The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the History of Gemstones is a credible reference for learning more about the history and properties of each gemstone.

The Ultimate Guide To Understanding the History of Gemstones 

For centuries, people have speculated about the magical abilities of precious stones like rubies, diamonds, and emeralds, leading to stories and curses. The likes of aristocrats, affluent collectors, and Hollywood stars have developed a genuine interest in them.

The respect and admiration people have for these precious jewels are even more compelling than the jewels themselves. However, which characteristics of these crystals and gemstones have made them so coveted and valued throughout history?

These are only a handful of the topics covered in this guide. We will investigate the history and attributes of these natural wonders.

What Are Gemstones ?

Gemstones are minerals, rocks, or organic materials handpicked for their rarity, durability, and aesthetic value before being cut, polished, and set in jewelry. Some gemstones are too soft or fragile to be utilized in jewelry and instead find homes in museums or the hands of avid collectors.

A Brief Overview of the History of Gemstones 

Based on the present archaeological evidence and recorded history of gemstones, these are some of the most relevant dates regarding the initial use of gems by various civilizations.

  •  Modern Afghanistan’s Hindy Kush Region: According to archaeological evidence, Lapis lazuli may be the oldest gemstone ever mined by humans. Those who lived in the Hindu Kush region in the Neolithic era made use of it. 
  •  Egypt : Lapis lazuli and amethyst were used in Egyptian jewelry as early as 4000 BC based on historical findings.
  •  China : Jade is the world’s oldest gemstone, with references appearing in Chinese historical literature as far back as 3600 BC.
  •  India : Diamonds were initially discovered and used by Indians around 300 BC.
  • Greece: Between 1600 BC and 500 BC, diamonds were used for various purposes in both Greece and the Roman Empire. In both societies, people often wore amulets crafted from precious stones like sapphires, garnets, and pearls.

Gemology: A Brief History 

When learning about the history of gemstones, we must recognize gemology. In 1908, jeweler Samuel Barnett of Peterborough, Britain, traveled to London for a convention hosted by the National Association of Goldsmiths.

He spoke up at the meeting and suggested that gemology classes may benefit the jewelry sector. The proposal received widespread approval, and as a result, an official body for gemological education was established.

This is where the science of gems (gemology) originated, and the British Gemological Association (Gem-A) came into being. The Gemological Institute of America was founded in the latter part of 1931.

Gemstones: Types and Their Stories

1. Sapphires

According to expert jewelers from  jewellery stores in Vail, sapphires are a popular choice of gem for engagement rings. Their stunning blue hue and profound symbolism make them a popular option. Ancient cultures used sapphires to symbolize a sacred vow based on values such as honesty, purity, trustworthiness, and loyalty.

2. Aquamarine

Named after the Latin word for seawater, “aqua marina,” the precious stone known as aquamarine is a true ocean treasure. Those who wore it were thought to be blessed with good health, hope, peace, and happiness. In addition, aquamarine is a symbol of rekindled love, friendship, and spiritual aspiration. Besides being the March birthstone, it is also a traditional gift for an 18th wedding anniversary.

3. Garnet

Red garnet is the most popular color and the most well-known type. Historically, individuals have carried garnets on their travels to ward off ill luck and help them sleep at night. In addition, this January birthstone is usually given as a gesture of affection on the couple’s second wedding anniversary because of their association with love and passion.

4. Emerald

Emeralds are the birthstone for May and the traditional gift for the 20th and 30th wedding anniversaries. It has been highly sought after for centuries, dating back to the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, who valued them for the status symbol that their regal green color represented. Emeralds have traditionally been considered lucky because of their etymological ties to health and wealth.

5. Ruby

This vibrant red gemstone has long been linked to feelings of love and passion, and legend has it that an infinite fire burns within it. The ruby’s blood-red hue may be associated with the courage it represents, but it also makes a beautiful addition to any piece of jewelry. The ruby, the birthstone for July, is customarily given to spouses on their 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.

Key Takeaway 

Humans, in particular, have always been fascinated by precious stones. In a nutshell, gemstones reflect our humanity. Humans have worn jewelry throughout history because of its deeper meanings and the personal, historical, and cultural relevance of the stories they tell. Now that we have this background on the history and properties of gemstones, we can understand their significance. This invaluable knowledge will also help us appreciate what these precious stones represent in our history as well as with ourselves.