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Precious & Semi-Precious Gemstones List: Pictures & Meanings

list of precious and semi-precious gemstonesWhether you’re a gem aficionado or a casual jewelry lover, you’ve likely come across the terms “precious” and “semi-precious” when discussing types of gemstones. The difference between precious and semi-precious gems is mostly manufactured, as it doesn’t always reflect higher value or rarity.

So, what are semi-precious vs. precious stones? We’ll be answering that today as we uncover the origin of this distinction and list every precious and semi-precious gemstone! By the end, you’ll be ready to shop for precious or semi-precious gems shrewdly and confidently. 

list of precious and semi-precious gemstones

What Is the Difference Between Precious & Semi-Precious Stones?

There’s no scientific difference between precious and semi-precious gems. In many cases, “precious” gems aren’t even more valuable than “semi-precious” counterparts. But that wasn’t always the case. 

References of “precious” stones appear in literature stretching centuries back. But separating “precious” and “semi-precious” stones is fairly modern.

One of the earliest sources mentioning the “precious” vs. “semi-precious” distinction is British jeweler Edwin W. Streeter’s 1898 guide Precious Stones and Gems, Their History, Sources, and Characteristics. The epigraph under his Semi-Precious Stones chapter title states:

“Of less commercial value than those described in the foregoing pages, but nevertheless many of them very beautiful”

Throughout history, definitions of precious gems evolved. What made them “precious” was oftentimes their perceived powers as healing stones, along with their rarity or monetary value.

What Are the Four Precious Gemstones?

This is the considered the most definitive precious stones list: 

  • Diamond: Transparent, pure carbon gem in any color

  • Ruby: Transparent red corundum

  • Sapphire: Transparent non-red corundum, traditionally blue

  • Emerald: Transparent to translucent green beryl

list of precious gemstones - diamond emerald ruby sapphireThese aren’t ordered by price; a precious stones list by value would be tricky, as different properties for each gem can mean drastically different prices.

However, we can roster the most expensive examples of each precious gem ever sold: 

  • Diamond: The Pink Star at $71.2 million, sold in 2017 ($1.2 million per carat)

  • Ruby: The Sunrise Ruby at $30.3 million, sold in 2015 ($1.2 million per carat)

  • Sapphire: The Blue Belle of Asia at $17.5 million, sold in 2004 ($44k per carat)

  • Emerald: The Rockefeller Emerald at $5.5 million, sold in 2017 ($305k per carat)

You may notice the Blue Belle sapphire had a higher price but a lower price-per-carat than the Rockefeller Emerald. Similarly, the Pink Star diamond sold for a higher price but lower price-per-carat than the Oppenheimer Blue diamond, which sold for $57.5 million, just under $4 million per carat.

As you can see, value is tricky! Value is also subjective. The most “precious” gems can differ among groups or change over time.

pink freshwater pearls semi-precious and precious gemstones listPictured above: Freshwater pearls

Other Precious Gemstone Lists

Most hold that the four stones above are the only true precious gemstones. However, traditional, older lists included more stones.

Seven Precious Stones 

What are the seven precious stones? 

Along with the original four gems, the three added in this list are pearl, alexandrite, and oriental cat’s eye (cat’s eye chrysoberyl). 

In other cases, largely religious references, you may hear about longer lists of precious gems, particularly twelve or nine. 

Twelve Precious Stones

Twelve as a number carries spiritual significance in many religions and folklore. The oft-mentioned twelve-gem lists come from Judaism and Christianity. 

Typically, they’re either the twelve gemstones set on Aaron’s Breastplate (the High Priest’s breastplate in Judaism) or the twelve foundation stones of The New Jerusalem in Christianity (from the Biblical book of Revelations).

So, what are the twelve precious stones? 

Those in Aaron’s Breastplate are somewhat debated, but generally include: 

  1. Carnelian

  2. Peridot

  3. Emerald

  4. Turquoise

  5. Sapphire

  6. Amethyst

  7. Sapphire

  8. Agate

  9. Quartz

  10. Beryl

  11. Lapis Lazuli

  12. Jasper

(Fun fact: Most historians believe the idea of birthstones originated from these!) 

Now, if we’re discussing the twelve foundation stones in Christianity, they are: 

  1. Amethyst

  2. Beryl

  3. Chalcedony

  4. Chrysolite

  5. Emerald

  6. Chrysoprase

  7. Jasper

  8. Sard

  9. Sardonyx

  10. Sapphire

  11. Topaz

  12. Zircon

Lastly, we have the list of nine precious stones. 

Nine Precious Stones (Navaratna)

The nine precious gems are part of a cultural, historic jewelry style called the Navaratna (Sanskrit for “nine gems”). The Navaratna gems, including their placement in jewelry and decor, have religious, mythological, and astrological significance. 

Which are the nine precious stones?

Each gem represents part of the Solar System, starting with ruby (for sun) at the center. The remaining eight gems that surround ruby are:

  • Pearl (Moon)

  • Coral (Mars)

  • Emerald (Mercury)

  • Yellow Sapphire (Jupiter)

  • Diamond (Venus)

  • Blue Sapphire (Saturn)

  • Hessonite Garnet (North Lunar Node)

  • Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl (South Lunar Node)

Ancient royals wore Navaratna amulets, and today, the Navaratna is still tied to royalty in Thailand, where it serves as the king’s official symbol. 

We’ve covered all the precious gemstone lists, but which gemstones are semi-precious? And what does “semi-precious” mean?

Semi-Precious Meaning

What makes a gemstone semi-precious? Some have only assigned a certain number of gems status on the semi-precious stones list. Nowadays, any gemstone that isn’t one of the traditional four precious gems is typically considered semi-precious.

Which semi-precious stone is most valuable? From current lists of the most valuable gemstones, second place (just under blue diamond) goes to the highest-quality jadeite at $3 million per carat. 

Next, we’ll do a comprehensive breakdown of all the semi-precious gemstone names and colors!

semi-precious blue gemstone - larimar pendantPictured above: Larimar

List of Semi-Precious Stones

There are dozens of semi-precious gems, so we’ll make it easier with a few categories. First, we’ll cover some of the most popular semi-precious stones and some lesser-known ones!

Popular Semi-Precious Stones (A-L)

To kick off our list of gemstones a-z, we’ll dive into some classics: 

  • Andalusite: Transparent or opaque, yellow to brown or greenish aluminum nesosilicate with strong trichroism (unlisted varieties: green to brown viridine and patterned chiastolite)

  • Apatite: Translucent, popularly sea-green calcium phosphate

  • Azurite: Opaque, azure-blue to turquoise copper carbonate

  • Azurmalachite: Opaque, blue and green patterned mixture of azurite and malachite

  • Celestite: Delicate, transparent soft blue to white strontium sulfate found in geodes 

  • Chrome Diopside: Translucent, rich green diopside with chromium

  • Chrysocolla: Opaque, blue to teal, copper silicate often with brown patterns

  • Danburite: Transparent, colorless to yellow calcium borosilicate from Connecticut

  • Eudialyte: Opaque, typically red to magenta cyclosilicate

  • Fluorite: Translucent calcium fluorine in virtually any color, commonly purple, green, or both

  • Fuchsite: Opaque, green, chromium-rich muscovite

  • Howlite: Opaque, white borate gem with silver or brown veining, often dyed to imitate turquoise

  • Iolite: Transparent, blue to violet gem-quality cordierite

  • Kyanite: Translucent, grayish-blue aluminosilicate similar to andalusite and sillimanite

  • Larimar: Opaque, blue to seaglass-green pectolite with white patterns, only found in the Dominican Republic

semi-precious purple sugilite gemstonePictured above: Sugilite

Popular Semi-Precious Stones (M-Z)

Craving more? Maybe you’ll like these fan favorites:

  • Malachite: Opaque copper carbonate with concentric patterns in multiple green shades

  • Moissanite: Transparent, very hard colorless carborundum naturally found in meteorite craters but almost always sold as synthetic

  • Peridot: Transparent bright yellow-green olivine sometimes called chrysolite

  • Petalite: Rare, transparent, colorless to light pink feldspar-like gem

  • Prehnite: Pear-green inosilicate with milky translucence and pearly sheen 

  • Rhodochrosite: Manganese carbonate that can be translucent, solid pink or opaque, pink with white color-banding  

  • Rhodonite: Translucent or opaque pink manganese silica stone with black or brown inclusions, often mistaken for rhodochrosite

  • Selenite: Transparent white gypsum crystal known for its spiritual cleansing properties and unique raw crystal varieties: desert rose, gypsum flower, and satin spar

  • Sphene: Transparent titanium-rich titanite that’s usually vibrant yellow-green with colorful sparkle 

  • Sugilite: Opaque vibrant fuchsia to purple complex cyclosilicate usually found with black or white veining

  • Topaz: Transparent, popularly blue or white aluminum silicate with fluorine that boasts many colors, including the most valuable golden to pink-orange Imperial Topaz

  • Turquoise: Opaque sky-blue to blue-green microcrystalline phosphate with yellow, brown, or black veining

  • Zircon: Transparent zirconium silicate with diamond-like luster and sparkle, found in all colors but most popular in blue

lesser known semi-precious gemstone afghanitePictured above: Afghanite

Lesser-Known Semi-Precious Stones

These gemstone names may be unfamiliar, but they just may be your new favorites:

  • Afghanite: Translucent, cobalt-colored feldspar-like gem from Afghanistan

  • Aragonite: Translucent, usually white to gray, calcite-like calcium carbonate formed geologically or biologically via mollusks or corals

  • Dioptase: Translucent, deep green to teal copper cyclosilicate

  • Dolomite: Transparent white, pink, or tan calcium magnesium carbonate with saddle-shaped crystal

  • Lazulite: Opaque cobalt-blue to indigo magnesium iron phosphate 

  • Magnesite: Transparent white to yellow-brown or opaque white magnesium carbonate with black veining

  • Scheelite: Transparent, commonly blue to white calcium tungstate with high dispersion and almost diamond-level luster

  • Shattuckite: Opaque and fairly rare, vibrant blue copper silicate

  • Smithsonite: Translucent, calcite-related zinc carbonate in many colors but most beloved in pink, blue, or green

  • Stichtite: Soft, opaque lilac-pink to purple chromium magnesium carbonate often with black or green inclusions

  • Tantalite: Group of tantalum iron oxide minerals closely related to columbite

  • Tremolite: Translucent cream or green amphibole silicate well-known for its green nephrite jade variety but mostly found as inclusions in other gems

cat's eye chrysoberyl semi-precious stonePictured above: Cat's eye chrysoberyl (a.k.a. cymophane)

Gems with Unique Shine

Many gems are all about sparkle, and sparkle is all about light. Next, you’ll learn about some pretty gemstones that dance with the light like no other.

Phenomenal Semi-Precious Gemstones

Phenomenal gemstones interact with light uniquely to display mesmerizing optical phenomena. These semi-precious stones include:

  • Black Star Diopside: Greenish-black diopside with four-ray or six-ray asterism

  • Chrysoberyl: Family of transparent aluminum beryllium oxide gems or singular yellow-green gem (unlisted varieties: chatoyant cymophane a.k.a. cat’s eye and mint-colored vanadium)

  • Diaspore: Transparent, green to pink to champagne, color-changing gem also called Zultanite or Csarite when sourced from Turkey

  • Enstatite: Translucent olive-green magnesium-rich pyroxene sometimes displaying asterism

  • Kornerupine: Rare, transparent magnesium aluminum borosilicate, commonly brown, deep green, or yellow and capable of asterism or chatoyancy

  • Pezzottaite: Transparent raspberry red or pink beryl-like stone containing caesium and capable of cat’s eye effect and asterism (no longer considered a beryl variety)

  • Sillimanite: Opaque dark reddish-brown to black fibrous gem with a silver cat’s eye effect or translucent, glassy white to light green crystal

  • Ulexite: Rare, silky, translucent white nesoborate called “television stone” for its ability to reflect images underneath it onto its surface and chatoyancy

semi-precious metallic stone pyrite druzy eggPictured above: Pyrite

Metallic Semi-Precious Gemstones

Looking for a stylish but more neutral shine? Check out these metallic gems:

  • Bronzite: Greenish-brown, fibrous, iron-bearing enstatite variety with a bronze metallic sheen and sometimes 6-rayed asterism

  • Brookite: Translucent or opaque, typically brown, submetallic titanium dioxide

  • Cassiterite: Rarely transparent and colorless tin oxide gemstone with diamond-like luster, strong dispersion

  • Cuprite: Transparent, somewhat metallic, red copper oxide

  • Hematite: Opaque, metallic gray to rust-red iron oxide gem with red powder streak

  • Magnetite: Opaque, metallic, dark gray or brown iron oxide mineral that’s magnetic (unlisted variety: lodestone)

  • Marcasite: Opaque, metallic iron sulfide related to pyrite with paler bronze-yellow hue and iridescent surface corrosion

  • Pyrite: Opaque, metallic brass-yellow iron sulfide called “fool’s gold”

morganite gemstonePictured above: Morganite

Gemstones by Family

Prominent gemstone families not only make gem identification easier, but also gem choosing! Narrow down your favorite with these categories of different kinds of stones:

Semi-Precious Beryl Gemstones

Besides transcendent emerald, the remaining beryl gems are semi-precious:

  • Beryl: Group of transparent to translucent beryllium aluminum silicates (unlisted varieties: colorless goshenite)

  • Aquamarine: Transparent, pale blue to sea-green beryl

  • Heliodor: Transparent, yellow to golden beryl 

  • Morganite: Transparent, light pink to peach beryl

5.710 CT TSAVORITE GARNET CHROME GREEN 100% CLEAN NATURAL UNHEATEDPictured above: Tsavorite garnet

Semi-Precious Garnet Gemstones

Garnets are commonly mistaken as precious gemstones, but their semi-precious status doesn’t make them any less beautiful! Here are a few notable ones:

  • Garnet: Group of mostly red or green, complex silicates, with the main five species: pyrope, grossular, almandine, spessartite, and andradite

  • Demantoid: Transparent, brilliant yellow-green to deep olive andradite among the rarest garnets

  • Tsavorite: Transparent forest-green to emerald-green grossular garnet and one of the rarest, most valuable garnets

semi-precious spodumene kunzite gemstonePictured above: Kunzite

Semi-Precious Spodumene Gems

Spodumene gems may not be as well-known, but they’re all worth a second look:

  • Spodumene: Family of often large but delicate lithium aluminum silicates or individual, transparent gem in single- or bi-colored hues like orange, gray, or brown (not including colors of varieties)

  • Hiddenite: Transparent green spodumene and rarest spodumene variety

  • Kunzite: Transparent, pink to purple spodumene that fades color with sun exposure

  • Triphane: Transparent colorless to yellow spodumene

8.08 CT MOONSTONE RAINBOW COLOR PLAY 100% NATURAL UNHEATEDPictured above: Moonstone

Semi-Precious Feldspar Gemstones

As the most common mineral in Earth’s crust, feldspar is varied and abundant. That means more variety and gorgeous gems:

  • Feldspar: Broad group of typically glassy and white aluminum silicates containing calcium, potassium, or sodium, split into two main subgroups: plagioclase (albite, anorthite) and alkali (orthoclase, sanidine, microcline, anorthoclase)

  • Amazonite: Opaque, green to teal potassium feldspar (microcline) variety

  • Andesine Feldspar: Translucent, pink to orange plagioclase feldspar with possible red to green color changes and iridescence

  • Labradorite: Translucent, blue to gray plagioclase feldspar with labradorescence (type of internal iridescence)

  • Moonstone: Translucent white mixture of orthoclase and oligoclase feldspar with bluish-white adularescence (internal glow)

  • Oregon Sunstone: Transparent copper-containing feldspar from Oregon that’s commonly light yellow to pink and is actually a labradorite variety

  • Orthoclase: Transparent colorless to pale champagne-yellow feldspar gem

  • Rainbow Lattice Sunstone: Extremely rare multi-colored orthoclase feldspar with iridescent lattice pattern, aventurescence, and adularescence

  • Spectrolite: Rare, opaque labradorite variety from Finland with full-spectrum labradorescence

  • Sunstone: Translucent, pink to orange plagioclase feldspar typically found with orange coloring and metallic glittering aventurescence

citrine gemstone semi-precious quartz stonePictured above: Citrine

Semi-Precious Quartz Stones

Quartz gems are arguably the most well-known crystals, the main varieties being:

  • Quartz: Family of transparent to translucent macrocrystalline silica stones or singular, colorless gem also called “rock crystal” (unlisted varieties: tangerine quartz, lemon quartz, blue quartz, herkimer diamond)

  • Amethyst: Transparent lavender to magenta quartz (pale variety: rose de France amethyst)

  • Ametrine: Translucent yellow and purple mixture of citrine and amethyst

  • Citrine: Transparent yellow to brown quartz (reddish-orange variety: Madeira citrine)

  • Druzy: Type of crystal aggregate, usually inside geodes, with layer of sparkling tiny crystals or shortened term for quartz with this formation

  • Mystic Quartz: Natural clear quartz that’s been treated with a metallic vapor surface coating to display rainbow iridescence

  • Prasiolite: Translucent light green quartz often created by heat-treating amethyst

  • Rose Quartz: Ballet-pink to rose-red quartz with hazy translucence, capable of showing asterism

  • Rutilated Quartz: Translucent clear quartz with golden-yellow, needle-like rutile inclusions

  • Smoky Quartz: Translucent clear quartz variety with brown to black “smoke” inside from natural irradiation and aluminum

semi-precious gemstone - bumblebee jasper chalcedonyPictured above: Bumblee jasper

Semi-Precious Chalcedony Gemstones

Microcrystalline quartz, or chalcedony, comes with even more options:

  • Chalcedony: Family of microcrystalline quartzes or singular translucent, pale white to gray-blue gem

  • Agate: Translucent, color-banded family of chalcedonies (some unlisted varieties: dendritic agate, moss agate, blue lace agate)

  • Aquaprase: Translucent, vivid blue-green chalcedony variety containing nickel and chromium discovered in Africa in 2013

  • Bloodstone (Heliotrope): Opaque, dark green chalcedony with red speckles

  • Carnelian: Translucent, yellow to red chalcedony in single hues or multi-colored patterns

  • Chrysocolla Chalcedony (Gem Silica): The most valuable chalcedony, a translucent, bright blue to blue-green chalcedony with chrysocolla inclusions 

  • Chrysoprase: Semi-transparent apple-green chalcedony with nickel

  • Fire Agate: Semi-transparent, iridescent agate with brown base and flashes of red, orange, green, and/or blue

  • Jasper: Opaque, color-banded or patterned family of chalcedony gems

  • Onyx: Opaque black or brown chalcedony with parallel color-banding (solid-colored black onyx is usually treated)

semi-precious stone paraiba tourmaline gemPictured above: Paraiba tourmaline

Other Semi-Precious Gemstone Families

Smaller but still significant gemstone families include:

  • Calcite: Group of calcium carbonates or individual transparent, orange gem

    • Cobaltocalcite: Rare, translucent calcite that’s bright pink to maroon from cobalt

  • Chlorite: Group of mica-rich phyllosilicates with primary subgroups: clinochlore and chamosite (unlisted varieties: amesite, cookeite)

    • Seraphinite: Forest-green patterned clinochlore chlorite variety with light green to silver feather mica inclusions, plus opaque and translucent areas

  • Mica: Large family of phyllosilicates known for being soft and flaking into thin sheets, with primary groupings: biotite, muscovite, and lithium mica (unlisted varieties: yellow to orange phlogopite, black biotite)

    • Lepidolite: Opaque, usually grayish-purple mica with white quartz patterns and sometimes green tourmaline spots 

  • Scapolite: Aluminosilicate mineral series or singular, commonly honey-yellow and transparent gemstone (unlisted varieties: rainbow scapolite, petschite, nuttalite, wernerite, meionite, marialite)

  • Serpentine: Subgroup of kaolinite-serpentine minerals or individual brownish-green gem often displaying light and dark green patterns

  • Sodalite: Group of sodium-rich, feldspar-like gems or individual, opaque royal blue and white mottled stone (unlisted variety: hauyne)

    • Hackmanite: Opaque, pale pink to lilac sodalite with white and red/violet tenebrescence

    • Lazurite: Opaque, azure-blue sodalite gem with white or gold patterns

  • Sphalerite: Group of zinc sulfide minerals with variable composition and colors or singular, translucent gem with high dispersion commonly found in yellow to brown colors 

  • Spinel: Group of hard minerals with complex, variable composition or singular, transparent gem most popular in ruby-red to pink colors

  • Tourmaline: Complex group of silicates or singular gem in the group, most commonly black tourmaline (schorl)

    • Rubellite: Translucent, deep pink, red, or magenta tourmaline

  • Variscite: Group of aluminum phosphates or individual, opaque green to turquoise gem usually with black or white patterns (unlisted varieties: scorodite, mansfieldite)

  • Zoisite: Usually transparent, solid- or multi-colored gemstone family with three primary varieties: tanzanite, anyolite (ruby zoisite), and thulite


mexican fire opal semi-precious gemstone freeform cutPictured above: Mexican fire opal

Non-Mineral Gemstones

The next categories cover unique gems that aren’t everyday crystals!

Semi-Precious Mineraloids (Inorganic)

Most gems are mineral crystals, but mineraloids differ. Below, we’ll list the semi-precious mineraloids (that aren’t organic): 

  • Opal: Opaque, amorphous, hydrated silica mineraloid, called “precious opal” when displaying play-of-color

  • Mexican Fire Opal: Uniquely transparent and faceted opal variety with red to yellow coloring, sometimes displaying play-of-color

  • Moldavite: Translucent, green silica-glass tektite touted as the ultimate healing stone

  • Obsidian: Opaque, usually black and sometimes patterned, hydrated silica-glass rhyolite (unlisted varieties: Apache tears, rainbow obsidian, fire obsidian, snowflake obsidian, mahogany obsidian, sheen obsidian)

  • Tektite: Opaque, often dark-colored, shiny natural glass with variable composition and numerous varieties, all formed through meteorite impact 

canadian ammolite semi-precious organic gemstonePictured above: Canadian ammolite

Semi-Precious Organic Gemstones

An organic gem doesn’t form geologically. Instead, plants and animals are behind these semi-precious jewels: 

  • Amber: Translucent, typically red-orange, hardened tree resin from ancient pines

  • Ammolite: Opaque fossilized aragonite shells of extinct ammonites displaying multi-colored iridescence

  • Coral: Traditionally pink to red gem composed of exoskeletons of coral marine creatures

  • Fossil: Fossilized organism or plant material (e.g. shark teeth, ivory, dinosaur bone, bamboo, coral) with distinct patterns and often filled with minerals

  • Ivory: White to cream tusks or teeth from large mammals, mostly composed of dentine

  • Jet: Opaque black to brown lignite-coal organic mineraloid typically formed underwater from fossilized, decayed wood

  • Pearl: Popularly cream-colored nacre created by oysters to defend against invading irritants (unlisted varieties: Tahitian pearl, golden pearl, conch pearl, Keshi pearl, Akoya pearl, South Sea pearl)

  • Petrified Palm: Tan to golden-colored, spotted, fossilized extinct palm called Palmoxylon

  • Petrified Wood: Type of fossilized plant material, often made more durable with fillings or replacements of silica and displaying tan to red patterns

lapis lazuli semi-precious gemstonePictured above: Lapis lazuli

Semi-Precious Rock Gemstones (A-M)

Many gems contain two or more minerals, classifying them as rocks. Here are some of those valuable rocks and stones:

  • Aventurine: Translucent to opaque quartz and feldspar rock known for its green variety and metallic glittering (aventurescence)

  • Calligraphy Stone: Unique golden-yellow rock composed of hematite and various fossilized materials, creating red, green, and brown calligraphy-like patterns

  • Charoite: Translucent, milky purple and white swirling-patterned rock largely composed of mineral charoite

  • Chrysanthemum Flower Stone: Opaque, dark rock with white crystal (celestite, feldspar, andalusite, or calcite) “chrysanthemum” pattern from prehistoric formation

  • Hawk’s Eye: Opaque deep teal or blue-gray chalcedony rock containing fibrous crocidolite inclusions that cause simple chatoyancy (multiple rays of reflected light) and striped patterns

  • Ironstone: Opaque, brown and red sedimentary rock sometimes intermixed with opal to form boulder opal

  • Lapis Lazuli: Opaque, indigo rock that’s 25-40 percent lazurite with gold pyrite and white calcite speckles

  • Lava Rock: Group of minerals or rocks formed from cooled magma (such as rhyolite, andesite, and felsite) or a singular basalt or mafic rock used as a gem

  • Meteorite: Opaque, smooth or dimpled, brown to black space stone that landed on Earth

blue and orange pietersite gemstone facetedPictured above: Pietersite

Semi-Precious Rock Gemstones (P-Z)

Ready for more? Let’s rock ‘n’ roll with the rest: 

  • Pietersite: Opaque multi-colored rock of hawk’s eye and tiger’s eye cemented by chalcedony, typically orange or gray-blue with chaotic patterns 

  • Rhyolite: Opaque pale pink, white, or gray lava rock with the primary variations obsidian, tuff, and pumice (unlisted varieties: rainforest jasper, apache sage, wonderstone, thundereggs)

  • Ruby Zoisite (Anyolite): Opaque multi-colored rock (sold as zoisite variety) composed of pink-red ruby and green zoisite, often with black pargasite veining

  • Septarian: Opaque rock composed of brown aragonite, yellow calcite, and gray limestone

  • Shiva Lingam: Sacred in Hinduism, an opaque chalcedony rock with iron oxides and variable minerals to create typically tan, maroon, and gray sections

  • Super Seven: Sacred, translucent multi-colored rock containing amethyst, clear quartz, smoky quartz, cacoxenite, goethite, rutile, and lepidocrocite

  • Tiffany Stone: Opaque rock with translucent portions composed of fluorite, opal, and bertrandite (plus other minerals), displaying blended swirls of mostly purple shades, white, and black

  • Tiger’s Eye: An opaque chalcedony rock like hawk’s eye but golden-yellow to reddish-brown from iron oxide, along with simple chatoyancy and stripes

  • Tiger Iron: Opaque rock with golden-brown tiger’s eye, black hematite, and red jasper

  • Turkiyenite: Turkish, opaque lilac to grape rock (typically with white spots) that’s mostly purple jadeite but also contains quartz, orthoclase, and other minerals 

  • Verdite: Soft, opaque green rock from South Africa that’s mostly composed of fuchsite and usually has yellow and brown patterns

  • Zebra Rock: Opaque white and reddish-brown banded rock from Australia that’s mostly chalcedony and sericite with other minerals

euclase semi-precious gemstone crystalPictured above: Euclase

Rare Semi-Precious Gems

Lastly, we have the collector’s delight: rare and valuable stones!

Rare Semi-Precious Gemstones

While these aren’t the rarest semi-precious stones (those are next), the following gems make the longer list of rare gemstones:

  • Axinite: Translucent calcium aluminum borate silicate that’s usually golden-brown with strong pleochroism 

  • Bastnasite: Translucent brownish carbonate with rare earth elements, found in Sweden

  • Cavansite: Translucent to opaque azure-blue calcium vanadium silicate

  • Cinnabar: Delicate, translucent or opaque mercury sulfide in bright red to crimson, rare in crystal form

  • Crocoite: Soft, translucent saffron-red to red-orange lead chromate crystal

  • Euclase: Translucent beryllium silicate that’s usually baby-blue to colorless, sometimes bi-colored with both

  • Londonite: Very rare cesium-rich borate in translucent milky white or transparent yellow

  • Vesuvianite (Idocrase): Transparent, typically yellow-green calcium aluminum silicate discovered on Mount Vesuvius (unlisted varieties: cyprine, Californite, xanthite, wiluite)

  • Zincite: Translucent orange or red zinc oxide from New Jersey that’s very rare naturally, so it’s often synthetically produced

color-change alexandrite chrysoberyl gemstone facetedPixtured above: Alexandrite

Rarest Semi-Precious Gemstones

As of 2005, painite held the Guinness World Record for rarest gemstone mineral, but nearly 1,000 more painities have been discovered since. Regardless, here are the current rarest semi-precious stones (alphabetically):

  • Alexandrite: Transparent, red & green color-changing chrysoberyl containing chromium

  • Black Opal: Famously Australian opal variety with dark body tone and typically play-of-color

  • Benitoite: California’s transparent, sapphire-blue state gemstone

  • Grandidierite: Translucent cyan-colored magnesium aluminum borosilicate almost never big enough for faceting

  • Jade: Term for jadeite or nephrite, two silicates with different compositions and properties, most popularly green but also available in colors like purple, white, orange, and black (jadeite being rarest and most valuable)

  • Jeremejevite: Transparent, usually blue to violet aluminum borate

  • Larimar: Teal and white patterned pectolite variety exclusively from Dominican Republic

  • Musgravite: Transparent grayish-green to purple beryllium oxide that’s rarer than its taaffeite variety

  • Painite: Extremely rare, transparent red to brown borate containing zirconium and boron that’s only from Myanmar

  • Paraíba Tourmaline: Very rare, translucent, bright blue to green tourmaline only officially from Brazil

  • Poudretteite: Transparent pink, violet, or colorless cyclosilicate mineral from Canada

  • Red Beryl: Transparent to translucent crimson to orange beryl variety

  • Taaffeite: Transparent, usually mauve, musgravite

  • Tanzanite: Translucent, blue to violet (most valuable) zoisite variety exclusively from Tanzania

multi-gemstone ring - list of semi-precious and precious gemstones

Which Gem is Precious to You?

At the end of the day, precious and semi-precious classifications are helpful but not the definitive factors when purchasing gemstones. Whether you choose to adorn yourself in precious diamonds and emeralds or equally beautiful semi-precious stones, their true value is how they make you feel.  

Let your intuition guide you as you find the perfect gem for you!

Shop our extensive collection of precious and semi-precious gemstones today!

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