What You Should Know About Natural Gemstones?

Natural gemstones are minerals, rocks or pieces of organic matter that can be cut, polished and fashioned into jewelry or other ornamentation.

Some would say that only untreated gems should be considered while others would say it is acceptable to include those that have been enhanced in some way. Many vendors use the term “genuine” to indicate that a stone is real but has been treated to enhance its appearance. For the sake of time and argument, we won’t be making a differentiation between treated and untreated stones here.

As you may have figured out by now, the main difference between natural gemstones and man made gemstones is pretty simple. The first are created by the Earth and the elements without interference or assistance from humans, while the second are grown and/or created with the aid of human hands.

Natural Gemstones

Minerals and organic materials form in many different environments in the Earth. Depending on the conditions and elements present at the time, different gemstones can be formed.

Where Do Gemstones Form?

There are several areas in the Earth where a gemstone can form. Some examples would be:

Formations from Water near the Earth’s Surface

Water near the Earth’s surface can interact with minerals and dissolve them. The mineral that forms depends on what elements where present at the time. If water interacts with silica-rich rocks, natural gemstones such as quartz can be formed. If water interacts with copper-rich rocks, malachite or turquoise can result.

What You Should Know About Natural Gemstones?

Magmatic Gems

These form in open cavities, or holes made by gas bubbles in volcanic rocks. Examples of these natural gemstones would include zircon and ruby.


Pegmatites are formed in unusual magma bodies. When a part of the magma body is rich in water and other unusual elements, it is sometimes expelled from the main magma body and will solidify to form a pegmatite. If the magma is rich in beryllium, beryl may form. If it’s rich in boron, tourmaline may form.

Metamorphic Gems

These grow inside rocks that have been changed by heat or pressure. Some examples of natural gemstones found in this type of rock can include garnet and jade. If pressure in metamorphic rocks is high enough, diamonds may form. However, this is a very rare occurrence.

Gems Formed in the Mantle

Some minerals such as peridot are formed when slabs of mantle material are brought to the surface through tectonic and/or volcanic activity. Gems such as diamonds are usually formed about 100 miles below the surface of the earth and carried up by magma.

What does all of this mean to you?

As you can see, very specific circumstances have to be present in order for gemstones to form. When you consider all the factors, it’s a miracle that it even happens at all! Taking all of this into consideration, the logical conclusion is that gemstones formed by the earth and the elements will typically be more expensive and/or valuable than man made ones. The circumstances under which they are created happen by chance rather than human intervention, making their existence considerably rarer.

This means that when you are considering purchasing a loose gemstone or gemstone jewelry, you should know if the gem you’re buying is man made or not. Make sure to ask questions. A reputable dealer or merchant should be able to tell you the origin of the stone.

This is not to say that man made gems are not beautiful and shouldn’t be purchased at all. On the contrary, they can be a great alternative if a natural gemstone is not in your budget. However, you should know what you’re paying for before you make the purchase.

The Bottom Line

Gemstones created by the Earth and the elements will typically be more valuable to you in the long run, even though a man made one may appear less flawed. If you are looking for rarity or trying to make an investment, going with the natural gemstone would be the smart choice. These may be a great choice for you to consider!