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What is the difference between rocks, minerals and gems? A mineral is made of inorganic material - substances that were never alive - and whose atoms are arranged in a regular pattern (or crystal). Rocks are composed of one or more minerals - and include Lapis, clay, sand and limestone. Gems are a special subgroup of minerals, usually rarer, clearer and more visually appealing than other minerals. There is no set rule as to which minerals are definitively gems; it is more a matter of custom.

Precious vs. Semi-Precious

The majority of gems can be divided into precious and semi-precious categories. The term "precious" is reserved for the most rare and expensive of gems - including diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls and sapphires. Most remaining gems - including varieties of quartz like Amethyst, Citrine and Bloodstone - are semi-precious.

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Birthstones by Month

January Garnet
February Amethyst
March Aquamarine, Bloodstone
April Diamond
May Emerald
June Alexandrite, Moonstone, Pearl
July Ruby
August Peridot
September Sapphire
October Opal, Pink Tourmaline
November Topaz
December Turquoise, Blue Zircon, Tanzanite
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1402 Hancock Street  •  Quincy, MA 02169  •  617.773.3636