up to $1 million US per carat!
Usually thought of as a blue gemstone, sapphire can come in many colors, including pink, green, yellow, white, and more.
The brilliant blue of this colored gemstone is caused by trace amounts of titanium and iron within the crystal structure.
Sapphire, like ruby, has a Mohs hardness of nine, making it almost as hard as diamond!
Blue sapphire is also the birthstone for September, and the precious stone is a longstanding favorite of the British royal family.
Source: axecop from Pexels
Emerald is the last traditional precious stone in this list of gemstones. This famous green gemstone is mined throughout the world.
Emerald is slightly softer than ruby and sapphire with a Mohs hardness of 7.5–8.
Emerald is a member of the beryl family (along with the well-known red beryl) and is the traditional birthstone for May.
There are hundreds of semi-precious gemstones to choose from. Here are our top picks!
Lapis lazuli has been coveted since ancient times. Meaning “sky stone,” lapis lazuli is well-known for its intense blue color.
Lapis lazuli was treasured in ancient Egypt and used widely by wealthy craftsmen. The famous Mask of Tutankhamun is inlaid with copious amounts of lapis lazuli.
Lapis Lazuli also has uses outside of its beautiful blue appearance. When ground into dust, it can be made into ultramarine—the world’s most expensive blue dye.
Source: Eugenio Cuppone from Pixabay
Precious opal is found all over the world and comes in many different colors.
Usually cut as a cabochon, most people think of opal as the creamy-white gemstone that produces rainbow-like flashes of color.
Famous kinds of opal include fire opal and the rarest and most valuable type—black opal.
Like many gemstones, opal is thought to have several different meanings in popular culture.
Quartz is a common but fascinating semi-precious stone.
Quartz is highly sought after because of the vast variation in color that this gemstone has.
The most popular variants of quartz are amethyst and citrine, which are popular in more affordable jewelry.
Beyond jewelry, quartz is often used to create beautiful gemstone carvings.
A pearl is an organic gemstone that grows inside mollusks, like the shell of a clam.
Natural pearls have been sought after for hundreds of years.
The perfect pearl is thought of as a glistening, perfectly round, smooth sphere. But a pearl can come in various shapes and sizes. A misshapen pearl is known as a baroque pearl.
Source: Schaferle from Pixabay
Tourmaline, a gemstone first discovered in the 1600s by Dutch traders, is the most colorful in this list of gemstones.
Tourmaline can have any color. This variously colored gemstone can even have multiple colors in one gem!
The most sought-after tourmaline colors are pink, green, blue, red, and multicolored variants.
At number ten on this list of gemstones, topaz is still an extremely popular and sought-after gem.
Topaz is fairly common, comes in beautiful colors, and has decent hardness—meaning it is ideal as a gemstone.
Topaz most commonly comes in the color blue and is thought to be a very meaningful stone.
With hundreds of gemstone varieties, every top 10 list of gemstones is going to be different depending on individual taste. In this article, we covered ten of the most popular gemstone varieties.
Any gem on this list would be perfect for a beautiful piece of jewelry. In fact, most of them have been sought after for thousands of years!
So was your favorite gem on this list?
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