(Closed) What defines a gemstone?

posted 7 years ago in Rings
  • poll: What defines a gemstone?
    Natural? : (14 votes)
    25 %
    Naturally occurring but not necessarily natural? : (14 votes)
    25 %
    Pretty, pretty, shiny, shiny? : (23 votes)
    41 %
    Rare? : (2 votes)
    4 %
    Other... (Please explain) : (3 votes)
    5 %
  • Post # 3
    2731 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    @SpecialSundae: Hmm. This is a good question. I don’t really have much of an answer because I don’t know a whole lot about gemstones. So, for me, I guess a gemstone is…something pretty and sparkly 🙂 Haha. I obviously have no clue.

    But, about the whole lab-created vs. mined stones, I think that lab-created moissanite and sapphires (or any other stone) should be nowhere near the costume jewelry category because they are moissanite and sapphires. They’re exactly the same optically and chemically as if they were mined, but they were just created in a lab to be perfect. But I’m sure you already knew that. Now, if it were just a sapphire-colored CZ/glass/crystal that was not the same chemically (or in quality) as a sapphire, then that’s different. 

    ETA: Dang it, I typed all that and didn’t even include my point! My point is, I definitely think lab created stones are, in fact, gemstones. I don’t think they’re “fake” and would never call something lab-created fake. Some probably don’t agree, though.

    Post # 4
    9824 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    Some gem traders will use “gem” to describe a stone of rarity or value, like a fine sapphire or emerald. A fine specimen, not like a piece of quartz or something of the semi precious variety.

    But really, the conventional definition for gemstone is any jewelry quality stone that has been cut and polished to use in jewelry. So moissanite can certainly fall under that category.

    Calling a stone in anyone’s engagement ring “costume” jewelry is off putting because it implies that the value isn’t there or that the piece is for frivilous fun or disposable. I’d have the same reaction if it was lab sapphires we were talking about. That’s like calling someone’s engagement ring a cocktail ring. It’s a passive aggressive way of implying that someone’s ring is cheap. Thanks, but this is my engagement ring, of extreme value to me, you don’t need to use any other words to describe it.

    gemstone [ˈdʒɛmˌstəʊn]n (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Jewellery) a precious or semiprecious stone, esp one cut and polished for setting in jewellery

    Post # 5
    11391 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2010

    I see a gemstone as a gemstone. Either a natural gemstone or a man made gemstone. 

    Post # 7
    9824 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    @SpecialSundae: Any “gemstone” is just a stone that’s been cut and polished for the purpose of using in jewelry. “Gem” specifically is used to describe something finer and more rare than say an amethyst or rose quartz or lab created, but anything, from CZ to moissanite to emerald to amethyst can be described as a gemstone. It’s just any stone used to make jewelry. So while some might describe a really rare sapphire as a “gem”, it’s still a “gemstone” if it’s in the context of being used to make jewelry.

    I think when you’re discussing someone’s engagement ring, to describe it as anything other than that is just a bad idea. Maybe you personally aren’t offended, but it would bother me and I’m guessing others too, if you showed someone your moissanite engagement ring and they said “Oh that’s pretty. Why did you decide to go with costume jewelry?”

    Oh, and I’m guessing that lab created stones aren’t included in the dictionary definition of gemstones because they are still a pretty “new” product that are gaining popularity. Maybe the official definition will change to reflect that soon.

    Post # 8
    1458 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 2015

    I think that, like @KatyElle said, any stone that is moderatly valuable, (so not plastic) cut, and polished would be considered a gemstone.  That includes lab created sapphire, moissanite, CZs, etc.

    Post # 9
    2584 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    I have to agree with @KatyElle: on this one.


    @SpecialSundae: From what I’m getting, you’re saying that a cocktail ring isn’t necessarily costume jewelry because it isn’t cheap… but then, isn’t calling someone’s engagement ring “costume jewelry” calling it cheap without directly saying it? I would never say that about anyone’s engagement ring. And I don’t consider lab created gemstones to be costume jewelry either.

    Post # 10
    1271 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2013

    i see where you’re coming from in the natural vs. lab-created debate. a lab-created stone is chemically the same and indistinguishable from a naturally occuring stone.  i personally agree in that i feel it loses a bit of the romance when it’s lab-created, but my personal opinion doesn’t change the facts, and “romance” has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a stone is, in fact, a gemstone.  lab-created stones are most definitely gemstones, and what people want in their engagement rings is entirely up to them.  to me (the wearer of a sapphire e-ring), the only thing separating a gemstone “cocktail” ring from an engagement ring is the meaning and intent behind it.

    Post # 11
    3482 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: February 2011

    I’m really not traditional or sentimental about where my rocks come from. Just because a lab-grown gemstone wasn’t spewed out of a volcano doesn’t make it any less special to me.

    Yes, when naturally-occurring moissanite was discovered, it was in miniscule quantities and nobody has one on their finger that was grown outside a lab. Does it matter? It’s still the same chemical composition, same crystal structure. Just because your stone isn’t actually from the stars doesn’t mean it can’t be reminiscent of them.

    Anyway, regardless of what you consider to be a gem or not, it’s still rude to call someone’s engagement ring “costume jewelry”. Costume jewelry may be pretty, but it’s often considered synonymous with “fake” or “gaudy”, and nobody wants to hear something with that kind of negative connotation about the ring they’ve chosen to wear to symbolize one of the most important commitments they’ll ever make.

    Post # 12
    5547 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: December 2011

    Personally, whatever someone wants to wear on their finger is their business. Be it a priceless massive diamond or a chip of glass. On the lab vs. natural, I don’t know what the difference in what a lab diamond and a natural one looks like but lab sapphires and emeralds are so much more beautiful to me than the natural kind. My mom has an emerald ring that is like 50-100 years old, obviously natural, but it is a very light color, and fairly opaque. Lab emeralds, holy cow can you say incredible green? The same for sapphires, most of the naturally occuring ones don’t have the same intensity of color that the lab ones do. That and they are much more rare if they are that same color.If it is the same chemical composition, reguardless of if it came from thr grounf or if it came from a lab, its a gem. 

    Post # 13
    630 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2011

    Yeah it doesn’t bother me when I see that it’s lab-created. I have a beautiful ruby ring that’s lab created.

    Post # 15
    458 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    @SpecialSundae: Realistically, we’re all paying a bunch of money for rocks >.> lol.  As a child I absolutely loved rocks. I would collect them and I still have a hard time going outside, looking at the ground, finding rocks and not bringing them with me. I love them! (I’m in trouble when I see quartz crystal stands >.<)

    For me, a gemstone would be any kind of polished rock used in jewelry whether nature or manmade. A lab created gem (and they do use the word gem) is still a gemstone, just not nature made but still the same chemical structure (example, a lab created aquamarine would still be considered a gemstone even though it was lab created).

    Wikipedia’s (yay Wikipedia!) explanation/page for gemstone:

    “A gemstone or gem (also called a precious or semi-precious stone, a fine gem, or jewel) is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments.[1][2] However certain rocks, (such as lapis lazuli) and organic materials (such as amber or jet) are not minerals, but are still used for jewelry, and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their lustre or other physical properties that have aesthetic value.”

    Merriam Webster’s definition of gemstone: “a mineral or petrified material that when cut and polished can be used in jewelry”

    As for why Moissanite Co, or any other moissanite vendors, call it “costume jewelry” when shipping is because of customs and safety. They have to declare the item and its value and that label goes right on the box (I know this because I send a lot of stuff to Canada lol). If they put “ring” or even “moissanite ring” on the box and then said it was let’s say $1500, the person who purchased the ring would have to pay tax on their purchased for that price. By declaring it as costume jewelry, they can say that it only cost $100. Also, if they put what it truly is on the box, someone could steal it.

    “But… I find it really odd when people say that lab-grown moissanite is a gemstone from the stars. I could understand if the stone in their ring actually came from a meteorite (which would be unbelievably cool), but what is sold is a well-marketed lab-grown synthetic stone.”

    The moissanite I have might not have come from a star itself, but it is a chemical structure only found in Space in meteors so it’s as close to a star as it can get. As for the marketing thing lol, moissanite is not the only gemstone that is “well-marketed.” Diamonds themselves are pressurized pieces of coal (and related to graphite which we write with) that have been marketed as the symbol of love and something a lot of women must have (not all but a lot).

    Just a little riddle in the spirit of Christmas; if Santa brings you a diamond for Christmas, were you on his naughty or nice list?

    Post # 16
    204 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2012

    A stone that has sparkle and doesn’t look like it comes from the back of a truck.



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