Precious Gems and Their Meanings

For centuries, people have worn gemstones for their unique beauty and in some cases, for their spiritual or mystical meaning. Many ancient philosophers and mystics believed that select gemstones contained special powers, from helping to combat addictions to keeping bad dreams away. Let’s look at eight popular precious and semi-precious stones and their legendary meanings.


Diamond in Bloomington, ILImage via Flickr by alonbj

Because of the rarity of diamonds and their magnificent brilliance and clarity, diamonds represent much more than just a status symbol or a sparkling accessory. Used as the primary stone for engagement and wedding rings, diamonds represent enduring love. Diamonds come from carbon compressed over centuries to form the hardest gemstone on the planet. Many believe this attribute in the diamond helps the human spirit endure with strength, fortitude, and courage.

Many religions feel that spiritually, diamonds can help to cleanse away negative energy. Buddhists believe that diamonds help to cut through delusion to find the pure truth and path of spirituality. In the Hindu religion, it’s believed that diamonds help to heal the head and the heart.


The birthstone of those born between April 21st and May 21st, emerald, translates to the Sanskrit word for spring green, marakata. Many ancient cultures believed that the beautiful green emerald stone represented birth, fertility, hope, renewal, and romance.

According to the Roman author and philosopher Pliny the Elder, gazing into the cool green of an emerald helped to ease and restore eyestrain. For centuries, people believed that emeralds, associated with Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, protected lovers from unfaithfulness. Today, emeralds make for a great everyday stone due to their extreme hardness which helps to protect them from scratches.


With beautiful deep red colors, rubies represent love, passion, nobility, and happiness. Rubies make wonderful engagement rings as a way to show eternal passion and love to your betrothed. The color of blood, rubies also represent vitality and vigor and help protect the wearer from negative energy. In the 1800s, French jewelers marketed ruby stones as the “dearly loved stone” to help inspire passion and sensuality for the wearer.

Some believe that wearing a ruby helps the person trust in their own strength and matters of the heart. In the past, rubies placed on parts of the body helped to encourage circulation, improve the heart, and increase energy. Traditionally, it’s customary to give your partner a ruby stone for a 15th or 40th wedding anniversary.


In both Greek and Roman times, sapphires were one of the most prized of all gemstones. While ranging in colors, the most common color, a deep, rich blue, represents the heavens. Royalty and high-ranking clergy wore sapphires to showcase their high-standing, and even in modern times, England’s Prince Charles gave the late Princess Diana an engagement ring with a sapphire stone.

Some believe that sapphires have cooling powers and help to reduce fevers, and one ancient recipe calls for mixing ground sapphire with vinegar to treat nosebleeds. Sapphires and rubies come from the same basic chemical makeup with a few key differences making rubies red and sapphires primarily blue. Sapphires have a hardness level nine, just under a diamond, making them ideal for everyday wear.


Pale blue in color and a member of the beryl family, aquamarine crystals represent everything associated with the sea. Ancient legends say that mermaids treasured aquamarine and sailors kept pieces of the stone with them as a talisman for good luck. Wearing or gazing upon aquamarine helps instill a sense of calmness and relaxation.

Associated with the throat chakra, aquamarine helps speakers and presenters to relax and speak clearly. In addition, aquamarine helps to calm and diffuse negative energies in difficult situations. Today, aquamarine helps protect those who travel over or near water, and the stone makes an ideal eternity ring gift as a commitment to love and fidelity.

Blue Topaz

One of the most beautiful and popular gemstones today, blue topaz, makes a wonderful stone for an engagement ring. The sparkling blue color represents love and loyalty as well as the sky and water. Blue topaz helps to calm and relax someone who’s irritated or angry and when gazed upon before bed, can help promote a restful night’s sleep. Due to its cooling powers, blue topaz can help relieve pain associated with mild burns.

While the gemstone topaz comes in a range of colors from brown to pink, blue topaz rules for popularity and comes in three distinct shades, sky blue, Swiss blue, and London blue.


With dazzling rainbow colors, opals represent the fire of the heart and soul. Opals inspire hope and love, innocence and purity, and look beautiful no matter the setting. The prisms of light reflected in the opal range from royal purple to spring green, sunshine yellow to sky blue, and the philosopher Pliny the Elder called opals the most exquisite, bewitching, and precious of gemstones.

During the Middle Ages, doctors used opals to help heal eyestrain and became known as the eye stone. The rarest of opals, Rainbow Opal, flashes iridescent colors of light when turned. This effect arises from the silica crystals trapped within the compressed matrix of the stone. Opals make romantic gifts to represent the fire in each other’s hearts.


A true gem of the sea, pearls represent purity, perfection, long life, and fertility. Created deep within the heart of an oyster under the ocean, pearls are worn by mermaids; wearing these gems connects one to the movements and tides of the sea.

Pearls need no cutting or polishing to bring out their luster and they stand the test of time for jewelry styles. During the Byzantine empire only rulers could wear pearls, and in 18th-century Europe, pearls were the most treasured of gems. Today, pearls make lovely gifts for young girls of all ages.

Whether you’re looking for a diamond engagement ring, an emerald pendant to give to a loved one, or a bracelet with ruby stones, we can help you find the perfect piece. What do you think of our list of gemstones and their properties? If you know of other special meanings connected to these stones, we’d love to hear from you and add them to our list.

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Precious Gems and Their Meanings
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