The World’s Four Main Precious Gemstones

Diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies are the most prized gemstones in the world. If you are looking to invest in an exceptional engagement ring or any piece of jewelry with a value-retaining gemstone, you can never go wrong with these stunners.

Here are the fascinating features and some fun facts about the four main gemstones.

  1. The Diamond: Shining, Shimmering, Splendid

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend for one too many good reasons. Possessing the highest and brightest shine among all transparent gemstones, diamonds are the hardest material known to humankind, and only another diamond can scratch its surface. “Diamond” comes from the ancient Greek word “adámas,” which means “unbreakable.”

No other gem reflects light the way diamonds can, especially when placed under directional spotlights. A diamond ring will shimmer and shine in captivating splendor with every motion of the hand.

Understanding the Four C’s

To determine this precious stone’s quality and value, diamontologists will grade it using the 4 C’s system: clarity, cut, color, and carat weight.

Best Metal Setting for Diamonds

All metals emphasize the sheer beauty of diamonds. From yellow, white, and rose gold to platinum, your options are boundless.

Fun Facts About Diamonds

    • Diamond is the birthstone of people born in the month of April.
    • Diamonds were first found in India, and then subsequently in Brazil.
    • Diamonds come in every color imaginable. Their usual color is colorless to pale yellow, but they also come in pink, green, blue, orange, red, brown, and black.
    • Diamonds are traditional gifts given during a couple’s 10th and 16th wedding anniversaries.
    • Diamonds are over a billion years old. Scientists estimate that the earth is around 4.5 billion years old, and that the oldest diamonds were crystallized approximately 3.5 billion years ago.
  1. The Sapphire: More Than Blue 

Pure sapphires are actually white. However, in the presence of iron and titanium traces, they obtain a striking blue shade. Aside from this classic color, there are rare “fancy sapphires” available in an array of mesmerizing colors, including pink, green, and even black. Red sapphires are the exception, as gemologists consider them to be rubies.

The British Royal Family’s Choice of Gemstone

Perhaps the most famous sapphire engagement ring in the world is the stunner previously adorning the ring finger of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and now worn by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Best Metal Setting for Sapphires

The regal color of this precious gemstone looks breathtaking against every metal color, from all shades of gold to platinum.

Fun Facts About Sapphires

    • Sapphire is the gemstone of truth, wisdom, and justice.
    • Sapphire is the birthstone of people born in September.
    • Sapphires are traditional gifts given during a couple’s 5th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
    • Though the name “sapphire” translates to the Greek (sappheiros) and Latin (sapphirus) words for “blue,” the rarest sapphire is a pinkish-orange variety called padparadscha, which is traditionally from Sri Lanka.
    • Sapphires are one the most durable gemstones with a rating of 9 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. The one naturally occurring element that can scratch a sapphire is a diamond, which boasts a 10 on the Mohs Scale. 
    • Aside from the Duchess of Cambridge’s sapphire engagement ring from Prince William’s late mother, several famous sapphires have also emerged throughout the years. These include the Logan Blue Sapphire, the Star of India, and the Rockefeller Sapphire.
  1. The Emerald: Making Other Gems Green With Envy 

Well-known for its intense green color, the emerald is 20 times rarer than a diamond. Emeralds also appear larger than diamonds of the same carat weight due to their lower density.

Cleopatra’s Obsession

This gemstone has been capturing hearts for centuries. Cleopatra VII Philopator, the famed Queen of Egypt, adored lush emeralds and wore them throughout her reign. She even adorned her palace with emeralds and gave them away as gifts to visiting dignitaries.

The Perfect Cut

Most emeralds have intricate inclusions called  “jardin” (French for “garden”) that make cutting the stone quite challenging. As a solution, gem cutters developed the unique and special cut many of us love — the famous “emerald cut” that gives the gem a square or rectangular shape.

Best Metal Setting for Emeralds

The majority of emeralds are cast in yellow gold, but platinum and white gold can also intensify their rich, bold color.

Fun Facts About Emeralds

    • Emerald is the birthstone of people born in May.
    • Emeralds are traditional gifts given during a married couple’s 20th and 50th anniversaries.
    • In the 4 C’s of emeralds, the most important factor that helps determine an emerald’s quality is its color. The most sought-after shade is vivid green or bluish green with even saturation and no color zoning. Furthermore, a high-quality emerald is clear and not too light nor too dark.
    • Gem cutters often treat emeralds with oil to fill in any cracks and prevent unintentional cracking or chipping.
  1. The Ruby: Burning With Passion and Love

Belonging to the corundum family, the ruby is best known for its deep red hue and coruscating glow. Ruby is the ideal romantic gift for the person you love since it emanates the color of desire.

Record-Breaking Sales, Time and Time Again

The finest-quality rubies have broken countless auction price records. They often command the highest per-carat value of all colored gems.

Look for the Silk

Ruby Ring

Ruby Ring

Pure rubies contain thin inclusions called needles. A phenomenon referred to as “silk” occurs when the needles intersect in groups, which softens the red color of a ruby and causes the light to gorgeously scatter across the gem’s facets.

Best Metal Setting for Rubies

The bright red hue of this stone pairs beautifully with any gold color: white, yellow, and rose, but also platinum.

Fun Facts About Rubies

    • Ruby is the birthstone of people born in July.
    • Rubies are traditional gifts given during the 15th wedding anniversary.
    • People have found rubies in Myanmar, Africa, Australia, and the US. Most of the world’s most treasured rubies hail from Myanmar (previously called Burma). Thus, the finest rubies are Burmese Rubies.

There you have it. Even though most of us immediately think of diamonds when it comes to rare and expensive gemstones, let’s not forget that there are three other contenders worth investing in. And, when you’re ready to cash in your collection of gem-encrusted pieces, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry is here for you. Get started by visiting our office in Scottsdale or Chandler, AZ.