Your Guide to Buying Natural Stones

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Your Guide to Buying Natural Stones

It does not take much research or time in a museum to notice that the beauty and purity of natural stones has captivated humans for generations. Also known as natural gemstones once cut and polished, the common relationship between all natural stones used for decorating and jewellery making is their durability, rarity, and beauty. Buyers interested in purchasing natural stones need to understand exactly what that term means first as well as know which types are most common and precious.


Understanding Natural Stones

The term 'stone' is a bit broad, as it references any one of three types of materials: minerals, organic material, or petrified material. Different types of stones have different composition, but they share the characteristic of natural occurrence within the earth. Thus, the term 'natural stone' only applies to stones mined from the earth itself. There are over 2,000 different types of natural stones, but only about 90 are gems and people only use half for jewellery and other decorative arts.


Enhanced and 'Lab-created' Stones

Not all gemstones are natural and understanding the other options on the market is important for buyers. One common stone used in jewellery especially, is the 'lab-created' or 'man-made' stones. These stones grow in a similar fashion to natural stones and look alike no matter their state. However, people grow lab-created gemstones in controlled conditions inside a laboratory. Another important distinction to make is between natural and so-called 'enhanced' gemstones. These selections are, in fact, from the earth, but, as is the case with some rare precious stones, their appearance, even after polishing is still less than ideal. In this case, people undertake a series of processes aimed at strengthening the stones and making them more beautiful. This includes heating the stones, bleaching them, filling or stabilising them, and oiling them.


Common Stone States

Because there are different types of stones on the market, understanding the three common states of natural stones is important for buyers trying to find a particular stone or achieve a particular look in either jewellery or home decor. Rough or raw stones, for example, look exactly as they do when mined from the earth with a cloudy colour and rough points. Raw stones are popular as healing crystals and work as a good option for artwork, which involves stone carving. Raw stone jewellery also has a distinctive and earthy look to it. To make raw stones polished stones, experts take raw stones, tumble them with water and sand to smooth rough edges, and then polish their surfaces. People often use polished as 'touch' stones for good luck and healing, and they make more elegant home display pieces. Finally, there are faceted stones. These stones undergo additional carving and cutting which creates 'facets' or faces on each stone. The facets catch and reflect light, making them great options as display crystals or for use in jewellery.

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