Different colored gemstones have a long history as symbols of power and status, as indications of personality traits, as charms to ward off evil, and as preservers of good health.
According to one legend, a blue sapphire worn by a man indicated wisdom; on a woman, it meant jealousy. Today, some of the myth quality survives through the association of specific colored stones with particular zodiac signs, months of birth, and anniversaries.
At one time, the traditional choices of ruby, emerald and sapphire were labeled as “precious” with everything else was called “semi-precious.”
Now there are so many alternatives to the big three that have value in the marketplace, show comparable beauty, and have the same rich colors, that the distinction is hardly used anymore.
In colored gemstones, color is the most important determinant. In general, the closer the stone is to a pure spectral color, the more valuable it is.
As with diamonds, carat weight is an essential part of a gemstone’s value.
Clarity is not as much of an issue for gemstones as it is for diamonds. Flawless colored stones are even more rare than flawless diamonds.