A gemstone which can otherwise be referred to as a gem, precious stone, fine gem, or jewel is a mineral, rock, or organic matter that is known for its beauty, rarity and durability. When discovered, gemstones are cut or faceted, they are then polished and used to make jewelry, antiques, or other forms of human adornments.
Gemstones are usually formed with the crust of the earth after undergoing pressure and heat. They are then brought to the surface through volcanic and seismic activities.
Most gemstones are generally hard but some are soft. These soft ones cannot be used for making jewelry due to their fragility. They are therefore often used as exhibitions in museums or sought out by collectors.
Since ancient times, these precious stones have attracted humans. Their beauty usually lies in their color or the lack of it. For gems without color, fire and extreme limpidity help to provide their attraction and beauty.
Other characteristics that might make a gem attractive include their opalescence, iridescence, asterism, chatoyance, luster and pattern. A gemstone must be durable in order to withstand wear and tear. You can read more about this here.
What are Some Common Gemstones?
While there are a lot of precious stones available, some are more common and popular than others. The fact that they are common does not mean that they have a lesser value, rather it means humans seem to prefer them. Below are a few of them.
Amethyst is the most popular purple precious stone in the world. It is best known for being the birthstone of February as well as an important gem of the new age. It is the purple variety of quartz and it comes in varying shades of purple.
Amethyst is durable and has a number 7 on the Mohs scale. This makes it quite an excellent choice for making jewelry. With large deposits in Africa and South America, amethyst is available and affordable.
Diamonds are probably the most valuable and most popular gemstone available. They are rare but naturally occurring minerals that are composed of carbon. Each carbon in a diamond is surrounded by four others with strong covalent bonds connecting them making them very strong, hard and durable. This makes it the hardest known substance with a score of 10 on the Mohs scale. You can read up about the Mohs scale here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_scale_of_mineral_hardness.
Diamonds are also chemically resistant. With a high thermal conductivity which makes them suitable as cutting tools. They also have a high refraction index and dispersion making them useful in specialty lenses. Diamonds are even available in colors such as a pink diamond.
Diamond is the birthstone of April and it is a popular choice in making jewelry such as wedding and engagement rings.
Emeralds belong to the beryl mineral family. They have a rich yet distinct green color and are usually found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. They remain one of the most valuable and desirable gemstones over the years.
Emerald is the birthstone for people born in May and alongside ruby and sapphire, they form the big three of precious and colored stones. This is because they bring about more economic activity than other precious stones combined.
Jade is a translucent gem that consists of jadeite and nephrite. It is a very durable material which makes it suitable for use in ornaments, tools, jewelry, sculptures, weapons, etc. A lot of people think of jade as beautiful green but it occurs in a variety of colors. These can include white, yellow, black, lavender, blue, orange, red and gray in addition to green.
Ruby and Sapphire
Ruby and sapphire are gemstones of the mineral corundum. They both have the same mineral structure and chemical composition. What differentiates one from another is the trace quantities of impurities present. It is what determines if a gem will be a beautiful blue sapphire or a bright red ruby.
Blue and red are only just two of the colors that can be found in corundum. Other colors include orange, yellow, green and purple.
While rubies are the birthstone of people born in July, sapphire is the birthstone of September. Rubies must be red to be classified as such while sapphires must be blue. Both can range in shades of their color with different hues. They are great choices when it comes to making all types of jewelry.
You can check out these netcoalition pics to see more gemstones and learn about them.
Gemstones are precious and valuable. Most of the time they are used in making jewelry but much more than that, they are useful for other purposes.
Although there are some common and popular ones, there are however, a lot of gemstones available to choose from. Whichever one you decide to choose, you can be sure to enjoy its beauty and durability.