How to identify gemstones





TexasAntiqueMall.com
Gemstones





The beauty of gemstones have captivated man for many thousands of years. They have been collected, traded, hoarded, and worn as jewelry. The taking of raw mineral material from the earth and then cutting and polishing it to produce beautiful gemstones is truly an art.

RubyWhile it might seem that all gemstones sould be classified as rare and precious, you will probably find them most often referred to as precious and semi-precious. What's the difference? Nothing really. However, it would seem that the top four (4) gemstones - diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire - are most often considered 'precious' with the remaining 120+ gemstones falling into the category of 'semi-precious'. And, while any one of the top four gemstones could sell for less than a semi-precious if it were considered 'inferior'; there are some highly valued 'semi-precious' gemstones, i.e, Pariaba Tourmaline and Alexandrite to name two (2) that could easily sell for many times more than a 'clean' precious gemstone.

Different gemstones have different hardness factors. This property is based on the Mohs scale measuring from 1 - 10. With a diamond being 10 (the hardest) and 1 being the softest. Soft gemstones - those ranging from 1-5 on the Mohs scale are best suited for earrings, pendants or rings that are ocassionally worn. Medium to hard gemstones - those ranging from 6 - 9 on the Mohs scale are suited to almost any type of jewelry. Hard gemstones - those receiving a 10 on the Mohs scale - are well suited for everyday wear in all types of jewelry. These 'hard' gemstones include Diamonds, Sapphires and Ruby.

ZirconAnother consideration when purchasing a gemstone is its tendency to fracture due to temperature change. This change in temperature can be from exposure to hot water, going from inside to outside or vice versa where there is a significant temperature difference, exposure to intense light (tanning bed) or simply going from one room to another . . . depending on the sensitivity of the gemstone. Some of the gemstones that fall into this category are Apatitie, bi- and tri-color Tourmaline and Opals.

The chart below will give you an overview of some gemstones along with their hardness and toughness. A gemstone may be hard but not tough, i.e, how easily a gemstone cracks or chips.

The chart below will give you an overview for some of the more common gemstones with regards to hardness and their tendency to fracture (TF). We have used a scale of 1-3 for indicating a gemstones tendency to fracture with 1 representing a gemstone that is 'very likely to fracture'; 2 representing a gemstone that is 'possibly likely to fracture'; and 3 representing a gemstone that is 'not likely to fracture'.

Picture
Gemstone
Hardness
TF
Agate
Agate Soft 2
Alexandrite
Alexandrite
(Color change gemstone)
Medium - Hard 2
Amber
Amber Very Soft 1-2
Amethyst Soft 2
Ametrine
Ametrine Medium - Hard 2
Apatite
Apatite Very Soft 1
Aquamarine Medium - Hard 2
Bloodstone
BloodstoneMedium - Hard1-2
Citrine
Citrine Soft 2
Coral
Coral
(Various colors available)
Very Soft 1
Chrome Diopside
Chrome Diopside Very Soft 1
Chrysoberyl
Chrysoberyl Medium - Hard 2
Diamond
Diamond Medium - Hard 3
Emerald
Emerald Medium - Hard 1-2 *
Fire Opal
Fire Opal Very Soft 1
Jade
Jade (Nephrite) Very Soft 3
Jadeite
Jadeite Soft 3
Jaspser
Jasper Medium - Hard 1-2
Kunzite
Kunzite Medium - Hard 1-2
Garnet
Garnet

(Various colors available)
Soft 2
Iolite
Iolite Soft 2
Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli Very Soft 2
Morganite
Morganite Medium - Hard 1-2
Moonstone
Moonstone Very Soft 1-2
Onyx - Black
Onyx Medium - Hard 2-3
Opal
Opal Very Soft 1
Pearl
Pearl (Cultured) Very Soft 2
Peridot
Peridot Soft 1
Quarts - Smoky
Quartz
(Various colors available)
Soft 2
Ruby
Ruby Medium - Hard 3
Sapphire
Sapphire Medium - Hard 3
Spinel
Spinel
(Various colors available)
Medium - Hard 2
Tanzinite
Tanzanite Soft 1
Topaz
Topaz Medium - Hard 2
Tourmaline
Tourmaline
(Various colors available)
Soft 2
Turquoise
Turquois Very Soft 2
Zircon
Zircon
(Various colors available)
Very Soft 1
*Tendency to fracture is based on quality of stone and number of natural inclusions.






Homoe Survival Handbook




** User understands and accepts all policies associated with use of this page and any procedures. View policies.


Return to Compendium Index   Return to Texas Antique Mall Home