The Big Three / Cardinal Gemstones

Spotlight on Ruby

Rubies are one of the rarest and most expensive gems in the world and they are sometimes called the “Gem King." It is also one of the four Cardinal Gems, including the three talked about in this blog, plus Diamonds! Rubies rate a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it another one of the hardest gemstones available. Aluminum oxide is what causes its rich red and pink hues. Natural Rubies will have inclusions and imperfections, which seems to counter its rarity and high price point, but those inclusions are exactly what distinguishes them from synthetic Rubies!

Rubies have always been well known known to royals and people of authority; this stone is revered as powerful, beautiful, and a symbol of status. It is also a symbol of protection; in history, it is thought to have been an all-encompassing tool for love, power, and opulence. It is said that Kublai Khan traded an entire city in exchange for a Ruby.

Places of Origin: Myanmar, Thailand, India, Madagascar


Spotlight on Sapphire

One of the most beautiful and sought after blue stones is Sapphire. It is one of the four Cardinal Gems, meaning that these gemstones were considered some of the rarest and most precious out of all of the stone types. Sapphire stones are also known as a corundum.

Sapphires are widely known as a stone of royalty and wisdom, which directly correlates to their deep blue color. The more translucent and the deeper the blue, the more rare and expensive its value is. Sapphires rate a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it one of the hardest gemstones available.

Places of Origin: Asia, Africa, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, USA


Spotlight on Emerald

Being one of the Cardinal Gems, it's no surprise that Emerald is a rare, beautiful, and sought after stone. Emeralds, similar to other stones like Iolite and Aquamarine, display a phenomenon called pleochroism, meaning its color can change depending on what angle you look at it from. Besides its interesting surface make-up, Emerald is actually a type of beryl.

For a beryl to be classified as an Emerald, it must be a significant green color. The elements called vanadium and chromium are what causes this green color. There are specific guidelines on color grading, so when a stone is listed as a “green beryl,” it was either too blue or too yellow to be considered a true Emerald.

Emerald is one of the most popular gemstones on the market today, and it is well known for being the birthstone of May and a classic gift for a 55th anniversary. In history, Emeralds were well-loved by Cleopatra - so much so, it is said that an Emerald mine in Egypt is named after her.

Places of Origin: Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, Madagascar