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Types of Precious Stone

Assetsure specialise in the Insurance of Jewellery Here is our guide to the most popular Types of Precious Stone found in jewellery.

Precious stones have been used by way of personal adornment for centuries. Jewellery has been worn for thousands of years, with the oldest known rudimentary beads discovered in 2006, dating back over 100,000 years. These days, gem stones are used in a myriad of ways, from engagement rings, wedding bands, brooches, pendants and earrings to couture clothing and decoration of gadgets and phones. Traditionally the four stones that are considered precious are Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds and Sapphires.


Apparently a girl’s best friend, and arguably the best known fine gem in the world, the noble Diamond is the hardest mineral known to man, with a score of 10 on the Mohs scale. Taking its name from the Greek for “unbreakable” the diamond is truly a remarkable and exquisite material.

It is a favourite for high end jewellery, fine jewellery and wedding jewellery due to its outstanding lustre. Diamonds easily retain a highly polished surface, due to the fact that they can only be scratched by other Diamonds.

Although traditionally clear, Diamonds can also be blue, yellow, green, purple, pink, orange and even red. A brilliant cut, clear Diamond set in Platinum is a popular choice for high end engagement rings, although Diamonds can be set in Gold, white gold and occasionally silver.


Referred to as the Gemstone of the Sun, the Ruby is a crystalline form of Aluminium Oxide. Rubies are actually very closely related to Sapphires; however they are coloured pink to deep tones of scarlet due to the presence of Chromium in their structure. With a score of 9 on the Mohs scale Rubies come second only to Diamonds in regards to hardness.

The most valued Rubies are those with the deepest, most intense colour. Associated with love, passion and romance they are a favourite as engagement rings. Prince Andrew famously presented Fergie, Duchess of York with a ruby engagement ring when he proposed, sending the popularity of Ruby engagement rings soaring.


Columbia and Brazil are renowned for their Emerald mines. Emeralds are the birthstone of May and, traditionally, the gift to be given on a 55th Wedding Anniversary. They are a formation of Beryl with trace amounts of Chromium and sometimes Vanadium, giving them their deep, forest green colour. With a score of only 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, Emeralds are not quite as hard as Rubies or Diamonds. A high quality, fine Emerald can actually be more expensive than a Diamond.

Unlike many other gemstones, Emeralds are graded by eye, without the use of a magnifying device. An Emerald that appears to have no inclusions when viewed with the naked eye is considered to be flawless.


No Sapphire is more famous than the one set in Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, a huge 12 carats of intense blue beauty. Sapphires are usually coloured by iron and titanium in the crystalline structure. A close sister stone of the Ruby, the Sapphire shares a hardness score of 9 on the Mohs scale. But did you know that not all Sapphires are blue? They can also be yellow, orange, and pink. green, colourless or even black!

Sapphires are often heat treated. They are subjected to heats of up to 1,800 degrees Celsius, essentially “burning off” any impurities within the stone. This can enhance the stone’s colour but can, in fact, actually reduce its value as it is no longer natural.

One thing that all of these precious stones have in common is that they hold value. Not just monetary, but quite often sentimental value too, which is why it is important to make sure your jewellery and gemstones are adequately insured.

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