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Semi-Precious Stones vs. Precious Stones

Gemstones are commonly split into two groups: precious stones and semi-precious stones. This breakdown refers to their difference in rarity. Some stones are rarer than precious stones, but they're still categorized as semi-precious due to a lack of demand. The combination of the popularity and rarity of gemstones determines the classification, and they can be removed from or added to the precious classification as the market changes. Here are some common of the common differences between semi-precious and precious stones. 

Semi-Precious Stones

Precious Stones

Cost Perception

Not expensiveExpensive

Gemstone Type

All other gemstonesDiamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald


Not rare to rare Rare

Semi-Precious Stones

Advantages of Semi-Precious Stones

  • Available in various colors - Most stones are considered semi-precious, so you can find a broad range of options and of colors.
  • More affordable option - Since they're thought of as more common, they're often less expensive.

Limitations of Semi-Precious Stones

  • Lesser value - Because they're perceived as semi-precious they're often not as valuable and don’t make good investments.
  • Less durability - Semi-precious stones tend to be lower on the hardness scale, making them more susceptible to cracks and chips.

Browse all semi-precious stones

Precious Stones

Advantages of Precious Stones

  • Higher value - Tend to be appraised at a higher value, so they can become an investment.
  • Very durable - Most precious stones are highly rated on the hardness scale, making them as durable as they are beautiful.
Limitations of Precious Stones
  • Value can change frequently - There's no guarantee that a stone will always be considered precious, and a precious stone tends to be graded and appraised more harshly than a semi-precious one.
  • Fewer options - Limited to specific gemstone colors when purchasing precious fine jewelry.
Browse all precious stones