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The term "gemstone" refers to almost any stone used in jewelry, even when they are not minerals, such as amber, which is fossilized tree resin. Gemstones are also often referred to as precious or semi-precious. That categorization stems from the Ancient Greeks, who called diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires "precious," and all other gemstones semi-precious.
The Four C's – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight – are very important for gemstones, especially diamonds. The higher a stone scores on the Four C's, the more valuable it is. Clarity, however, does not play a role with non-translucent gemstones for which the texture is what signifies higher quality. Lapis lazuli, for example, is more appreciated when it has golden specs in it, and malachite and tiger-eye when they have very distinct banding.
Not all gemstones are suitable for use in rings. The hardness of gemstones is measured on the Mohs scale, with the diamond as the hardest gemstone at 10, and talc at the other end of the scale at 1. The higher the rating, the better the gemstone can withstand impacts, which helps determine if it is suitable for a ring.
Some gemstones are treated to enhance their features. This is not necessarily a problem, as long as the buyer is aware of it
Tanzanite and alexandrite are among the rarest gemstones in the world
Birthstones are types of gemstones that are connected to birth months. They are believed to originate from the shield of Aaron, which was set with twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel