Q:

How many gemstones are there?

A:

Quick Answer

More than 130 different types of minerals are used for gemstones. The most popular gemstones are diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Other gemstones are classified as precious or semi-precious.

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Full Answer

When gemstones are found in their natural state, they are quite ordinary looking. A good polish is required to bring out the shine, brilliance or sparkle. Amethyst at one time was considered a precious gemstone. However, that changed when large reserves were found in Brazil, reducing its value. Two gemstones much rarer than diamonds, the alexandrite and tanzanite, can change color, depending on lighting conditions and the orientation at which the gemstones are viewed.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where can I sell loose gemstones?

    A:

    Although it can be difficult to sell loose gemstones if they are not set in jewelry, they are often easy to sell to local jewelers and on online auction houses such as eBay. Local jewelers frequently accept legitimate, non-commercial sources of loose gemstones at discounted prices.

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  • Q:

    What are some different kinds of gemstones?

    A:

    There are the precious gemstones like diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald. There are also the semi-precious gemstones like turquoise, amethyst, garnet and quartz. There are also the gemstones that are considered birthstones (like aquamarine for the month of March and peridot for the month of August) and anniversary stones (like blue topaz for the fourth year and onyx for the eleventh year).

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  • Q:

    Where can you find a list of all gemstones?

    A:

    A list of all precious and semi-precious stones is available at GemSelect.com. Another list, which includes artificial and organic gemstones, is available on Wikipedia. Each entry in the Wikipedia list links to an article about the gem that describes natural variations in color and appearance.

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  • Q:

    What is platinum used for?

    A:

    According to The Royal Society of Chemistry, platinum is mainly used inside catalytic converters in cars, trucks, and buses. Platinum is also used for electrical components, thermocouple elements, corrosion-resistance apparatuses and dentistry. Platinum is used extensively for jewelry, manufactured into metal gauzes for nitric acid production and as a catalyst to improve the efficiency of fuel cells. In medicine, platinum compounds are important for chemotherapy.

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