A good place to start a basic study of gemstones is their chemical composition. Gems have the same structure, refractive index, and specific gravity, but their atoms can differ and absorb certain colors. The inclusion of certain minerals or impurities can alter the color of a stone. For example, iron and manganese can be added to beryl to change their color. There are many other characteristics to consider, too, such as the clarity of a gemstone.
Many gemstones have medicinal properties that help people overcome emotional hardships. By tempering the emotional discourse, healing gemstones reduce depression, anxiety, self-confidence, and deep intuition. These gemstones empower a person to live their truth. For example, a diamond may reduce a person’s chances of developing depression or anxiety. A gemstone that calms the mind can also help them to become more self-aware and develop self-confidence.
What is a Gemstone?
A gemstone is a chunk of mineral (or other rock or organic substance) that has been cut and polished into jewelry or another item after it has been cut and polished. Although minerals are usually used to make gemstones, other materials such as jet or amber, as well as rocks such as lapis lazuli, can also be used. The bulk of gemstones is hard to the touch, although some soft minerals may be used depending on the piece of jewelry being manufactured. To learn more about this, look into Moh’s Scale of Hardness.
The following are some other names for a gemstone:
- Fine Gem / Gem
- Precious and semi-precious stones
What Causes Gemstones to Form?
Even though the vast majority of gemstones are generated beneath the earth’s surface, the individual stones can be created in a variety of methods. Many of these precious stones are formed when minerals react with water located close beneath the earth’s surface, and the minerals subsequently dissolve. Minerals such as opals, agates, and amethysts form as the solution cools or evaporates, allowing for the formation of gemstones such as opals, agates, and amethysts.
When water combines with copper-rich minerals, gems such as malachite, azurite, and turquoise are created. Turquoise stones have a long and illustrious history, with the ancient Egyptians considering them to be exceedingly valuable. Turquoise stones have been existing for at least 4,000 years, perhaps not longer!
Carats of Gemstones
The gemstone’s weight is expressed in carats (5 carats = 1 gram). It’s crucial to understand that some gems are denser than others. A one-carat ruby (which is quite dense) will be smaller than a one-carat emerald (less dense). Furthermore, even if the size of the diamonds is comparable, the value of the jewels can vary greatly.
Colors of Gemstones
The beauty of gemstones is diverse, and many are available in a dazzling range of tints and colors. Most gemstones are unattractive in their natural condition, like ordinary rocks or pebbles, but with expert cutting and polishing, the entire color and shine are revealed. The most desired gemstones are those with clear, medium-tone, vivid, and saturated primary hues.
The price of gemstones is heavily controlled by supply and demand, as is the case with any other major business.
When it comes to diamonds, one of the most significant factors for people to consider is their worth and price, but like with many businesses, supply and demand rule the day. This means that rare stones will be more expensive.
A garnet, for example, is incredibly trendy and lovely, but it is not particularly rare, therefore its price is reasonable. When a garnet is compared to a ruby of comparable size and condition, the ruby will always command a greater price simply because it is a rare stone.
Because there is no uniform classification or measurement system in place, it is often difficult to assign a true value to any given gemstone. Gemstones differ from diamonds in this regard, as diamonds have been measured consistently since the 1950s. Gemstones have traditionally been examined and valued solely by sight. The four C’s, or color, clarity, cut, and carat, are the four most significant factors to consider while inspecting a gemstone.
Even though diamonds are one of the most valuable items on the planet, there are a number of gemstones that are more difficult to come by than diamonds. The following are some of the rarest gemstones:
- Beryl (Red)
Hardness of Gemstones
The only factor that determines gem durability is the stone’s hardness. It describes the gem’s resistance to scratching and abrasions, as well as how the gem’s surface will react to touch with a sharp point. On a scale of 1 (softest – Talc) to 10 (hardest – Diamond), the Mohs Scale measures the hardness of gems and minerals. The scale was created in 1822 by Friedrich Mohs, who chose ten minerals and assigned numbers to them based on how easily or difficultly one can be scratched by another.
Gemstone Drilling, Cutting, Polishing, and Carving
You might be interested in our straightforward step-by-step guide on How to Drill Gemstones for more lessons and information.
Diamond tools are required to polish, carve, slice, cut, and file your gemstones. Come see Eternal Tools for a large selection of wheels, burrs, files, pastes, drill bits, and laps. Tools made of diamonds
Whether you’re wanting to carve, wire wrap, set, or drill your jewels, we hope that the precision instruments available at Eternal Tools can assist you.
Gemstone Purchasing Tips
It’s easy to see why so many people want to acquire gemstones because they’re the focal focus of so many beautiful pieces of jewelry. When shopping for gemstones, though, it helps to know what you’re doing and what you’re searching for.
It should go without saying that you should only purchase diamonds from reputable companies or individuals. If a deal for gemstones appears to be too good to be true, it almost certainly is. The chance to save a lot of money when purchasing a diamond is highly appealing, and this can inspire consumers to hunt for deals. However, there’s a good chance you’ll end up paying a lot of money for a fake or synthetic gemstone in this situation.
When shopping for a gemstone, it is far easier to find a natural gemstone when you are seeking a specific color rather than a specific sort of stone. In this situation, untreated gemstones such as peridot, alexandrite, or moonstone are the best choice.
When purchasing gemstones, as with any other large purchase, it is wise to conduct preliminary research and shop around at numerous shops or outlets before making a decision. If the appearance and design of a piece of jewelry are more important to you than its authenticity, a synthetic gemstone may be a better choice. Synthetic gemstones manufactured in laboratories look just as good as traditional gemstones (with fewer flaws in some cases).
Species and Varieties of Gemstones
Many gemstones are classified into groups or species based on their crystal structure and chemical composition. Beryl, corundum, garnet, quartz, and tourmaline are some of the most important gemstone species. In addition, each species may have one or more variations with unique coloring or characteristics. The species corundum, for example, contains the ruby and sapphire variations. However, not every gemstone variety belongs to a group; many are one-of-a-kind jewels with no features in common with other gems. Peridot, zircon, topaz, and spinel, for example.
Non-Mineral Gemstones vs. Mineral Gemstones
Although most gemstones are minerals, there are a few that aren’t. Minerals are inorganic substances with specific chemical compositions and crystalline structures that occur naturally in the Earth’s crust. Color, hardness, crystal shape, specific gravity, luster, fracture, and tenacity are among the characteristics that distinguish minerals. We call a mineral a gemstone when it is considered rare and extraordinarily beautiful (for instance diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire). Minerals can be gemstones, but gemstones can’t always be minerals.
Minerals are made up of rocks, but rocks are not made up of minerals. A rock is a natural, inorganic, solid substance with no defined atomic structure or chemical composition. It’s a hard solid made up of two or more minerals that have all been firmly bonded together.
Non-mineral or organic gemstones, such as pearl, coral, amber, ivory, and jet, are made from living organisms such as animals and plants that have evolved into magnificent gemstones through natural processes.
Gemstones: Precious vs. Semi-Precious
The classification of gemstones as precious or semi-precious is one of their most important characteristics. This is a marketing word that is used to make certain stones appear more valuable or uncommon than others. Precious gemstones are beautiful, durable, and rare, but semi-precious gemstones only have one or two of these characteristics. Diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are all precious stones, making them the most valuable and sought. The rest of the jewels are classified as semi-precious.
Synthetic vs. Natural Gemstones
Natural gemstones are discovered in nature and are formed deep within the Earth before being extracted. They’re occasionally augmented, which implies they’ve been given a special treatment to boost their color or clarity. This frequently necessitates the use of heat or delicate chemical reactions. The value of the stone might be affected by the type and intensity of treatment.
Synthetic or lab-made gemstones, on the other hand, are generated by human and machine labor in laboratories. They’re chemically, physically, and optically identical to natural stones. Lab-created gemstones, of course, lack the uniqueness of natural gemstones, making them less costly. Almost all prominent gemstones are now available in synthetic form. Some current synthetic gemstones have a more natural appearance and are more difficult to spot, although a skilled jeweler or gemologist can generally spot them.
Simulant or imitation gemstones are anything that looks like natural gemstones but doesn’t have the same physical or chemical properties. These things are typically far less expensive than their natural counterparts. Simulant stones are frequently constructed of glass or plastic, and the majority of them may be easily identified by a jeweler.
What are Gemstones’ Functions?
Gemstones are primarily utilized to enhance, balance, and redirect specific energies associated with natal planets or transits. Nonetheless, it can be used to warn you about the consequences of your actions, acting as a deterrent to taking action.
A birthstone is a stone that represents the month of someone’s birth. Birthstones are given as gifts as a celebration of their life. Despite their uniqueness, each gemstone has an innate ability to reflect a person’s personality. Whether you’re looking for something more beautiful or a unique gift for your friend, there is a gemstone out there for you. The choices are endless when it comes to the type of gemstone you choose to wear.
Are All Minerals Considered Gems?
Minerals can be gemstones, but gemstones can’t always be minerals. Minerals are made up of rocks, but rocks are not made up of minerals. A rock is a natural, inorganic, solid substance with no defined atomic structure or chemical composition.
There are two main types of gemstones – semi-precious and precious. They are usually grouped based on their rarity and value. Some semi-precious stones may be more valuable than precious ones. You should choose the gemstone that best represents your tastes, personality, and budget. Remember to consider the importance of each gemstone when choosing a piece of jewelry. So now you know what is precious and semi-precious.
The majority of commercial gemstones undergo some form of treatment, including cutting and polishing. These enhancements are intended to improve the color, clarity, and durability of the stone. Gemstones that have been enhanced by this process should not be confused with laboratory-created stones. You can find many ways to enhance the color and clarity of gemstones. The most common process is heating the stone, which brings out its brilliant color. A chemical treatment called diffusion is also commonly used.
The beauty of a natural gemstone can’t be matched with the look of manmade imitations. A genuine gemstone is mined, cut, and polished, so it can have slight imperfections. No two beads will be exactly alike. Try running your fingernails over them and you’ll feel divots. Similarly, a bead that has a smooth surface is more likely to have been altered in some way.