Gemstones and Their Meaning– A Review

Most gemstones are extremely beautiful and have long been used to create jewelry of all types.  In the west, the term “precious” stone applies to diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires whereas “semi-precious” can be applied to all other gems, although this designation is probably assigned for commercial purposes by marketers in order to give the impression that some stones are more valuable than others.  To be sure, gemstones and their meaning is not an exact science since it changes depending on where in the world you are, and what culture you come from.

In reality, the true value is normally assigned through the same mechanism that applies to all things bought and sold: supply an demand.  But for some people, the value of a piece of jewelry is often related to the meaning that the piece brings to the person, and or to those who are dear to the person.  This is how some special pieces of jewelry are passed from one generation to the next, and in doing so, the value to the specific family members involved is bound to increase.

Associations Made to Gemstones

Some interesting associations have been made over time between gemstones and certain events, dates, and even the zodiac.  The following three exemplify this fact:

  • Each month of the year is associated with at least one gemstone, and in some cases with as many as three.
  • Anniversaries is another traditional association with enough variety to go around for at least 75 yearly anniversaries.
  • Zodiac signs are also associated, although with only 12 zodiac signs to go around and many, many gems available to cover them, things can get a bit confusing. Sapphire (September) for instance, is associated with the Taurus Zodiac sign, the Libra Planetary sign, and the Pisces, Taurus, Virgo, and Sagittarius Sun signs.

Some cultures also associate a certain meaning to different gemstones.  Amethyst, for instance is thought to have a soothing capability, as well as the power to stimulate emotions and the mind.  Turquoise was used early on as an amulet for protection and was thought to convey status and wealth.  Peridot, known as the “Study Stone” was thought to help in efforts to learn new skills by allowing greater concentration. 

There is much information on the topic of health and healing powers on the net and a more focused investigation is liable to yield large quantities of information.  As a primer (or an enticement), one site offers the following topics:

  • Balance and focus
  • Health and wellness
  • Love and Happiness
  • New Beginnings
  • Passion and creativity
  • Protection and clearing
  • Spirituality and faith
  • Wealth and success

Wealth and success captivated my attention, and on further exploration I was advised that “…if [I] want to attract money and success into [my] life, crystals like Aventurine, Jade, and Malachite are a must have…”.  I’m not sure of the soundness of such advice, but it’s possible that when I get some money, I’ll take another look into adding Aventurine to my collection.

All joking aside, there is no doubt that some of these stones are just precious, even if not commercially classified as such.  Aquamarine, for my taste, has such brilliancy that it’s almost hypnotizing.  Likewise Topaz, has so many colors that it’s difficult to pick the prettiest one of all.

Gemstones come in all colors

Gemstones are found in all colors of the rainbow (and more), Starting with black (no colors) through gray, blue, aqua, brown, green, orange, pink, purple, red, yellow, and white (all colors together).  And of course the multicolored stones (which probably include indigo and violet). In fact, gemstone collectors tend to organize gems by color, even though the standard way to organize them is by species and variety.  The following color scheme identifies four examples for each color listed.  Note that Sapphire comes in all colors except Red and Multicolored.

  • Red— Ex. Ruby, Garnet, Rhodolite, and Cuprite.
  • Blue—Ex. Blue Sapphire, Aquamarine, Benitoite, and Blue Topaz
  • Green—Ex. Green Sapphire, Emerald, Peridot, and Jade
  • Pink—Ex. Pink Sapphire, Morganite, and Rhodochrosite
  • Yellow, Gold, and Bronze—Yellow Sapphire, Citrine, Scapolite, and Imperial Topaz
  • Orange— Ex. Orange Sapphire, Mexican Opal, Citrine, and Sphalerite
  • Violet and Purple— Ex. Violet Sapphire, Amethyst, Chalcedony, and Scapolite
  • White and Colorless— Ex. White Sapphire, Diamond, Danburite, and Moonstone
  • Multicolored—Ex. Bi-color Tourmarine, Ametrine, Precious Opal, and Multicolor Florite
  • Color Change—Ex. Color-Change Sapphire, Color-Change Alexandrite, Color-Change Garnet, and Color-Change Flourite
  • Star and Cat’s Eye—Ex. Blue Star Sapphire, Black Star Sapphire, Star Ruby, and Actinolite Cat’s Eye


The List of Stones Found in Nature is Long 

A cursory search on the web yielded over 150 semi-precious stones, not all of them well known, of course, but all qualifying as semiprecious.  Another search provided a chart with images of at least 80 different gems, including the precious (and much prized) diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire.  When these numbers are applied to the multiple talents of many artisans in many lands, the resulting number of designs is innumerable. 

So the topic of Gemology (science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials) is interesting indeed.  Once you begin your journey into the world of gemstones, there’s no telling where you’ll end up, or when you’ll decide to stop the journey.  With the advent of the Internet, many purveyors of fine jewelry are making use of the opportunity it provides to show their wares.  And with the almost endless imagination of artisans who seem intent on producing newer and better ways for bringing out the beauty of multiple gemstones, well, the possibilities are endless.


What’s Your Take?  How would you define gemstones and their meaning?

Please let me know what you think of this topic, and whether you feel that I’ve done justice to it.  Doubtless, much information has been left out because there’s just so much of it to be had, all of it interesting.  So much so, that it’s been difficult to select the details that deserve mention.  At any rate, I’d be most grateful to you, if you took a minute to send your opinion my way.


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hi Hugo,

    Good to be here again today.You probably have touched on every point I have always wanted to ask about gem, you have really done justice to my curiosities. As a matter of fact I never knew anniversaries do have their type of jewel too. This gave me a bright idea about surprising friends on their anniversaries. 

    I must admit I find it insightful to read your blogging. Keep up the good work.

    1. Ayodeji:

      Thanks for commenting.  I’m glad you found the article interesting; I certainly enjoyed writing it.  With as much subject matter as there is on the subject, I plan to write additional articles on the same topic, I hope that you’ll have a chance to come back and visit again, sometime soon.

      Thanks again,


  2. Hi Hugo, thank you for this post. You have done a great job writing about gem stones. I particularly love precious stones and I like reading about them. Just one gem stone could even make a whole post. There is so much to say about each of them. I learnt something about sapphires, I never knew they came in so many colours! 

    1. Thanks for your comments Juliet.  I enjoyed writing the article.  Among the first things I learned as I researched the subject, was the fact that there is way too much to say about it.  You are absolutely right: if you focus on a single stone, it’ll be a while before you run out of descriptive material.

      Thanks again,


  3. Thanks for this nice post. i never knew before now that each month of the year is associated with at least one gemstone,i just always see them as casual stuffs used especially in fashion. Also i didn’t know initially that there are vary many varieties of colors not until after being educated from your post. I look forward to reading more of your posts in this area as i really gained a lot. Thanks so much

    1. Thanks for your comment, it means a lot to me.  I’m glad you found the article interesting, and yes, I do plan to expand on it through additional articles with a bit of time.  I hope that you’ll return to take another peak in the near future.

      Thanks again,


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