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How Can You Tell Them Apart?

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

One of the questions I get asked frequently is what distinguishes one gemstone from another. The name of the gemstones we know and love, like sapphire, emerald, ruby, etc., are names that were given to them thousands of years ago when gemstones were categorized by their color alone. Science has taught us that gemstones are actually categorized into mineral types, and each mineral type is distinctive from each other because of its chemical composition and its crystal structure. For instance, just because a sapphire and tanzanite are both blue, they are very different minerals.


mixed gemstone earrings in emerald, aquamarine, and topaz with diamond accents.

Here are some of the mineral names with the gemstone names we are familiar with!


Corundum: Sapphire and Ruby. Corundum comes in all colors of the rainbow, including red which we call ruby, and blue which we call sapphire! Each color of corundum has a different trace element that causes the various colors.


Beryl: Emerald, aquamarine and green beryl


Zoisite: Tanzanite


Olivine: Peridot


Quartz: Amethyst, citrine, smokey quartz, rose quartz


Garnet: Garnet is not a single mineral, but describes a group of several closely related minerals. We usually think of the brownish red color to describe garnet, but garnet can be other colors too! Green garnets can be either tsavorite (the ‘t’ is silent) or demantoid. Spessartine garnets are golden and rhodolite garnets are purple-red.


I would love to help you with your special purchase or custom design! Angela Cisneros Jewelry Concierge brings back the joy and confidence of jewelry shopping, so that you can celebrate with ease! My by-appointment approach means:

  • One-on-one appointments (personal attention and no crowds!)

  • Discretion and privacy (surprises remain surprises!)

  • Expert help from a Graduate Gemologist with 26 years of experience (yep, that’s me!)

Learn more about me and my process: www.AngelaCisneros.com


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Book your FREE appointment with me: www.AngelaCisneros.com/book-appointment



Picture and earrings from @Omiprive

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