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Gemma Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Gemma including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Gemma Overview

  • Meaning: The name Gemma comes from the Latin word meaning “jewel” or “precious stone.”
  • Gender: Gemma is typically a feminine name.
  • Origin: In the Italian language, which derives from Latin, “gemma” is the literal translation of the word “gem.” It rose to prominence as a name in the Middle Ages.
  • Pronunciation: “JEH-muh”
  • Popularity: The name Gemma is popular, currently ranked 191st in the United States.
  • Nicknames: Emma, Emmie, Emmy, Gem, Gemmie, Gemmy, Gems, Gigi.
  • Variations: Adili, Ceinwen, Haliya, Joia, Ratna, Rota, Ula, Yari.
  • Namesakes: Gemma Atkinson, Gemma Craven, Gemma Peacocke, Gemma Smith.

What Does Gemma Mean?

The name comes from the Latin word meaning “jewel” or “precious stone” (1).

What is the Origin of the Name Gemma?

As spoken Latin morphed into the Italian language as we understand it today, the word “gemma” remained unchanged.

The word’s first instance as a name appeared during the Medieval era, with one of the most famous examples being Dante Alighieri’s wife, Gemma Di Manetto Donati, born in 1267.

How Popular is the Name Gemma?

The name Gemma is popular, currently ranking as the 191st most popular girl’s name in the United States (2).

It saw a meteoric rise in 2009, skyrocketing to 564th after placing 887th the previous year. Since then, it has consistently climbed the charts, only falling a few spots in 2017 and 2020.

How Do I Pronounce Gemma?

The name Gemma is pronounced JEH-muh. The beginning “j” sound may sometimes be mispronounced as a hard “g” sound, but this is very uncommon.

Is Gemma a Boy or Girl Name?

Gemma is a girl’s name, though there is a historical record of its use as a boy’s name.

The most notable example is Gemma Frisius, who made a name for himself with the invention of Gemma’s rings, an early model of the earth’s equator, meridian, and lines of latitude (3).

Variations of Gemma

Beautiful, sparkling stones have long inspired baby girls’ names across cultures. These variations of Gemma represent names from other languages that mean “jewel” or “gemstone.”

  • Adili (Hebrew)
  • Bijoux (French)
  • Bitxi (Baque)
  • Ceinwen (Welsh)
  • Erdene (Mongolian)
  • Haliya (Arabic)
  • Gahana (Sanskrit)
  • Jemma (British)
  • Joia (Catalan)
  • Juvela (Esperanto)
  • Keo (Laos)
  • Nagisa (Persian)
  • Ngoc (Vietnamese)
  • Ratna (Hindi)
  • Rota (Latvian)
  • Tama (Japanese)
  • Tegen (Cornish)
  • Ula (Celtic)
  • Yari (Spanish)

Nicknames for Gemma

Despite being a relatively short name, Gemma offers a variety of adorable nicknames for you to choose from!

  • Emma
  • Emmie
  • Emmy
  • Gem
  • Gemmie
  • Gemmy
  • Gems
  • Gigi

Similar Names to Gemma

If you’re looking for a name that’s a little more specific than Gemma, these gorgeous options derive from the names of a particular gemstone.

Middle Names for Gemma

Despite being a name with origins in antiquity, Gemma sounds quite modern. Pair it with a classic and sophisticated middle name for a timeless combination.

Sibling Names for Gemma

Though the name comes from Latin and Italian origins, you likely associate the name Gemma and its alternate spelling Jemma with the British. It rose to popularity across the pond in the 1980s and 1990s, cementing its status as a ubiquitous English moniker.

If you’re an Anglophile, these equally charming sibling names for Gemma have the same distinctly Britannic sound.

For Brothers

For Sisters

Famous People Named Gemma

Most famous Gemmas hail from England, Australia, and Italy, many of whom find careers as actresses or models. Your little Gemma can look up to many talented women who share her namesake.

  • Gemma Atkinson: British radio personality, actress, and model.
  • Gemma Chan: British actress known for her roles in “Doctor Who” and “Fresh Meat.”
  • Gemma Collins: British podcaster and reality television star.
  • Gemma Craven: Irish actress best known for her role in “Pennies from Heaven” in 1978.
  • Gemma Frisius: Dutch cartographer and mathematician.
  • Gemma Galgani: Italian venerated saint known as Saint Gemma of Lucca.
  • Gemma Jones: British character actress.
  • Gemma Peacocke: New Zealander composer.
  • Gemma Sanderson: Australian model who won the first cycle of “Australia’s Next Top Model.”
  • Gemma Smith: Australian abstract artist.
  • Gemma Ward: Australian model who was the youngest to ever appear on the cover of “Vogue.

Gemma in Popular Culture

Gemma isn’t as frequently seen in popular culture as Mary, Sarah, and Lucy, but it still gets its fair share of fame in television, movies, and novels.

  • Gemma Ball: Character in the U.S. version of “Shameless.”
  • Gemma Doyle: Main character of the “Gemma Doyle Trilogy” novels.
  • Gemma Larson: Character in the television medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy.”
  • Gemma Reeves: Character in “Neighbours,” an Australian soap opera.
  • Gemma T.: Character in “Dr. Sleep,” a novel by Stephen King.
  • Gemma Simmons: Biochemist in Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
  • Gemma Warren: Main character of Ethel Voynich’s 1897 novel “The Gadfly.”

Gemma FAQs

Still unsure if Gemma is the right choice for your little one? Check out these frequently asked questions to help you decide!

What Is the Name Gemma Short For?

Technically, the name Gemma is not short for anything, but there is some speculation that it is a feminine form of Jim, often used as a nickname for James.

Is Gemma an Old Fashioned Name?

Gemma may seem a bit old-fashioned in the sense that it’s been around since the Middle Ages, but its recent popularity in the United States grants the name a marked trendiness despite its age.

Does Gemma Mean Dove?

The name Gemma is often confused with the meaning “dove” because of the Hebrew name Jemima, who was the daughter of Job. However, Gemma stems from Latin origins, not Hebrew.

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