What Are Gemstones?

Gemstones bring a pop of color to any jewelry collection. The right gemstone can add the final touch of perfection to any great outfit. But did you know, according to legend, that certain gemstones and birthstones are said to have mystical healing powers?

Whether you believe in ancient myths and superstition, or you just want to learn more about a great piece of jewelry, you’re in the right place. Helzberg Diamonds is proud to offer a large variety of gemstone jewelry, and knowing more about it — including knowing how to clean and care for it — will help you get the most value out of your collection.

Gemstone basics

precious vs semi-precious gemstones

What’s the difference between precious gemstones and semi-precious gemstones? It all comes down to rarity. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are very rare, and are therefore considered precious stones. In general, all other gemstones are considered semi-precious stones.

natural vs lab-created gemstones

Natural gemstones are found in nature, created deep in the Earth and mined out of it.

Lab-created gemstones, on the other hand, are formed in laboratories by human hands and machines. They are chemically, physically, and optically identical to gems found in nature.

Gemstone color, clarity, and carat


Also known as the gem’s hue. Generally, gemstones with clear, medium-tone, intense and saturated primary colors are most preferred. Of course, gemstones come in many different shades and colors, so it’s possible to find one that perfectly matches what you’re looking for.


The appearance of inclusions in the gem. Inclusions can look like small spots or imperfections within the actual stone. Some gems, such as emeralds, are more likely to have inclusions. Other gemstones, such as aquamarine and topaz, generally have very few inclusions, or even none at all.


The weight of the gemstone. It’s important to recognize that some gems are more dense than others. This means different types of gems that are similar in size may still differ greatly in value. For example, a one carat ruby (very dense) is going to be smaller than a one carat emerald (less dense).

Gemstone care and cleaning

The best and safest way to keep your gemstone jewelry clean is to bring it in to your local Helzberg Diamonds store, any time, for a complimentary cleaning and inspection. We’re happy to keep your jewelry shining bright. And if your jewelry or stone is vintage or antique, damaged, cracked, or broken, or of very high value, it’s best to let the professionals take care of it for you.

For cleaning at home, it’s best to start with the most mild treatments first. Using a jewelry polishing cloth, wipe lightly over the areas that need a polish. If you don’t have a polishing cloth, svelte fabric will work. But make sure you don’t use facial tissue or paper towels, as the fibers in these kinds of materials can actually cause scratches and degrade the quality of your jewelry. For best results, use lukewarm water, as hot water may react with cleaning fluids or otherwise cause discoloration. And never use cleaning agents!

Remember, pearls are not gemstones — but you can learn about pearl care here Lastly, don’t clean your jewelry and gemstones over a sink, since it just may end up down the drain!


According to many legends, gemstones and birthstones are said to possess mystical healing powers. While in modern times we often wear our birthstone all year long, in the old days it was recommended that you own all twelve stones and alternate them monthly so you were always getting the full effect of that month’s magic.

  • January : Garnet
  • February : Amethyst
  • March : Aquamarine
  • April : Diamond & White Sapphire
  • May : Emerald
  • June : Pearl
  • July : Ruby
  • August : Peridot
  • September : Sapphire
  • October : Opal
  • November : Citrine
  • December : Topaz

Not all gemstones are birthstones. Juneau Diamonds also has collections of other gemstones, including popular moissanite. If you have more questions about gemstones and caring for your gemstone jewelry.