The History Of Gemstones


Gemstones have existed since the beginning of time. They are used as massage utensils in the cosmetics industry. In astrology, each planet has its own protective stone. Gemstones even have a place in medicine, as Benedictine Hildegarde von Bingen used them for therapeutic healing.

In this article, we will explore the history of these stones and their significance to different cultures throughout the world.

The Stone Age

The Neanderthals were the first to make jewelry out of gemstones. We know this because of archaeologic findings in the Cuevas de los Aviones cave in southeast Spain. There, archeologists found shell necklaces that included the red gemstone hematite. The first pieces of gemstone jewelry date back to about 15,000 years ago.

Other gemstones that were prominent in the Stone Age were turquoise, coral, lapis lazuli, and malachite.

The Ancient World

Gemstones were widely used in the ancient world, including in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.


Some of the metalwork craft techniques developed by the ancient Egyptians are still used today, such as engraving, gilding, and silvering. The ancient Egyptians used these methods to create entirely new types of jewelry. The gemstone jewelry industry in ancient Egypt was started by making burial jewelry for the elite from stones such as lapis lazuli, turquoise, and carnelian.


Jewelry production was heavily restricted in ancient Greece due to a shortage of precious metals like gold. But after Alexander the Great defeated the Persian king Darius, gold became abundant in Greece and the jewelry production industry flourished. More goldsmith’s work has survived from this period than any other. Elaborate diadems decorated with precious stones and pearls were popular at this time.


Jewelry and gemstones did not have a prominent role in the early Roman Empire. Jewelry making was rare and pearls were used as currency. However, jewelry-making became much more important after King Constantine declared Christianity the state religion of the Empire. Cross necklaces set with precious stones such as opals, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies were in high demand.

Middle Ages

Gemstones served two purposes in the Middle Ages: to demonstrate status, and to be used for the magical abilities attributed to them.

Emperor Charles IV had gemstone walls built for the Wenceslas Chapel in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. At Karlstejn Castle, he used gemstones to represent the reflection of paradise and showcase his power. This project used stones found mainly in the northern Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. The stones used included amethysts, chrysoprase, agates, jasper, and onyx.

During this time, many people believed that special inscriptions could strengthen the magical properties of the stones. For example, one 14th-century ruby ring has an inscription for good luck. It was also believed that some stones could detect the presence of poison.

Modern Era

Today, gemstones are still used to make jewelry, but they also have a number of other uses. Diamonds are the hardest material on Earth, and they are used to grind steel and stone. In the early 1960s, rubies were used in the invention of the first lasers. Ruby lasers are still used in dermatology to treat pigment spots and remove tattoos.

Wholesale Gemstones In South Florida

The Gemstone Factory is a wholesaler of crystals, gemstones, and unique gifts that showcase the beauty of nature and promote well-being. We stock a wide variety of products, including but not limited to candleholders and lamps, jewelry, and other stone accessories. Our inventory of stones and jewelry is imported from all over the world.

Please visit our wholesale only website www.gemstonefactory.com to shop online. If you are in the South Florida area, our showroom is open by appointment – contact us at sales@gemstonefactory.net to schedule a showroom appointment or telephone us at 954-341-3633.

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