Know How to Identify Natural Gemstones

Posted on June 22nd, 2023 03:59 PM

What are Natural Gemstones?

Natural gemstones are minerals or rocks that have been formed over millions of years through natural geological processes. They are found in the earth's crust and are prized for their beauty, rarity, and durability. Natural gemstones come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, each with its unique characteristics and effects.

Gemstones are created through a combination of heat, pressure, and various chemical elements within the Earth's crust. The process of their formation involves a combination of geological forces such as magma cooling and solidifying, crystallization from mineral-rich solutions, and the metamorphic transformation of existing minerals.

Whether you're a gem enthusiast, a jewelry lover, or simply curious about these precious stones, knowing how to identify natural gemstones is an essential skill. With an abundance of artificial and treated gemstones on the market, being able to differentiate between natural and man-made gems can help you make informed purchasing decisions and appreciate the true value of these wonders of nature.

Different Types of Natural Gemstones:

natural gemstones

Each gemstone type has its unique color variations, hardness levels, crystal structures, and symbolic meanings. When you exploring the world of natural gemstones reveals an extraordinary kaleidoscope of beauty and rarity. Here you can explore the enchanting domain of natural gemstones, popular types, and their specialties that make them truly extraordinary. 

Precious Gemstones:

precious gemstones

Diamonds: Renowned for their brilliance and durability, diamonds are composed of carbon and are the hardest natural substance on Earth.

Rubies: Treasured for their vibrant red hues, rubies gemstone belong to the corundum mineral family and are highly valued for their rarity and beauty.

Sapphires: Known for their captivating blue tones, sapphires are also part of the corundum family and are available in a spectrum of colors.

Colored Gemstones:

colored gemstones

Emeralds: Admired for their rich green color, emeralds gemstone are a variety of the mineral beryl and often display natural inclusions known as "Jardin."

Amethysts: With their regal purple hues, amethysts are a type of quartz and are prized for their affordability and spiritual symbolism.

Aquamarines: Evoking the tranquil beauty of the sea, aquamarine stone display shades of blue and are associated with serenity and clarity.

Organic Gemstones:

organic gemstones

Pearls: Born from the depths of the ocean, pearl gemstone are formed inside the shells of certain mollusks and are renowned for their lustrous iridescence and creamy colors.

Amber: Fossilized tree resin, amber showcases warm hues and often contains ancient plant or insect inclusions, offering a glimpse into the past.

Common Tests Used to Identify Natural Gemstones:

Embarking on the enchanting odyssey of discerning natural gemstones is a mesmerizing voyage that demands a blend of erudition, keen observation, and seasoned familiarity. By acquainting oneself with the kaleidoscope of gem types, delving into their inherent traits, and attending to the nuances of color, lucidity, idiosyncrasies, and optical allure, one can amplify their acumen in distinguishing genuine gemstones from their imitative or treated counterparts.

Here in lie pivotal facets to contemplate when unraveling the enigma of natural gemstones:

Familiarize Yourself with Gemstone Types:

Primarily, immerse yourself in a lexicon of gemstone diversity, comprehending their distinct attributes. Immerse in the symphony of colors they exude, unravel the tapestry of transparency, grasp the fortitude that sets them apart, and behold the minutiae that grant each gem its unique identity. This trove of wisdom shall be the bedrock for the astute identification of natural gemstones.

Read more: How to Identify Natural Gemstones

Observe Color and Clarity:

Natural gemstones often exhibit unique color variations and inclusions. While synthetic gemstones may have flawless appearances, natural gems usually contain minor imperfections, known as inclusions, which are natural occurrences during their formation. 

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Check for Natural Flaws:

Look for irregularities like growth lines, surface pits, or crystal formations that are specific to natural gemstones. These imperfections are a testament to their organic origin and can help distinguish them from their man-made counterparts.

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Examine Optical Properties:

Some gemstones, like opals gemstone or moon+stones, exhibit play-of-color or adularescence, while others, like alexandrite or color-change sapphires, change their color under different lighting conditions. Use a jeweler's loupe or a light source to examine these optical phenomena, as they are typical of natural gemstones.

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Seek Professional Assistance:

If you're uncertain about identifying natural gemstones on your own, it's always a good idea to consult a reputable gemologist or a certified gemstone appraiser. Their guidance can provide you with invaluable insights and help you make informed decisions.

Methods of Gemstone Identification: 

Gemstones are valued for their rarity, beauty, and durability. However, identifying gemstones accurately can be a complex task due to the wide variety of gemstone types and their visual similarities. Gemologists and experts use various methods to identify gemstones based on their physical and optical properties. Some commonly used identification methods for gemstones are:

Magnification and Inclusion Analysis:

Magnification and inclusion analysis are essential methods used in gemstone identification. It involves examining gemstones under high magnification to observe their internal characteristics, known as inclusions. This method provides valuable information about a gemstone's origin, type, and authenticity. In the inclusion examination, gemstones often contain internal characteristics, such as minerals, gases, or fractures, which are known as inclusions.

Magnification and inclusion analysis are critical methods used in conjunction with other identification techniques to accurately identify gemstones. It requires expertise and experience to interpret the inclusions correctly and draw conclusions about the gemstone's characteristics, origin, and treatment history.

Hardness and Cleavage: 

Hardness and cleavage are important factors evaluated in the identification of gemstones. These characteristics provide valuable information about a gemstone's physical properties and can help differentiate between similar-looking gemstone varieties. Hardness refers to a gemstone's resistance to scratching and is determined by the strength of its atomic bonds. By comparing the hardness of an unknown gemstone to known minerals on the Mohs scale, gemologists can narrow down the possibilities and identify potential gemstone types.

Gemologists use various methods to determine the hardness of a gemstone. Gemstones with good cleavage exhibit clean, flat breaks when struck or under stress. The presence and quality of cleavage can help identify a gemstone and differentiate it from others.

Gemstone Testing Instruments: 

Gemstone testing instruments play a crucial role in the identification and evaluation of gemstones. These specialized tools (Digital Calipers, Diamond Tester, UV-Vis Spectrophotometer, Dichroscope, Microscope, Polariscope, Refractometer, Spectroscope, and more) are designed to measure and analyze specific properties of gemstones, assisting gemologists and experts in their identification process. 

These gemstone testing mechanisms, when used in combination with visual examination and other identification methods, provide gemologists and experts with comprehensive information to accurately identify gemstones, assess their quality, and detect any treatments or enhancements. 

Visual Examination: 

Visual examination is one of the fundamental and initial methods used in gemstone identification. Gemologists rely on their trained eyes and observational skills to assess the various visual characteristics of gemstones. An overview of how visual examination is used in gemstone identification; gemologists observe the gemstone's level of transparency, clarity, and the way it interacts with light. The color of a gemstone is often the first visual characteristic that catches the eye. Gemologists observe the gemstone's hue, tone, and saturation. 

They also evaluate its luster, which is the way the gemstone reflects and refracts light. Different gemstone types exhibit distinctive transparency levels and luster, aiding in their identification.

Refractive Index (RI): 

Refractive Index (RI) is indeed a common method used in gemstone identification. A refractive index is a dimensionless number calculated by dividing the speed of light in a vacuum by the speed of light in a gemstone. A general overview of the refractive index method is used in gem identification, which is - Gemstone Selection, Calibration, Measurement, Reading Interpretation, Reference Tables & Database, these references provide a range of refractive indices for various gemstones, helping in the identification process.

It's important to note that while the refractive index can be a valuable tool in gem identification, it is not sufficient on its own to determine a gemstone's identity. Professional gemologists and gemological laboratories typically employ a combination of testing methods to identify gemstones accurately.


Natural gemstones are the extraordinary result of geological processes and hold a timeless beauty that has fascinated humanity throughout history. Whether treasured for their vibrant colors, remarkable brilliance, or symbolic significance, these gems connect us to the natural world and inspire a sense of wonder. Whether worn as jewelry, admired as collectibles, or appreciated for their magical properties, natural gemstones are nature's precious gifts, enhancing our lives with their extraordinary beauty. 


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