Formation & Origins

“The sheen and colouration of precious stones are the same today as they were thousands of years ago and will be for thousands of years to come. In a world of change, this permanence has a charm of its own that was early appreciated.”

George Frederick Kunz (1856-1932), The Curious Lore of Precious Stones

An additional factor to take into consideration is ‘Country of origin’, which could be considered the fifth ‘C’. Much like brand names in sportswear, gemstones with a historical pedigree rich in legend and lore are sometimes valued more highly than gemstones that don’t have any historical connotations. But this is not always true, for example, the coveted Paraiba Tourmaline was only discovered in 1989. The country of origin never denotes quality; good and bad qualities are found in every deposit. Sure, some sources are noted for producing more good quality gems than others, making their origin quality indicative, but this is never an absolute. For example, not all Sapphires from Sri Lanka are of suitable quality to warrant the ‘Ceylon’ moniker. Origin is a collectible curiosity, an interesting attribute that definitely adds to the appeal of gemstones, but should never be the only property defining whether or not a precious stone is desirable.

Gold seekers in a Russian gold field in the early 20th century

Gold seekers in a Russian gold field in the early 20th century

Even though including the names of geographical locations should only be done when they denote the areas from which gemstones originate, under CIBJO (Confederation Internationale de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie et Orfevrerie) guidelines, origin is still considered only a matter of opinion