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Polished gemstones


An ornamental, often valuable, mineral used for decoration in jewelry, small objects and clothing. Gemstones are normally transparent, crystalline stones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, Topaz, and garnets. Non-transparent gems include Cat's eye chrysoberyl. Non-stone materials that have sometimes been used as gems are Ivory, Amber, Jet, and Coral. Gems are found in alluvial deposits and dug from veins. Major mining locations include Sri Lanka, southeast Asia, South Africa, Australia, Russia, Brazil and Colombia. Gemstones are characterized based on their color, clarity, cut and weight. Stones of exceptional size, beauty or rarity are highly valued. Techniques for cutting and polishing gemstones were developed in India in the 14th century.

Gemstone facet cuts

Synonyms and Related Terms

gemstones; gem; gem; ædelsten (Dan.); Schmucksteine (Deut.); gema (Esp.); gemme (Fr.); edelsteen (Ned.); gema (Port.); Ädelsten (Sven.)


Properties of Common Gemstones

Natural and Simulated Diamonds

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: Gems: cutting. by Ken Scaratt