There are hundreds of gemstones used in jewelry. Some are completely natural (white diamonds & garnets), others have been enhanced or treated (tanzanite, aquamarines) to bring out their beauty. There are lab-created stones (emeralds & sapphires) and synthetic stones (glass, plastic & resin). All can be beautiful when paired with the right setting, but their value varies vastly. It takes a trained gemologist to be 100% sure of a gemstone’s identification, but with some research, you can learn a lot! Here are some gemstone resources that will help you along the way.
Gemology Institute of America (GIA) Gem Encyclopedia – research hundreds of gemstones, their history, folklore, chemical structure, colors, geographic origins and uses.
Minerals.net is a great site that offers a wide range of stones, not just those traditionally considered gemstones. You can search by color and a host of other factors. Great pictures too!
Gemstone Weight Calculator – there are a few of these out there but we like this one the best because it has a simple interface and doesn’t require too much gemstone knowledge. You’ll need to measure your stone in millimeters, and provide the type of stone and it’s cut shape.
Gemstones of the World – a must-have for any starter collection on gemstones; printed book only
Smithsonian Handbooks; Gemstones – great photos and information for beginners and budding hobbyists; printed book only
If you are really serious about gemology, consider taking courses from GIA. They offer both individual classes and certificate programs and are nationally recognized as an industry leader in gemology education. Many courses are available online!