Semi-Precious Stone Jewellery vs Precious Stone Jewellery: What’s the Difference?


Few accessories complement an outfit like a sparkling piece of jewellery. However, not all gemstones are created equal – or at least not in financial terms. Precious stones are generally valued at a higher price, while semi-precious stones present a more affordable option.

Confused about the difference between the two? Here’s a guide to help you.

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What’s a precious stone, exactly?

Only four stones are officially categorised as ‘precious’. These are diamond, ruby, emerald and sapphire. A few things distinguish them from their semi-precious counterparts. Their rarity plays a major part in elevating their value, along with their scratch-resistance. The fact that they’re hard stones means they don’t get damaged easily, which is a distinct advantage.

Precious stones are assessed by four criteria. These are:

  • Colour
  • Cut
  • Carat
  • Clarity

It’s important to note that they’re not always more valuable than semi-precious stones. For example, a low-quality precious stone may well cost less than its high-quality semi-precious counterpart.


The classic white diamond is the most famous of the precious stones, and is a common feature in wedding rings. A diamond’s exact shade is categorised as letters of the alphabet, with D being the most flawless. Yellow diamonds are also used fairly often in jewellery-making. 

However, diamonds do come in other colours too. Red, blue, pink, orange and green diamonds are also available, though these are far rarer.


When people think of a sapphire, the classic deep blue coloration comes to mind; but again, this precious stone comes in all sorts of colours. Many sapphires originate from Asia, though they can sometimes come from Africa or South America too.


Emeralds are always green; though their hue can range from light green to a deep green-black. Large emeralds are incredibly rare, and as a result, they’re hugely expensive – much more so than a diamond of the equivalent size.


Rubies are always red, though sometimes they’re almost light enough to be called pink. Those that are purple or orange in colour tend to be worth slightly less.

Shop all our precious stone jewellery here >

What’s a semi-precious stone?

In simple terms, a semi-precious stone is any gemstone that’s not categorised as precious. This includes (to list just a few):

  • Garnet
  • Turquoise
  • Rose Quartz
  • Opal
  • Amethyst
  • Jade
  • White pearl
  • Tanzanite

Semi-precious stones are less rare, which means they’re typically more affordable. That’s not to say they’re cheaper-looking or less attractive, though. In fact, some semi-precious stones are highly prized. For example, a rare white pearl is likely to cost more than an average quality diamond.

These stones are usually less hard than precious stones, so might scratch more easily. As such, it’s important to take care of them.

Shop all our semi-precious stone jewellery here >

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Which is right for you?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and  we recommend selecting gemstone jewellery that you’re drawn to on an aesthetic level; rather than selecting a piece based solely on its value.

It’s good to have a range of each in your collection too – with something to suit every occasion. For example, dazzling pearl earrings are sure to grab attention when combined with a little black dress, while a ruby necklace always looks amazing with a classic white shirt.

Our Fine Jewellery collection offers a range of precious and semi-precious stone jewellery including earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings in an assortment of gemstones. Shop our fabulous collection here.

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