I’m sorry, but I had to say it. THEY DON'T EXIST. The same as semi-good friends or semi-tasty food doesn't exist. Imagine that your son/daughter comes home one day saying: “mum, dad… I semi-passed the exam”. What would you think?
The same happens with gems or semiprecious gems. And you should note that it is not me saying it. It is the CIBJO - the International Confederation of Jewellery (http://www.cibjo.org/), who clearly states this in its Article 4.3.6: ‘THE TERM “SEMI PRECIOUS” IS DECEITFUL AND MUST NOT BE USED’.
Now I will try to explain to you why.
Not all rubies or emeralds or diamonds meet all the prerequisites to be granted access to the “gem” club. Most diamonds are of an industrial quality and not gem quality, and the same happens with a great many other crystals (aquamarines, citrines, topaz, amethysts, garnets, alexandrites, etc. ).
Remember: a stone needs to meet some basic prerequisites with regards to beauty, durability and rarity to be called a gemstone. There are times when one of these is not met, the stone doesn't have great hardness, it is delicate, but it is so rare and beautiful, that it is admitted into the group of chosen ones.
It is very common for people to ask us about the commercial value of a stone, or if one stone is “better" than the other. What is better? What has higher commercial value, a diamond or an amethyst? It depends. If the amethyst has gem quality, shows great beauty because of its optic qualities, that is, a good transparency, shine, good colour, colour saturation, has a well proportioned cut, if it is well polished, etc..; then we will be talking about a GEM or PRECIOUS STONE with capitals. If the diamond falls into the industrial category, with an undesirable hardness, bad clarity, etc..; then NO, it is NOT a GEM nor a PRECIOUS STONE, nor a SEMIPRECIOUS STONE.
The way to sell something that doesn't have a high value price is by giving it a CLASS, or raising it to a status that it doesn't have: SEMI. And of course along with the SEMI, more is asked for, more is paid, clients leave happier, because are holding a SEMITREASURE in their hands. But it is not true.
In the world of gems deceit can often go together with the commerce in itself. When I visit fairs I get tired of seeing stands: sillimanites dyed to make them look like rubies, emeralds and sapphires, or stones of a very poor quality and the title beginning with SEMI; “semiprecious” stones with healing or loving powers, stones with chakra, amulets and an endless number of semi-treasures that have nothing to do with precious stones.
I am not calling into question the purposes they are used for, nor whether they can be linked to a zodiac sign, or if they are used as charms. That is not my concern at all. But it is indeed wrong that they are mis-sold, as though they are something they are not, classed as being something “SEMIPRECIOUS”, because this is not true.
My most valuable stone is a riverside, a pebble, that my father used to wear on his jacket. So, for me it is a valuable piece, but I am aware that it doesn't hold any economic value and that is not a precious stone, although I wouldn't exchange it for one that was.
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