What is a gemstone? A gemstone is a rock or mineral or matter of another kind such as a natural resin which once cut and polished can be held and admired by collectors or used to make jewellery.
Since cave man days minerals and rocks have been worn to adorn the wearer or for religious and spiritual protection and also as a statement of authority. Even today kings and queens almost always have the best jewels and jewellery.
There nearly four thousand known minerals but only between twenty and fifty of these are commonly made into gemstones. To be made into gemstones a mineral, rock or other matter must meet certain criteria.
Appearance is the most important factor. Possessing beauty because of its colour such as opals or for its perfection such as a white sparkling diamond, or for its inherent interesting qualities such as amber are attributes which a matter must have before it will be collected as a gemstone.
It will have to be durable enough to be worn. There are many of minerals which are too soft to be worn even though they are very beautiful.
Then it will need to be big enough to be cut and polished and made into some form of jewellery. For instance, we know that we can cut extremely small diamonds and they are still attractive but if we cut opal into tiny pieces like the smallest diamonds then it would be worthless as it wouldn’t be able to show its magnificent colours.
Next, gemstone material needs to be plentiful enough to mine or harvest. If there are only very small deposits then it would not warrant millions spent on exploration and mining operations as the returns would be too small.
Almost a contradiction of that is the fact that the gemstone has to be rare. If it was found everywhere like sand then it would just become part of the landscape and have no realistic monetary value.
Gemstones can be natural like a mineral, organic like coral, amber, ivory and pearl and they can be synthetic such as glass, moissanite and cubic zirconia. They must be beautiful, colorful, display some particular interesting quality, display perfection of form and be available enough to manufacture or mine and they must be rare at the same time.
Gary Hocking makes custom jewellery specializing in Australian opals. He has his own website http://www.jewelleryexpress.com.au Feel free to use this article as long as you keep the bio and the live link to his website.