Colored Gemstones FAQs

Gemstones are beautiful to look at, and their various colors and sparkle make them amazing additions to fine jewelry. In today’s blog, the team at  Preusser Jewelers answers frequently asked questions about colored gems!

What is a gemstone?

Gemstones are a precious, or semiprecious “crystal” from mother nature, that almost always is cut, then polished into many shapes.  They are used in many designs, in all categories, 

There are so many kinds of gemstones!  Some are extremely rare, others are much more available.  They are measured for hardness by using the Mohs scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest.  Diamonds are a 10, opals are a 5 for example. 

What type of jewelry contains colored gemstones?

Gemstones are used in every kind of jewelry, including rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Gemstones that rate 7 or higher on the Mohs scale are better for everyday jewelry especially rings, as they take more knocks!  

What are the most popular colored gemstones?

One of the most desired gems is the diamond, which is highly sought after. The diamond is widely used in engagement rings, wedding bands, and anniversary jewelry, along with fashion designs.  

Other popular stones include the emerald, which is known for its beautiful, vivid green hue, the sapphire, which is usually a bright deep blue, and the ruby, which is a vivid red. These brightly colored gemstones are all popular choices for jewelry settings.

What are the birthstones for each month?


The January birthstone is the garnet. Garnets are usually thought of as a dark orangey-red, but they come in many colors, just not blue!


The February birthstone is amethyst. This stone ranges from a lighter almost pinkish lavender to a rich vibrant purple being the most desired. They are from the quartz family.


The March birthstone is aquamarine. The stone is named for its bluish-green color, which can resemble the color of a robin’s egg.  It comes from the same family of gems as emerald, which is beryl.


The April birthstone is diamond. Diamonds are usually thought of as white, but do occur in other very rare colors, like pink, blue and green to name a few.


The May birthstone is the emerald. Emeralds are known for their beautiful, rich deep green color, and is also beryl!  


June has two birthstones, pearl, and alexandrite. Pearls are usually thought of as creamy white and are found in various types of mollusks, but really come in many shades, and in some cases are dyed. They come from the ocean as well as fresh water.  Alexandrite is a very rare gem that can change colors when exposed to different lighting.  Very unique!


The July birthstone is ruby. Rubies at their finest, are a bright, vibrant red, and are the next hardest gem after diamond.  They are also the gem for a 40th anniversary.


The August birthstone is peridot, pronounced “peridoh”.  They can range from a lighter apple green to a rich lime, or a deep olive tone. They quite often have a subtle undertone of yellow. 


The September birthstone is the sapphire. Sapphires are usually known for their rich deep blue, but come in every color of the rainbow!  Take pink sapphire for example, when the pink is very deep and magenta or the stone has no pink at all but is red, that’s when it’s called ruby!  This group of gems is called corundum.  So, think of ruby as a red sapphire!  Also, blue sapphire is the 45th-anniversary gem! 


October also has two birthstones, opal, and tourmaline.  Opals can have a whitish background, with unusual play of color, or “black opal” which is far more rare and exhibits stunning plays of color. Tourmaline is a beautiful gem, that comes in a rainbow of colors.  They look amazing in a multi-stone design, using various colors of tourmaline!


The November birthstone is topaz or citrine.  Citrine is a member of the quartz family and can be pale yellow to gold to many shades of orange, and a rich deep brown. 

Topaz comes in a wide range of gold, and in its most rare form is called “precious topaz”, which is shades of peach.  Topaz is also blue with a very subtle hint of green, to the rich “London” blue to very light sky blue.


December has several birthstones as well, including tanzanite, and zircon.  Tanzanite is a unique combination of violet and blue.  When light enters and leaves the gem, tanzanite gives off those two rays of color.  That’s why some of our customers call it that “purply -blue stone”.  Zircon is the most refractive “sparkly” gem.  Its ability to refract light is second only to diamond! It also comes in many colors.  

Gemstones and Fine Jewelry at Preusser Jewelers

Stop by Preusser Jewelers, downtown Grand Rapids to see many types of fine jewelry! From unique engagement rings, wedding bands, and colored gemstone jewelry.  Contact Preusser Jewelers for more info.  Or stop on in!

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