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Gemstones are pieces of mineral crystals. When cut and polished, these precious stones create beautiful jewelry. Rings featuring a gemstone are a classic and timeless piece of jewelry. Gemstones are often chosen based on the wearer's birth month or birthstone, but some stones are also associated with health or mood advantages. Our guide will describe common gemstones to feature in a ring.
A Word About Durability
The hardness of gemstones is rated according to the Mohs scale. This scale determines not only hardness but how suitable the gemstone is for everyday wear in jewelry.
Gems with a higher number on the scale are associated with more excellent durability, making them better options for a ring that's worn daily. Softer gems can still be worn daily but require special cleaning and should be removed before activities that could scratch or damage them.
Diamonds are known to be the hardest gemstone on the Mohs scale. As such, they are extremely durable. Additionally, diamonds occur in various colors - steel gray, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink, brown, and black. The purest diamonds are completely clear and colorless. Diamonds are featured in many ring settings, but the setting most people think of first is a traditional engagement or wedding ring.
Read more about diamonds in this post: 11 Types Of Diamond Cuts
The sapphire rates high on the Mohs scale, making it a durable stone suitable for daily wear. While blue is the color commonly associated with sapphires, they are also found in yellow, pink, orange, and white. Sapphires symbolize truth and faithfulness. They are the second most popular gemstone after diamonds.
Emeralds are a slightly softer stone than sapphires on the Mohs scale, which means they will require a bit more care to prevent damaging the stone. To avoid damage, remove your ring before any activities that could scratch it and clean it with a soft cloth about three times a week.
Rubies are durable hard stones according to the Mohs scale. They make an excellent choice in jewelry that will be worn daily. Rubies can vary from pink to a deep blood red and are a very striking stone. The ruby represents nobility, purity, and passion.
Amethyst is similar in hardness to an emerald. It makes a good choice for daily wear jewelry with just a little extra care to prevent scratching. Shades of amethyst vary from light lavender to a deep purple, which can even appear black in specific lighting. Some people attribute calming and meditative properties to amethyst.
Morganite is a durable stone suitable for everyday wear. This gemstone is a pale pink to a peach-colored stone that has recently become a popular alternative to a traditional diamond engagement ring. The color of morganite looks beautiful mounted in a rose gold metal setting. While morganite is a rare gemstone, it is still surprisingly affordable.
If you are interested in diamond alternatives for engagement rings, check out our post, "7 Best Gemstones For Engagement Rings."
Garnets are a color similar to a ruby but without the higher price tag associated with rubies. A hard stone, garnets are appropriate for daily wear. Garnets are a symbol of friendship and are supportive of energy levels.
Peridot is stone with a green hue ranging from pure green to a greenish-yellow. It has a moderate hardness on the Mohs scale, requiring some care not to scratch it. Peridot that appears brown in color is considered a lower quality stone.
Onyx has a lower Mohs scale rating and can scratch, chip, or crack easily. You'll want to remove this ring when you are doing housework or any physical activities. The onyx stone represents protection. This gemstone is a striking black color that matches well with many fashion styles.
Turquoise is a stone that is comprised of shades of blue, green, and yellow. It is a soft gemstone and can scratch easily. Because of turquoise's porosity, protect it by making sure to take it off before showering or any water exposure. You'll also want to make sure not to wear it while applying makeup or lotions. Turquoise pairs well with laid-back boho styles.
Pearls are found in several shades - white, cream, black, gray, and silver. They are very soft and scratch easily. To protect it from damage, a pearl ring is intended for dress wear and not meant to be an everyday wear piece. Store your pearls in a soft cloth pouch to protect them from damage.
Tanzanite's color ranges from blue, bluish-purple, to bluish violet. As a softer stone, it can scratch over time if it is worn daily. Tanzanite has become another popular substitution in engagement rings but will require some care to prevent damage.
Aquamarine is a durable stone well suited to daily wear. It cannot be damaged easily. Aquamarine is a light blue to bluish-green stone. This stone symbolizes tranquility, serenity, and harmony. You can also choose aquamarine as a stone for an engagement ring. Very light stones mimic the appearance of a diamond.
Opals are beautiful stones that require special care. You should remove your opal before any activities that could damage it. Opals may easily crack or break in dry conditions or rapid temperature changes. Because of this, do not clean opals in an ultrasonic cleaner, but instead, clean with a mild detergent in warm water with a soft cloth or toothbrush. Do not soak or immerse your opal ring in water.
Store an opal ring in a soft padded cloth bag. If storing it for a more extended period of time, wrap the ring in cotton wool with a few drops of water to keep it from drying out and place it in a sealed plastic bag.
This is another stone that is quite soft on the Mohs scale and can be easily scratched. Amber is a substance that is actually created from the fossilization of tree resin. Colors of amber range from translucent light yellow, dull black and opaque, to brown. As with opal, do not use an ultrasonic cleaner with amber. Instead, rub with a soft dry cloth to clean. Store amber in a soft pouch to prevent scratches.
Making Your Selection
There is a wide variety of choices available in gemstones for ring settings. The stone's cut and setting will also showcase its beauty in addition to the stone's color. Finishes in settings further highlight the effects of a beautiful central stone. When shopping for gemstone rings, consider if you want to wear your ring as a daily jewelry item or if it will be reserved for special occasions. This will help you decide on an appropriate stone that you won't have to worry about damaging.
If you have a ring that has been handed down to you, you may wonder how valuable it is. Our post "Do Rings Go Up In Value" will answer your questions.