There are a lot of ways to take care of your jewelry and keep it in top condition. But one of the more powerful ways you can make sure your jewelry stays in good condition is to choose a stone that holds up to daily wear well.
There are a lot of factors that make a stone good for daily wear. Color, variety of cuts and shapes, hardness, and how easily a stone can be damaged in other ways all have a part to play.
Really, you almost have to be a professional jewelry artisan or lapidary to understand the ins and outs of what makes a stone good or bad for daily wear in jewelry. And the truth is the vast majority of stones that are made into jewelry are suitable for daily wear, especially handmade jewelry. Yes, even the more fragile stone options.
Still, I’ve put together a list of some recommendations, along with the qualities that make these stones perfect for daily wear. Sure, you could default to always wearing diamond jewelry since diamonds are incredibly hard and durable, but where would the fun in that be?
After all, variety is the spice of life!
The Best Natural Stones For Everyday Wear
Since my specialty is making handmade jewelry with natural stones, that’s where I have the most expertise and knowledge. So some of the information I’m going to present here might be a little different if you get gem-faceted stones instead of natural cut stones. But, most of the time, the information is going to be similar across different grades, cuts, and jewelry styles for these stones.
You might also notice that the stones I’ve selected tend to be brightly colored, beautiful, popular stones. That’s because I love all the colors in nature, and being able to celebrate every hue and shade in the handmade jewelry I wear and sell is part of what I love about these stones.
There are a lot of factors to consider here, so I’m not going to be able to explain every detail of why this or that stone is good for everyday wear. Instead, I’m going to highlight the most important parts so that you have the information you need to choose the right everyday jewelry for you without getting too technical or detailed about it.
Hopefully, by the time you’ve read this article, you won’t just know more about some of your favorite natural stone jewelry. You’ll also know more about the stones themselves and what qualities you should consider when you’re buying new jewelry and deciding what to wear every day.
Let’s dive in!
Amethyst is a type of Quartz and is one of the most popular and beautiful stones you can wear, thanks to its purple color. These stones are some of the most popular with jewelry makers as well because they’re as durable as beautiful.
These stones don’t really need any special precautions, work wonderfully in bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings, and are a great starter stone if you’re getting a gift for someone still learning how to take care of their jewelry.
Plus, Amethyst is February’s birthstone and makes for some striking birthstone jewelry.
Aquamarine is another beautiful gemstone popular with jewelers partly because of its durability, and the many shades of blue and clear this stone comes in.
It’s fitting that Aquamarine is one of March’s birthstones because the pale blues it comes in are the perfect reminder of crisp March mornings.
Most Aquamarine is somewhere between Quartz and Topaz in terms of hardness, and both of those stones are very durable, so that’s a good sign for Aquamarine.
I say most, only because some Aquamarine does have visible cracking that can make it a little more fragile if it’s hit on the crack. Other stones may even have a small amount of liquid water encased in the stone, and those Aquamarines are also a little more fragile than average but very fun to look at.
In general, though, Aquamarine is suitable for all styles of jewelry and doesn’t need special care or cleaning to keep it looking its best.
Of course, Citrine is on this list because Citrine is the same stone as Amethyst. It’s just been heated a second time which changes the composition and color of the stone.
All of my Citrine is naturally occurring, which is why it’s more of a pale yellow instead of a bright color, but even heat-treated Citrine is going to be just as durable and hard-wearing as Amethysts are. For naturally occurring Citrine to form, the crystal forms and then gets heated again, giving it its signature color.
Though, Citrine can show off the glitter and beautiful banding of this stone even better than Amethyst sometimes!
The only precaution with Citrine is that you shouldn’t rapidly change the temperature of the stone, but that shouldn’t be a problem for 99% of wearers. The other one is that Citrine can fade and lose some of its color if it’s left in bright sunlight for a long time. So, no turning your beautiful handmade Citrine jewelry into a suncatcher, okay?
Yeah, I didn’t think that would be a problem!
Oh yeah, Citrine is another Birthstone as well, perfect for the yellow and golden hues of November just before the snow hits. Birthstone jewelry made from Citrine comes in all shapes, styles, and hues, from the palest yellow to brilliant glittery gold-colored stones.
Emeralds are right behind Rubies and Sapphires in terms of precious gemstone durability. They are incredibly durable, and there are plenty of examples of Emerald jewelry that have lasted literal centuries, just as beautiful as the day it was made.
These stones are renowned not only for their brilliant green hue but also for their high durability and versatility in jewelry.
The main precaution with Emeralds, and honestly most stones in jewelry, is that Emerald jewelry should not be steam-cleaned or cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner. Both methods can cause fractures along pre-existing but often invisible micro-fractures in the stone.
Emeralds also happen to be May’s birthstone. Brilliant green, just in time for the arrival of Spring.
Garnets actually come in several different types, but the good news is that all of them are durable and well-suited to daily wear. Garnets don’t scratch easily and generally won’t fracture or chip unless they are hit with a relatively hard blow.
These beautiful stones come in a wide range of colors as well, though most of them are in the scarlet-red to red-orange spectrum. They’re an excellent gift for loved ones, perfect for romantic jewelry, and they always look sultry and elegant on formal occasions.
Of course, Garnets are also January’s birthstone, and they can make some gorgeous birthstone jewelry in both natural stone jewelry and fine jewelry options.
Going a little off the beaten path, Lapis Lazuli is a majestic blue stone that has been prized for millennia, in part for the durability that helps this stone endure for centuries in decorative frescoes, jewelry, and jeweled inlays.
In natural stone jewelry, Lapis Lazuli really stands out from the crowd for its rich blues flecked with unique patterns of white and gold.
These stones are also fairly durable and good for everyday wear. They can be scratched, but that’s not usually a problem in most jewelry designs.
Lapis is also one of December’s traditional birthstones, which is perfect since the blues, whites, and gold flakes in Lapis Lazuli perfectly match the temperature, snow, and rich feelings of the season.
Peridot’s delicate greens are some of the most beautiful colors you can get in gems, which is just one of the stone’s advantages when it comes to everyday jewelry wear.
This stone also happens to be August’s birthstone, making for some delicate and elegant birthstone jewelry.
Peridot is moderately hard and relatively resistant to both scratches and fractures, though you shouldn’t bang them around too much if you want to avoid damage.
The one precaution with these stones is that you probably don’t want to cook while wearing Peridot jewelry on your hands. Sulfuric acid, and several other acids, can damage Peridot, and onions, tomatoes, and a lot of other vegetables naturally produce those acids. So, don’t cook with Peridot jewelry on, and make sure you wash your hands before you put it back on after cooking.
Rubies, the red color range of Sapphire, are some of the most durable gemstones you can get. They are hardy, scratch and fracture-resistant and hold up well in all jewelry styles. In fact, Rubies and Sapphires have almost no cleavage risk, which means they are very unlikely to fracture with normal wear and tear.
That said, you should probably take off any Ruby jewelry you happen to be wearing to cook or do laundry because both boric acid and most cooking acids can etch the surface of these stones.
The gorgeous red of Rubies would almost be wasted if this stone weren’t also a birthstone. So, July babies, consider yourselves lucky to have a birthstone that holds up remarkably well to everyday wear in all kinds of jewelry.
Despite being one of my favorite stones, I’m not going to add too much to Sapphires here because all the information for Rubies cross-applies to Sapphires.
However, Sapphires being so hardy for everyday wear is fantastic because Sapphires have one of the broadest color ranges of any stone, including every color except red. And red is only excluded because we call red Sapphires Rubies instead.
Traditionally, Blue Sapphires are September’s birthstone, but I think September babies can probably get away with wearing whatever color Sapphire is their favorite in their birthstone jewelry, don’t you?
Last but certainly not least, Tanzanite might be a newcomer in the gem world, but it’s made a big impact.
Tanzanite has a reasonable hardness, comparable with Amethyst or Peridot, which both make this list as well. The one exception is that Tanzanite does cleave, or fracture, a little more easily than most of the stones on this list. It does not want to get banged around or exposed to rough conditions.
But most of us don’t want to be in rough conditions while wearing our jewelry either, so it doesn’t usually cause any problems for everyday Tanzanite wearers.
Plus, Tanzanite’s blue-violet hues are a nice addition to the normal blue colors of December’s other birthstones, making for regal and majestic birthstone jewelry.
Bonus: Stones That Need A Little More Care
There is nothing wrong with wearing these stones every day if you want to. You should just be a little more careful with them compared with the other stones on this list.
Moonstone - Can Fracture Easily
Moonstone jewelry needs a little extra care to ensure it’s not hit or accidentally dropped because these stones can fracture relatively easily. Although, Larvikite, frequently called Black Moonstone, is more durable.
Ethiopian Opal - Can Be Damaged By Water
Opals are formed when water deposits silicates in an area over millions of years. While this can form stunningly colorful Opals, it means they are soft stones that can be scratched. Some Opals are hydrophane, which means they will change color when submersed in liquid. Ethiopian Opals hydrophane and it's important not to submerge them in liquids because they will absorb water and change color. They may revert back to their original colors after drying out over a couple of weeks - but that's not always true.
Pearl - Easily Scratched, Sometimes Fragile
Depending on how pearls have been treated as they are polished and prepared for jewelry, they can sometimes become fragile and crushable. Even when that doesn’t happen (and thankfully, fragile pearls are getting more rare), the natural nacre that forms the pearl is still pretty easy to scratch. So no sharp materials near your pearl necklaces and earrings.