While gemstones are considered the most expensive on the market due to their rarity and hardness, semi-precious stones or fine stones represent the other stones of crystalline origin. These two categories differ not only in terms of price but also in terms of purity.
Determined by their extraordinary characteristics, gemstones hold their great value thanks to their great hardness, purity and rarity. This distinction has existed since Ancient Greece and was determined in particular by the brilliant colour and beauty of these stones.
While diamonds are the most expensive gemstone because of their quality and pure colours, three other gems of great rarity are also classified as precious stones, namely ruby, emerald and sapphire. Although the purity and rarity of gemstones make them a valuable product, it should be noted that some fine or semi-precious stones can be more expensive.
Usually of crystalline origin, fine stones are distinguished by their beauty and rarity, but also their hardness. However, these characteristics are less important than those of precious stones. The term semi-precious, prohibited in France because of its deceptive nature, has been replaced by fine and includes natural gems, fine and cultured pearls, but also crystals used in the world of jewellery.
The fine stones are numerous, but the best known are aquamarine, amethyst, citrine, carnelian, black diamond, garnet, onyx or smoky and pink quartz. This name in no way means that these stones are less beautiful than the gems, gems such as lolite, spinel, tanzanite or tourmaline can have the same beauty as the so-called precious stones.
In contrast to ruby or emerald, ornamental stones that can be used in art, decoration, jewellery or sculpture can also be used. Essentially decorative, they are mainly translucent or opaque, which allows for very aesthetic reflections when the stone is well lit. The best known gems in this category are agate, lapis lazuli, jasper, turquoise and chalcedony. It can also happen that stones that are still rough, i.e. unprocessed, are used as decorative ornaments such as watermelon tourmaline.