Semiprecious Gemstones: A Touch of Brilliance in Your Jewelry

Blue druzy quartz cuff

Blue druzy quartz cuff

Any gemstone that is not a diamond, ruby, sapphire or emerald is considered a semiprecious stone. This is not to say these gems are less valuable or desirable than precious stones, but in most cases, they are considered “semi” precious simply because they are more abundant. In fact, this terminology was started in the West for marketing purposes and is no longer in favor—now it is more common to refer to semiprecious and precious stones as “gemstones.”     

So, even though diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds still connote wealth and have a lot of sparkle, many of “semiprecious” gemstones have a more interesting and unique look that can take a piece of jewelry from run-of-the-mill to fabulous.

Some of these stones stand out for their fantastic color, like tourmaline—which comes in every color of the rainbow—and boulder opals. Others gemstones have a natural sparkle, like drusy quartz with its crystalline texture. Still others, such as Montana agate or Picasso stone, look like natural paintings with their own little pictures etched onto their surfaces by Mother Nature.

Boulder opal and sunstone necklace

Boulder opal and sunstone necklace

Personally, I like to use stones that are unpolished with a natural surface. Here are a few of my favorites and why I find them so irresistible:

Pyrite embedded in slate

These two stones create an off-balance yet harmonious look when used together. The smooth, matte surface of the slate is juxtaposed with the rough, shiny surface of the pyrite—which some of you may know by its nickname, “Fool’s Gold.” The gleaming look of the pyrite embedded in the gray surface of the slate is like sneak peek of the beauty that lies beneath the surface.  

Drusy quartz

As mentioned above, I adore this stone and its sparkly textured pattern. Because it comes in a variety of different colors and patterns, it gives an almost other-worldly quality to the jewelry it’s used in.

Natural surface astrophyllite

Astrophyllite fireworks necklace

Astrophyllite fireworks necklace

Another stone that is seemingly out of this world in its looks and properties is astrophyllite. Even the name of this very special composition of hydrous, potassium, iron, titanium and silicate literally translates from Greek as “star leaf.” Its soft, bladed surface and golden-yellow or coppery bronze color, can reflect light in an almost haunting way. As legend has it, this stone will help you find your life’s purpose as it illuminates your true self.

Rough Tsavorite garnet

The brilliant, almost startlingly green of this garnet is magnified by its highly refractive surface, which gives off an intense sparkle. Both the color and composition of this garnet make this gem appear to glow--it’s the perfect stone to make a piece of jewelry pop.


Do you have a favorite gemstone you don’t see mentioned above? Contact me today and we can discuss a custom creation that highlights your favorite gem.  

Lori Gottlieb