What Are The 5 Most Common Gemstones?

Gemstones have been prized by humans for thousands of years. Their beauty, rarity and durability make them highly desirable. While there are over a hundred different types of gemstones, most jewelry uses just a handful of the most popular ones. Here are the 5 most common gemstones used in jewelry today:

  1. Diamond

The diamond is by far the most popular gemstone, especially for engagement rings and other fine jewelry. Diamonds are the hardest natural material on Earth, rating 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Their durability and sparkling brilliance make them extremely desirable. Diamonds form deep in the Earth’s mantle under intense heat and pressure. They are extracted from kimberlite pipes and some alluvial deposits. While most diamonds are colorless, colored diamonds in shades of yellow, brown, pink, blue and green also occur.

  1. Ruby

Rubies get their signature red color from trace amounts of chromium. They are a form of the mineral corundum, rating 9 on the Mohs scale. The most prized rubies exhibit a deep, vivid red color. Large, fine rubies are more rare and valuable than comparably sized diamonds. Rubies form in marble through contact metamorphism and are found in a few locations worldwide, including Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Mozambique.

  1. Sapphire

Sapphires are also a variety of corundum. Trace elements like iron and titanium give them blue, purple, yellow and green colors. The most coveted sapphires are a rich medium blue. Sapphires form through the same geological processes as rubies and are found in many of the same locations. Some famous sapphires include the Rockefeller Sapphire and the Logan Sapphire at the Smithsonian Institution.

  1. Emerald

Emeralds get their green color from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium. They are a variety of the mineral beryl (like aquamarine). Colombian emeralds are considered the finest, with few inclusions and deep green color. Emeralds form in metamorphic and pegmatitic rocks. Important sources include Colombia, Zambia, Brazil and Zimbabwe.

  1. Amethyst

Amethyst is the most highly valued variety of quartz. Iron and manganese impurities give amethyst its violet to deep purple tones. Most amethyst is mined in Brazil, but it’s also found in Zambia, Mexico and parts of Asia and Europe. Amethysts occur in igneous and metamorphic rocks. They occasionally form enormous geodes lined with crystals. The largest amethyst geode, found in Brazil, weighs over 12 tons!

While fancy colored diamonds and large gem-quality rubies and sapphires are quite rare, most jewelry uses these 5 common yet beautiful gemstones. Their beauty is timeless, and they will likely continue to be prized for many centuries to come.