Despite the appeal of diamonds, coloured gemstones remain popular and sought after for their bright and expressive colours.
A gemstone’s hardness is measured on the Moh’s scale. The hardness of a stone refers to it’s resistance to scratching. The scale ranges from 1, being the softest (talc is rated at 1) to 10, being the hardest (a diamond is the only mineral to rate as 10).
Precious stones (Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald and Diamond) are generally the most sought after and valuable. All other coloured gems are known as semi-precious.
There are various methods employed to enhance the colour and beauty of gemstones. The most commonly used is heat treatment, which is perceived merely as an extension of the natural process, as it is the heat and pressure in the earth that produce the colour in the stone.
Synthetic gems are readily available and are much less prized than natural stones. These are grown in laboratories using the same ingredients as the natural stones and can often only be differentiated by a trained professional.