Found and appreciated around the world, colorful and sparkling cut gemstones share a universal appeal. The inherent allure of gemstone jewelry, with its myriad color and style combinations, is its ability to create, capture or reflect personal style. While most buyers likely choose gemstones for their beauty and to represent their feelings toward another, others choose gemstones for what they consider to be their therapeutic benefits, symbolism, or representation of wealth or position.
Featuring gemstones in jewelry dates back thousands and thousands of years. Gemstones and gemstone jewelry have a long and interesting history. The story of the "Breastplate of Aaron" chronicles gemstone use for tribal and spiritual purposes. Examples of gemstone use in ancient Christian, Egyptian, Roman, Greek and other civilizations is widespread – recognizing gemstones for their mystical properties or their representation of wealth, cultural beliefs or religious affiliations.
In modern times, the practice of assigning meaning to stones associated to astrology, more specifically as birthstone jewelry, was first seen in 15th century Poland. In the early 1900s the connection of specific stones to birth months was formalized in the United States. Though criticized by gemstone purists as a commercially motivated effort, people worldwide embrace the concept of birthstones and appreciate the ability to place deeper meaning in the gemstone jewelry they wear.
As you search for the right gemstone jewelry, the folklore, myths, characteristics, or properties associated with each gem may offer you or its wearer greater interest, meaning and enjoyment.
The distinction between precious and semi-precious gemstones probably most reflects the perceived availability of the respective stones in historic times. Stemming from the ancient Greeks, the traditional differentiation of precious and semi-precious gemstones was rarity: diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald were considered precious, while all other gemstones were considered semi-precious. In modern times, the terms in a commercial context are less likely, due to the significant range of quality, availability, size and cost of all gemstones in today's marketplace.
Resembling the beauty of more costly genuine gemstones, lab-created synthetic and simulated stones have been popular in jewelry for many hears. It is important to know, though, that the value of these imitations varies greatly, and their everlasting beauty depends on the kind of gem they are.
Lab-created synthetic gemstones are typically similar in composition to their naturally occurring mineral counterparts, but they are grown in a controlled laboratory environment to yield a similar result.
Simulated gemstones are look-alike substitutes for genuine gemstones. Because simulated stones are imitation and not made from the same minerals, they cost less and usually have no flaws, but they may not behave in the same way as their natural counterparts with respect to brilliance, sparkle, hardness or longevity.
Zales chooses high-quality laboratory-created gemstones for their affordability, beauty, excellent appearance and value. All synthetic and simulated stones will be clearly indicated in Zales product descriptions.
While most may consider gemstone jewelry as attractive adornment, others believe gemstones possess special meaning and healing effects. Used in a form of therapy, gemstone energy medicine uses the unique properties inherent in each type of gemstone to help focus the body's own healing powers. Authorities on the subject state that to obtain the greatest benefit a gemstone must be of high quality and the proper shape, and that gemstone necklaces place the stone in a location that will benefit the entire body.
Some gemstones commonly integrated into jewelry that claim healing properties are:
Gemstones are available in a wide range of varieties and are incorporated into many forms of jewelry including gemstone earrings, necklaces and rings.
Identifying the quality level of the stones used within gemstone jewelry ensures that the gemstone rings, necklaces or other pieces you purchase retain their value. Colored gemstone valuation may be more subjective and can be more complicated than valuing diamonds. However, as with diamonds, starting with the Four Cs can be helpful:
When searching for the perfect piece of gemstone jewelry, buyers often place too much concentration on the item itself without considering how the jewelry will be worn. Properly pairing jewelry with attire, or for a particular use or occasion is critical in ensuring the jewelry will be worn and enjoyed. For example, if you're buying a gift and you choose an ornate gemstone necklace but the intended wearer is most often in a formal business environment, a more subtle bracelet or ring may be a better choice if you want her to wear and enjoy her jewelry often. Also consider the hardness of the gemstone, the style of setting and how the gemstones are set, how often the jewelry piece will be worn, and what the wearer really likes. The most beautiful gemstone jewelry may never be worn if your loved one does not like the look or color of her birthstone, for example.
While there is a great deal of information available about gemstone jewelry in books and online, ask questions of your jeweler. Regardless of the amount of information gathered during the purchase process, there always seems to be one more fact that can impact your final decision. Asking questions will help you find the perfect piece of gemstone jewelry, sure to be appreciated for years to come.