Gemstone

Group of precious and semiprecious stones—both uncut and faceted—including (clockwise from top left) diamond, uncut synthetic sapphire, ruby, uncut emerald, and amethyst crystal cluster.

A gemstone (also called a gem, fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments.[1][2][3] However, certain rocks (such as lapis lazuli and opal) and occasionally organic materials that are not minerals (such as amber, jet, and pearl) are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone.

Apart from jewelry, from earliest antiquity engraved gems and hardstone carvings, such as cups, were major luxury art forms. A gem maker is called a lapidary or gemcutter; a diamond cutter is called a diamantaire.

  1. ^ "Gemstone". Lexico. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Webster Online Dictionary Archived 2007-06-03 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Alden, Nancy (2009). Simply Gemstones: Designs for Creating Beaded Gemstone Jewelry. New York, NY: Random House. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-307-45135-4.