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GEMSTONES VS. CRYSTALS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

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Gemstones and crystals are often used interchangeably - but they’re not the same thing.

Countless communities revolve around collecting and enjoying both gemstones and crystals. Everyone has a different favorite, and value each one for various uses. Some prefer the stones in beautiful jewelry, others believe in the powerful energies and intentions that the minerals can carry - but many people don’t realize that in the gemstones vs. crystals debate, there are real differences.

In essence, a crystal is any pure substance that is arranged, molecularly, in a geometric pattern. That means that a huge variety of elements can be crystals - like table salt. So when comparing gemstones vs. crystals, it’s important to know what you’re looking for! This site goes into a little more detail.


While crystals are any element in a geometric pattern, gemstones are made up of only rare, precious or semi-precious minerals, like diamonds, and some organic bases like amber. They’re usually polished or cut in a way that makes the gem shine and dazzle - though some crystals can be made to shine a similar way. 

gemstones vs crystals

Gemstones can be crystals, but not all crystals will be gemstones. Gemstones will stand the test of time, and are traditionally used to make the highest-quality, gorgeous jewelry. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make jewelry with some crystals, but just that they’re not always going to be exactly what you’re looking for. 

When choosing jewelry, it’s important that you get the quality you deserve.

Gemstones are typically higher-quality than crystals, and not everything can be a gemstone. These minerals are tried-and-true embellishments for jewelry, from earrings to bracelets. 

Though some people still enjoy the gems on their own, collecting them in boxes or displaying them on windowsills to catch the moonlight, it’s undeniable that their primary use since the beginning of society has been in jewelry.

They stand the test of time, surviving as important sources of healing energy and powerful intentions from civilizations ancient to modern. 

In short: when it comes to gemstones vs. crystals, there’s no competition.

High-grade gemstones must be pure and beautiful in order to make the cut for jewelry. 

gemstones vs crystals

You can get crystals - and, sometimes, gemstones - anywhere, but they’re often sourced in ways that are unethical, harming the communities they originate from. In order to responsibly and mindfully collect and cherish either gemstones or crystals, you have to purchase them from a reputable source that makes sustainability and ethics their top priority. 

Make sure that you’re supporting only ethically-sourced, high-quality gemstones.

At Daria Day, we focus on empowering and uplifting the artisans that make our high-quality gemstone jewelry, as well as guaranteeing an ethically sourced product. Many crystals and gemstones are mined in a way that devastates communities, taking resources and cash flow away from their original source. 

To combat this issue within the gemstone world, we work with a group of local miners in Pakistan to ensure that the gems we use in our timeless jewelry benefit the local community as well. 

We’re also affiliated with the Rupani Foundation, an NGO that has created a rigorous gem testing process. That means that all of our gemstones are only the highest quality. But our ethical practices don’t stop there - our group of empowered women artisans in Northern Pakistan are well compensated for their time and effort, which allows their wages to go directly towards helping themselves, their families, and their communities. 

ethical jewelry artisans

Photo of our artisan Anila. See more of her story here

In the world of precious stones, cheap often just means cheap. 

Crystals, and some gemstones, are cheaper not only for their wider availability, but also due to the mining methods used to collect them. In the gemstones vs. crystals debate, both can come under fire - for good reason. 

Most suppliers of the stones are reluctant to say where they come from, hiding the fact that they’ve exploited communities and the environment to profit off of their non-renewable natural resource and sell them cheaply. 

Gemstones are revered for their powerful, healing energies. But when these stones are borne of conflict and destruction, it’s difficult to imagine them carrying tranquil intentions. To responsibly cherish high-quality gemstones and allow them to factor into your inner mindfulness, they must be sourced ethically from a brand that fights back against exploitation. 

To see what ethically sourced jewelry options are available, see Daria Day’s curated catalogue of necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings. 

For more information about gemstones and mindful living, subscribe to our newsletter.

Source: (this one talks about the bad parts of the industry) https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/jun/16/are-crystals-the-new-blood-diamonds-the-truth-about-muky-business-of-healing-stones

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