Gemstones vs Crystals: What are the Differences?

Have you ever wondered what the differences between gemstones and crystals are? At Boho-Magic we love to use genuine gemstones in our jewelry designs and there are many reasons why we do this! Let’s dive into the differences between gemstones and crystals!

genuine gemstone and sterling silver jewelry for men and women available at Boho Magic

The terms gemstone and crystal are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different definitions. Not all gemstones are crystals, but there can be an overlap. The difference really lies in the science behind it all! Understanding theses differences can help you make a more informed decision when purchasing gemstone or crystal jewelry.


A gemstone refers to a rare rock, mineral or crystal that has been transformed from its raw natural state into something fit for a jewelry setting. Gemstones are generally created through the cutting of precious and semi-precious stones. The word gemstone originates from the old English word gimstan which means a jewel, gem or precious stone.

genuine gemstone and sterling silver jewelry for men and women available at Boho Magic


The definition for a crystal is bit more scientific. A crystal is a type of matter that has atoms forming a geometric grid structure. An atom is the smallest unit of matter - so think of it this way - a crystal is defined by the structure of its molecular makeup!

Crystals can include many of your favorite specimens such as quartz, fluorite, black tourmaline and malachite. A crystal can come in any shape or form; it could be in its natural raw form or cut into a gemstone for jewelry making. According to, 

“The word ‘crystal’ comes from the Greek word krustallos, which means both ‘rock crystal’ and ‘ice’. Crystals are familiar in everyday life. Examples of crystals include diamond (crystal carbon), salt (sodium chloride crystals), quartz (silicon dioxide crystals), and snowflakes (water ice crystals). Many gems are crystals, including emerald, citrine, ruby, and sapphire."

The Differences Between a Gemstone and a Crystal

Well, a gemstone is a cut form of a precious or semi-precious stone, which can include crystals, and crystals are a form of matter with a specific molecular makeup. A gemstone could be made from a crystal, but if a gemstone doesn’t have that particular molecular makeup then it is not a crystal.

To create more perspective around gemstones, let’s also define precious and semi-precious stones. A precious stone is mostly defined by its rarity and there are only 4 types of precious stones: diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald. Any other stone is classified as semi-precious such as quartz, topaz, aquamarine and black tourmaline. The 4 precious stones are also defined by their level of hardness, which can be determined using Mohs Scale of Hardness.

Most crystals and gems originate from within the earth, but many are also lab grown. At Boho-Magic all our gems are from the earth and they are sustainably collected. We source all our gems from trusted partners in the middle east, close to where the founders are from. We choose to use gemstones because they are cut and polished specifically to fit our magical designs.

Check out our gemstone jewelry collection now!

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