What are the major differences between a precious and semi precious gemstone?

semi precious gemstones for sale


Since prehistoric times, both women and men have worn stones. Beautiful stones, rare and vivid, are typically the primary element of a piece with a metallic setting for decoration, much like modern jewellery. Among unorthodox millennial women, there is a rising demand for elegant alternative gemstone engagement rings and jewellery. They're semiprecious gemstones that come in a rainbow of colours.

The traditional and valuable rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds, on the other hand, continue to dominate the hearts. So, what is the distinction between precious and semiprecious stones? Even though the words precious and semiprecious denote a difference in value, the distinction is arbitrary. Semiprecious stones can sometimes be more expensive and valuable than precious stones.

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What are precious gemstones?

In the mid-nineteenth century, the phrase "precious gemstones" was used to describe costly, rare, attractive, and popular gemstones. Rare stones such as emeralds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls, opals, and amethysts were considered precious stones. However, only emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are now considered valuable stones.

This distinction was given to these stones because of their rarity and high quality in the past. In their purest state, all valuable gemstones are transparent with subtle colour and extremely hard.

What are semiprecious gemstones?

Semiprecious gemstones include all gemstones other than rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds. Garnets, opals, turquoise, quartz, tourmaline, amber, aquamarine, moonstone, onyx, peridot, agate, and malachite are the most valuable gemstones. Even though the name semiprecious implies that they are less valuable than precious stones, this is not the case. Tsavorite (green garnet), for example, maybe considerably more expensive than a mid-grade emerald.

Where do Iris Gems precious and semi-precious gemstones come from?

We source many precious and semi-precious gemstones all over the world. Gemstones are defined as "natural inorganic minerals" and are collected from very specific locations. 

Gemstone From Africa

Gemstones such as Rubies, Tanzanite, Alexandrite, Sapphires and Tourmaline are sourced from Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique. 

Madagascar used to be the largest supplier of sapphires along with morganite, garnet, aquamarine, tsavorite and demantoid.

Gemstones From Europe

Gemstones like garnet and alexandrite are majorly sourced from Russia, which is a vast mineral reserve. 

Gemstones From Australia

For gemstones like opals, Australia is the main source which comes in an array of colours from blue, black, to white. 

Gemstones From Asia

Srilanka and Myanmar are "Treasure boxes" for garnet, zircon, tourmaline, topaz, quartz and beryl.

Most of these precious and semi-precious gemstones are found in old riverbeds. 


Iris Gems 5 Best Selling Precious and semi-precious Gemstones

Both Precious and semi-precious gemstones are truly magical. Humans have been fascinated by these beautiful gemstones. 

Ruby- The king of precious stones, is the best selling gemstone of

Iris Gems. This gemstone beauty and rarity is astounding. Even it cost more per carat than diamond. If you also compare ruby with another gem, it is highly associated with the heart chakra and means unexpected guests, good luck and joy if one dreams of it. 


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Tanzanite: This gemstone has got popularity overnight. If you are a fan of this gemstone, you would love our gemstone collection. Tanzanites colour ranges from blue to purple/ violet. 


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Sapphire: These stones of the heavens is the top-selling gemstones. Sapphire is the second hardest precious and semi-precious gemstone. You can buy these stones from the colour gemstone wholesaler Toronto

 Buying gemstones from a wholesaler will cost you 50% cheap compared to jewellery sellers and small store owners. 


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Garnet is a very diverse stone and comes in 15 different varieties. Our customers love our store garnets as these are precisely formed the identical way diamonds are included. 


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Peridot: Known as the stone of compassion, this gemstone brings good health and peace to relationships by balancing emotions and the mind.

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Differences between precious and semiprecious gemstones

Precious and semiprecious stones are the two types of stones commonly utilised in the creation of exquisite jewellery.

  1. The most significant distinction between semiprecious and precious stones is their price. The semiprecious stones are usually priced under $50 per carat, as the name implies. Anything valued at more than $50 per carat is considered precious. This is the usual norm; nevertheless, we now know that some semiprecious stones (such as paraiba tourmaline) may command values much beyond those of precious stones.
  1. The real reason for the distinction between semiprecious and precious gemstones is to simplify taxation. Especially during the importation process, customs taxes. The United States developed the division of gemstones so that semiprecious and precious gemstones may be taxed differently. Precious stones are more expensive. Therefore they might be taxed more heavily, especially when they are consumed more frequently.
  1. Semiprecious stones are typically set with silver, 925 silver, or low-end brass jewellery. They are so inexpensive. Most precious stones are set in gold jewellery because they are costly, and adding merely 2 grammes of gold to a ring or piece of jewellery raises the price much over $100. They wouldn't utilise the $1/carat sky blue topaz in their jewellery, of course. However, because some fine gold designers have started utilising lesser semiprecious stones and marketing them very successfully, there are many cross-overs these days.
  1. Precious gemstones come in a limited number of colours and can retain their hue and shine over time. On the other hand, different tpes of semi- precious gemstones come in a wide range of hues but tend to get dull with regular wear and tear. 
  1. Precious gems are very tough and are ranked high on the Mohs scale of hardness. Diamonds are ranked 10, rubies and sapphires are ranked nine, and emeralds score between 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Semiprecious gems have a lower rating of 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. They are prone to scratching and chipping. 
  1. Precious gems are rarer because of their rarity. Diamonds enjoy the status of being precious because of their lustre and popularity. Semiprecious gems, on the other hand, are abundant in nature and are therefore designated as semiprecious.
  1. In terms of clarity, eye-clean precious gems are scarce. High-quality sapphires and emeralds have slight inclusions. Eye-clean semiprecious stones of high quality are commonly available.

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Explore Iris Gems precious and semi-precious stones?

A beautiful gemstone is a symbol of love. Iris Gems exports gems directly from world-famous mines and exotic destinations.

This makes us the best place to buy precious and semi-precious stones online in the UK, US, India, and worldwide.

precious and semi-precious gemstones


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What makes precious gemstones more valuable than semi-precious gemstones?

People often get confused in defining precious and semi-precious gemstones. Apart from ruby, sapphire, emerald and tanzanite rest of the other gemstones are semi-precious gemstones. 

And people often mistake in naming top-quality natural tsavorite garnet as a semi-precious gemstone. 

Let's quickly understand precious and semi-precious gemstones differences a bit more clearly- 

Old Theory- For ages, diamonds, ruby, sapphire and emeralds have been hailed as precious gemstones. All of these gemstones were discovered in ancient times and are only being sourced in certain parts of the world. 

Precious gemstones require more manpower and time in retrieving one gemstone, and common people could possibly lay hands on them.

Above all, These gemstones are considered precious gemstones for their exclusivity.

Rarity and Demand - Precious gemstones are rarer than semi-precious gemstones. And today, when it comes to gemstones, the two important factors which distinguish a precious gemstone from a semi-precious gem are rarity and demand. 

In the 1800s, due to its rarity, Amethyst was considered as valuable as rubies. But nowadays, the abundance of Amethyst in large sizes put this gem in the "semi-precious" category.

You can often found Amethyst on commercial jewellery for everyday wear. 

Quality Over Type

We generally name a high priced gemstone a precious. However, a wise buyer should always bear in mind that- price never defines gemstones; precious gemstones, even the quality, plays a very crucial role over its species. 

Let's take an example of "Mediocre ruby- which is not always cost as much as a very fine red spinel and tsavorite garnet. 

Things to look at before buying gems from semi-precious gems traders.

Like precious gemstones, semi-precious gems are also highly attractive and beautiful. These are available in plenty of colours, cut and shapes and that's why they are used in making rings, pendants and jewellery.

If you have never purchased semi-precious gems before, it is crucial for you to have an idea of buying. Let's quickly explore what are things to consider before making a purchase from semi-precious gems traders.

Know about the Gems- Gems that come in many colours of the rainbow are generally categorized under semi-precious stones. With some clever hacks, semi-precious can be easily distinguished.

Evaluation of the Gem- Factors that are pretty handy to identify the gemstones evaluations are cut, colour, clarity and size of the gemstone.

Characteristics of gems vary and they can be analyzed in the same as precious gems. some of the factors to consider while evaluating a gemstone.

Cut- It is one of the most important factors in determining the value of a stone. For eg., a stone which has well cut with proportional facets produce superior brilliancy, light reflection and colour.

Colour- Bright colour is considered as the stone of highest quality.

Clarity- It usually determines the flawlessness of the gemstone. Even the absence of any mark, blemish or marks of the stones comes under clarity.

Carat- Carat is basically the weight of a gemstone. Generally, one cart is equal to 200 grams. However, the value of the stone is not always determined on the basis of the cart only.

Kind of Treatment- untreated stones are said to be more valuable stones compared to treated stones. Stones are treated to enhance their colour and effect. And treatment methods affect the value of the stone to a great extent.

Iris Gems- the best place to buy semiprecious gemstones for sale

Custom-made gems can also be ordered from the greatest lapidarist's all over the world. They provide the world's top lapidarists' finest and most genuinely produced gemstones. Iris Gems is a prominent gemstone retailer in the United States, offering the largest range of unusual precious and semiprecious stones, pairs and suites.

Over the years, they've amassed an unrivalled collection of rare, unusual, untreated, and Gubelin certified gemstones or GRS Certified Gemstone (SSEF, AGL,GIA), establishing themselves as one of the country's leading gem traders. Iris can easily handle large bespoke orders. They do out-of-the-box things to delight their clients, delivering gemstones on schedule and in great condition for their jewellery.

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How to care for precious and semi-precious gemstones? 

 As compared to precious gemstones, semi-precious gemstones are more durable and thus easy to clear and wear.

However, both precious and semi-precious gemstones require time to time care to maintain their beauty and lustre. 

You can clean semi-precious stones with soap and lukewarm water. To start with, dip your stone into the water for a couple of seconds and with the help of a jewellery cleaning brush, gently brush to remove any build-up around the stone. 

For Precious Gemstones cleaning- Don't clean with water or submerge in water as this can lead to discolouration and could damage the gemstones.

Using cleaners and perfumes could result in flaws that remove the gemstone lustre. 

Even soaking in warm water could damage these gemstones and leave the stones dull.

To avoid such situations, clean the precious gemstones by using a soft dry towel/ cloth and carefully remove the accumulated dirt. 


Experts have undoubtedly categorised gems for ages. Several factors are considered, including hardness, colour, size, purity, and rarity. However, each person's perception of a stone's beauty is very personal and unique. The choice of stone should be based on one's sensitivity to the energy it emits.

We wouldn't get too worked up over whether a gemstone is precious or semiprecious when acquiring one. All gemstones are valuable in the sense that if they give you significance and value in a piece of jewellery, they are unique!

Explore here more how you can use broken semi-precious gemstones for jewellery making. 



What factors distinguish a precious and semi-precious gemstone?

Gemstones such as Rubies, Emeralds, Sapphires, and diamonds are known for their traditional exclusivity and expensiveness. These two factors are enough to distinguish a precious gemstone from a semi-precious gemstone.

Precious and semi-precious gemstones Canada (US)- Shop for the best precious and semi-precious gemstones online at Iris Gems. 

Wide variety of semi-precious stones at Great Prices. SHOP Now @www.irisgems.com