What is the Difference Between Precious and Semi-Precious Stones?

precious and semi-precious stones

Do you have jewelry passed down to you or that you don’t want anymore that you are looking to sell? If you have jewelry with gems, it can be helpful to know more about the kinds of gems they are and what they might be worth. Since the 1800s, gemstones have been classified into two main categories: precious and semi-precious stones. Precious stones generally refer to diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. All other gemstones are considered semi-precious. The differences between the two categories can be subtle, and there is some controversy over whether or not this classification system is legitimate.

Why Are Some Stones Considered “Precious” and Not Others?

The most important thing to understand is that the basis for this classification is commercial, not scientific. Some people may argue that the value of precious stones is higher, or that they are rarer, but this is simply not true. There are several semi-precious stones that are harder to find than precious ones, or that cost more to buy, but that doesn’t bump them up to precious status. The fact is that for marketing reasons, the jewelry world arbitrarily assigned certain gems “precious” status so they could charge more for them.

Does It Matter If the Gems on my Jewelry are Precious or Semi-Precious?

Not really. There are many variables that go into the worth of a gemstone, including cut, quality, size, and clarity. Additionally, some semiprecious stones are actually rarer or worth more than precious stones. The designation of precious and semi-precious is arbitrary at this point, but the world is so used to this classification that it is nearly impossible to change.

Sell Your Jewelry With Confidence

There are many avenues for selling your jewelry, but many of them won’t give you that much in return. At the Old & New Shop, our antique and jewelry buyer will make sure you get the proper value for your jewelry. We give you top dollar based on fair market value. If you are not sure about selling, we give you a free quote with no obligations, so you can make an informed decision.