What Are The Big 4 Gemstones?

By | November 11, 2023

What Are The Big 4 Gemstones?

What Are The Big 4 Gemstones? You’re about to embark on an illuminating journey through the world of gemstones! Find out more about the ‘Big 4’ – the prized quartet that jewelers and gem connoisseurs around the world hold in high esteem. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are their names, and each possesses a unique story, rarity, and set of characteristics that sets them apart from the rest. So let’s venture into the captivating realm of these extraordinary treasures of the earth!

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Understanding the Big 4 Gemstones

Gemstones have been cherished and admired for their beauty and rarity since ancient times. Among them, there are four types of gemstones that stand out because of their dazzling beauty, high market value, and demand. These are referred to as the “Big 4” gemstones, which include diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.

Definition of Big 4 gemstones

The Big 4 gemstones are the four types of gemstones that are the most highly valued and sought after in the world of fine jewelry. They are diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.

Why they are called the big 4

They are called the “Big 4” because they are the most precious and valuable gemstones globally. Their vibrant colors, outstanding brilliance, hardness and rarity make them highly desirable for use in jewelry, greatly increasing their market value.

Detailed Description of the Big 4 Gemstones

Each of the Big 4 gemstones possesses unique characteristics that contribute to their beauty, intrigue and high value.

Physical properties

All four gemstones are formed under intense pressure and heat deep within the earth’s crust. Diamonds are the hardest gemstones on the Mohs scale, while rubies, sapphires and emeralds also possess considerable hardness.

Unique characteristics

Diamonds are admired for their brilliance and fire. Sapphires are best known for their rich, velvety blue color, but can actually come in a variety of colors. Rubies are cherished for their passionate red hue. Emeralds, meanwhile, are loved for their vibrant green color and unique inclusions, known as jardin.

Geographical sources

The Big 4 gemstones are sourced from regions worldwide. Diamonds are widely mined in countries such as Botswana, Russia and Canada. Rubies primarily originate from Myanmar, while Sapphires are commonly found in Australia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Emeralds are mined in countries like Colombia and Zambia.

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Big 4 Gemstone: Diamond

Diamonds are, without a doubt, the most famed and fabled of all gemstones.

Origins and formation of diamonds

Diamonds are formed deep within the earth’s mantle under conditions of extreme heat and pressure. They are brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions through a kind of magma known as kimberlite.

Grading and value of diamonds

Diamonds are graded based on the 4C’s: carat, cut, color, and clarity. The combination of these factors greatly influences a diamond’s value.

Famous diamonds and their history

Many famous diamonds have fascinating histories. The Hope Diamond, for example, is a blue diamond rumored to bring bad luck to its owners. The Cullinan Diamond, discovered in South Africa, remains the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found.

Big 4 Gemstone: Ruby

The fiery and captivating Ruby is a stone steeped in history and lore.

Origins and formation of rubies

Rubies are formed from a mineral called corundum, the same mineral that forms sapphires. They get their red color from trace amounts of the element chromium. Rubies are most commonly found in marble and basaltic rocks.

Grading and value of rubies

Rubies are graded based on color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. The most desirable color is a vibrant, medium-dark toned red. The value increases with the intensity of the color and the lack of inclusions.

Famous rubies and their history

Famous rubies include the Sunrise Ruby, which holds the record price per carat for a colored gemstone.

Big 4 Gemstone: Sapphire

Sapphires have long symbolized nobility, truth, and faithfulness.

Origins and formation of sapphires

Like rubies, sapphires are formed from the mineral corundum. The presence of different trace elements produces various colors of sapphires.

Grading and value of sapphires

Sapphires are graded based on their color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. The most sought-after color is a rich, cornflower blue. Large, high-quality sapphires can command extremely high prices.

Famous sapphires and their history

Famous sapphires include the Star of India, a notable star sapphire, and the Logan Sapphire, one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires.

Big 4 Gemstone: Emerald

The enchanting emerald has been a symbol of rebirth and renewal since ancient times.

Origins and formation of emeralds

Emeralds are formed from a type of mineral called beryl, which becomes green due to chromium or vanadium impurities. They are most commonly found in metamorphic rocks.

Grading and value of emeralds

Emeralds are graded based on their color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. The most desirable color is a rich, intense green. High-quality emeralds, especially large ones, are quite rare and hence, very valuable.

Famous emeralds and their history

Famous emeralds include the Duke of Devonshire Emerald, one of the largest and finest uncut emeralds in the world.

The Rarity and Value of the Big 4 Gemstones

The Big 4 gemstones are cherished for their rarity and intrinsic value.

Comparison of rarity

While all four are considered rare, diamonds are the most abundant of the Big 4, while high-quality emeralds are the rarest. Rubies and sapphires fall somewhere in between.

Market value and price ranges

The market value of these gemstones varies greatly based on their quality, size, and origin. They consistently fetch high prices in the market due to their demand and rarity.

Influence of size and quality on value

Size and quality greatly impact a gemstone’s value. Larger, high-quality gemstones are rarer and thus, more valuable.

The Symbolism of the Big 4 Gemstones

Each of the Big 4 gemstones is richly symbolic.

Symbolism of diamonds

Diamonds symbolize eternal love, purity, and invincibility due to their hardness and brilliance. They are traditionally used in engagement rings.

Symbolism of rubies

Rubies symbolize passion, protection, and prosperity. They are also traditionally associated with blood and courage.

Symbolism of sapphires

Sapphires symbolize wisdom, royalty, and divine favor. They are associated with sacred things and considered a symbol of purity and wisdom.

Symbolism of emeralds

Emeralds symbolize rebirth, fertility, and love. They were dedicated to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, for their green color.

The Big 4 Gemstones in Jewelry Design

The Big 4 gemstones are central to the art and business of jewelry design.

Role of gemstones in jewelry

The Big 4 gemstones add color, brilliance, and value to jewelry pieces. Their varying colors allow for numerous design possibilities.

Typical settings for each gemstone

Each gemstone has typical settings that showcase their beauty. Diamonds are often set in ways that allow for maximum light reflection, while rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are usually set to display their vibrant colors.

How to care for jewelry containing the big 4 gemstones

Due to their hardness, the Big 4 gemstones can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft brush. It’s important to treat them with care to prevent scratching or chipping.

Buying Guide for the Big 4 Gemstones

When buying one of the Big 4 gemstones, there are several important factors to consider.

Considerations before buying

Before purchasing, you should consider your budget, the type and color of gemstone you prefer, and the style of jewelry you want.

How to authenticate a gemstone

It’s important to purchase gemstones from reputable sources. For authenticity, you can ask for a gemstone identification report from a trusted gemological laboratory.

Average cost of each gemstone

The cost of the Big 4 gemstones varies greatly depending on their size, quality, and origin. It’s advisable to research and compare prices before making a purchase.

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Author: marklsmithms1

Hi, I'm Mark, the author of Maura Gems and Jewellery. As a team of qualified gemmologists and goldsmiths, we bring you world-class jewellery at Bangkok prices. With offices in both Bangkok and the UK, we ethically source the finest gemstones directly, eliminating any middlemen. We offer a wide range of stunning ready-made jewellery items in our new online store, available for retail or wholesale. Additionally, we specialize in custom-made jewellery where we can bring any design to life. Whether you're a trade professional or an individual customer, we cater to all. Feel free to email me at mark@mauragemsandjewellery.com or call/WhatsApp me at 07470547636 or +66949355718. Discover our incredible collection by visiting our online store. I guarantee you'll love what you find there!

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