What is a Gemstone?

A gemstone is the name given to a piece of mineral, rock, or organic material. Gemstones occur naturally in nature or can also be created in a lab. Contemporary, created stone technology results in a gemstone with the exact same composition as one that develops on its own. Learn more about lab created vs. natural stones in our blog.

All minerals, including gemstones, are given a rank from 1-10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. A rank of 10 denotes its the hardest and most scratch-resistant. A diamond has a rank of 10 while a tanzanite is a 6! A gemstone's durability impacts how it can be cut and what shapes are viable without resulting in cracks or breakage.

Gemstone CUTS

When used in jewelry, gemstones can be displayed in their raw ("uncut" or "rough") state, but are usually ground and polished into one of many different shapes ("cuts") with facets and angles. The cut of the stone greatly affects how the gem reflects light and sparkles. Visit the GIA website for a great tool that allows you to see how differences in gemstone cuts effect a stone.


There are hundreds of different gemstone cuts, but these 9 shapes are some of the most popular. Diamonds can be cut in most shapes, but softer gemstones like moonstones are limited to simpler shapes with less facets or can be made into cabochons. Opals are very commonly shaped into cabochons, which have a smooth surface and flat underside.

Gemstones BY COLOR

We recommend you look on the American Gem Trade Association website to explore all kinds of stones! Another great resource is the GIA Gem Encyclopedia, which allows you to sort stones by color and also see images of how they would look as a rough vs. polished stone. Be sure to ask us if you want something that you can’t seem to find on our website – we can ethically source a large variety of stones. Here is a wonderful illustration of gemstones by color. We also have our Ultimate Guide to Colored Gemstones blog and our colorful, birthstone jewelry collection.

Diamond: A classic ENGAGEMENT RING Choice

With different cuts and carats, our diamond rings present a versatile selection for any taste or budget. All Jewelry by Johan diamonds are sourced ethically and are conflict free. We follow the Kimberley Process, which ensures that Diamonds bought and sold are not sourced from forced labor or other illegal activity. Colorless diamonds are the classic choice for an engagement ring, but there are also a wide variety of other diamond colors to choose from, including black diamonds which are a popular choice for an edgier, alternative look.

Specifications Of A Diamond – The 4 Cs

Many diamonds are graded and given a corresponding value based on these four standards developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

  • Carat: The weight of a diamond. 1 carat is approximately .2 grams.
  • Color: The whiter the diamond, the better. This "C" is graded on a range from D to Z with DEF being most colorless and XYZ having a yellow hue.
  • Clarity: Having a clear diamond means having one without inclusions (almost like small scratches and marks on the inside).
    • FL to IF = Flawless
    • VVS1 to VVS2 = Hard to find imperfections when magnified by 10
    • VS1 to VS2 = Imperfections are hard to see with the naked eye
    • SI1 to SI2 = Imperfections can be found when magnified by 10
    • I1 to I3 = Imperfections can be found by the naked eye
  • Cut: How well a diamond is cut controls how effectively it reflects light. The better it reflects light, the brighter and more fiery it will appear.

Colored Diamonds

Specialty diamonds such as salt and pepper and black diamonds are in demand. Coloring comes from the atomic structure of a gem shift, which creates a one of a kind hue in the stone that casts a bounty of different shades. The price of the diamond often depends on the scarcity of it. Pink diamonds are the hardest to locate and one of the most expensive diamond shades. Black diamonds are a more budget friendly alternative to a classic white stone. In most cases, colored diamonds are enhanced in some fashion to make the color more prominent.

Moissanite: A Popular Diamond Alternative

Inspired by the beauty and fire of natural moissanite, discovered over a century ago by Dr. Henri Moissan, Charles & Colvard® patented an ethical process for growing gem-quality moissanite. More brilliant than a diamond at a fraction of the cost, more durable than a sapphire, ruby, or emerald, nothing compares to or outshines Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite®. Artfully created from Silicon Carbide, the world’s second hardest mineral; the beauty of Charles & Colvard moissanite is guaranteed to last forever.


If you already own the perfect stone for your dream ring, we can use it to craft your item. We can repurpose a stone in an existing item or use one that you've sourced on your own. Supplying your own stone gives your ring more sentimental value while lowering your final cost. Contact us for more information on a custom ring or accessory!