What stones are semi precious?

I've always had a love for gemstones, but what stones are semi precious and what stones are precious?

The difference between semi precious and precious gemstones is based on the stones rarity, the main four precious stones are well known as Diamond, Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby, with everything else falling into the semi precious stones status.

Gemtone Quality

But not all semi precious stones are equal, this broad description can be further defined into bands of rarity, clarity and colour.  Most gemstones have inclusions, even precious stones have these, and the fewer inclusions the higher the clarity of the stone and also its rarity which in turn increases its value.

Some of the rarer semi precious stones are Tanzanite which can come in a range of shades of violet blue, Aquamarine which varies greatly in clarity with some being cloudy to the most sort after being very clear and free of inclusion, Tsavorite Garnet which is beautiful dark green, and my favourite Tourmaline which has a watermelon colour banding and if you're lucky to find a super rare blue Tourmaline you'll expect to pay a premium.

More common semi precious stones are Peridot, Amethyst, Citrine, Topaz, Garnet, Labradorite, Lapis and Moonstone to name but a few, these gemstones are most commonly found in fashion jewellery brands and set in silver.

Gemstone Families

Even with in these more common gemstones the family it originates from expands into a range of shades offering some exceptionally beautiful colours.  

Take the beryl family, the most famous stones are Emerald and Aquamarine, but lesser known but just as beautiful stones are Morganite which is a pale lilac pink.

Garnet is commonly known as a red semi precious stone but it also occurs in various colours and each has its own name, for example, pyrope (red), spessartine (orange), hessonite (brownish red to yellow), rhodolite (pink red), tsavorite (green), demantoid (green), colour-change (green/red).

Topaz also has a large collection of gemstone colours included in its family with beautiful blues to whisky browns and totally clear.   The most sought after and valuable of all natural topaz is referred to as 'Imperial topaz', which is orange/peach/golden yellow in colour. 

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