Gemstones and Crystals- what is the difference?

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘diamonds are a girl's best friend’ and while that may be true, humans have long been attracted to many stunning shiny stones. The beauty that these tiny gemstones and crystals hold is what we, as humans, find so appealing and why we often use them for jewellery. 

Crystals and gemstones have also long been thought of as having healing and spiritual powers. This is yet another reason why we hold them in such high regard. However, differentiating between crystals and gemstones can be difficult. Many use the words synonymously, yet their verbiage is distinctly different. 

Read on to find out the differences between gemstones and crystals. 

Gemstones VS Crystals

Gemstones are categorised by their chemical makeup. They are rare minerals of the purest quality, and thus, often have a high monetary value. Due to this rarity, gemstones are often more expensive than crystals. 

While they come in a variety of different colours, people will likely recognise popular stones such as; sapphires, diamonds, and rubies. 

Often, gemstones are cut after being valued and their colourful beauty is the reason they are used in jewellery pieces. 

Crystals are a pure substance that has its molecules arranged in such a way that it creates a geometric pattern formation in some way. 

Crystals are more readily available materials and so they are often considered inexpensive compared to gemstones, but this is not to say they are not equally as beautiful. 

Salts are a great example of a crystal but others include amethyst and citrine, which are highly valued and often seen in jewellery. 


Crystals are usually valued by their shape —orthorhombic, monoclinic, hexagonal crystal, etc. Crystals are also categorised by their crystal system, which refers to a subcategory of the above lattice systems.

The rarity of gemstones is generally what makes them cost a fortune compared to crystals that are readily available. Gems are typically cut to size after their value has been determined. Often their value is determined by the following categories:

  • Colour: Colourful gemstones are generally more attractive, and thus, pricier than transparent gemstones, except for diamonds.
  • Clarity: The fewer flaws in a gemstone, the higher the cost.
  • Cut: A gemstone’s cut is a major price influencer. Cuts that mask or lower the appearance of inclusions and also enhance symmetrical balance cost more.
  • Rarity: When a resource is limited in supply, its demand and price tend to increase. Thus, the more rare a stone, the more expensive it is.
  • Hardness: Hardness here refers to the gemstone’s durability. Gemstone jewellery is expected to last a lifetime if cared for well, making the hardest stones extravagantly priced.
  • Lustre: This is how light behaves with a gemstone. How light refracts and disperses, determines the beauty of a gemstone, and consequently, its price.
  • Carat: Carat is the density of a gemstone. The cost is often proportional to the carat.

In Summary

Gemstones and crystals are equally as beautiful and can both be used to make stunning jewellery and watches. While gemstones are rarer and thus, more expensive, crystals can make a perfect substitute. For many years, both have been held in high regard by people and will continue to do so for years to come.

Here at Cuttings, we have a wide range of jewellery and watches embroidered with different crystals and gemstones to suit your taste and budget. You can shop our range of stunning pieces here

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