Gemstones are some of the most beautiful and precious natural materials on Earth. They have been treasured by cultures around the world for centuries, and their value often extends far beyond their physical appearance. But what exactly are gemstones? How do they form, and what makes them so special?

The Science Behind Gemstones

Gemstones are actually minerals, which are defined as naturally occurring inorganic solids with definite chemical composition and a crystalline structure. In other words, gemstones are made up of atoms of elements that are arranged in a regular, repeating pattern.

There are over 4,000 different types of minerals in the world, but only a handful are commonly used as gemstones. The most popular gemstones include diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.

How Do Gemstones Form?

selective focus photo of red gemstone

Image source: Unsplash

Most gemstones form deep within the Earth, under conditions of high pressure and temperature. For example, diamonds are thought to form about 100 miles below the Earth’s surface, where temperatures reach around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures are about 60,000 times greater than atmospheric pressure.

Over time, these conditions can cause changes in the structure of the minerals, resulting in the formation of gemstones. For example, diamonds form when the carbon atoms in rocks are rearranged into a different crystal structure under high pressure and temperature. This process is known as “crystalization.”

What Makes Gemstones So Special?

Gemstones are special because of their rarity, durability, and beauty. For example, diamonds are the hardest known material and can only be scratched by other diamonds. They are also very rare, with only about 0.01% of the Earth’s crust consisting of diamonds.

Rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are also very durable, with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale (diamonds are a 10). They are also quite rare, with emeralds being the rarest of the three.

In terms of beauty, gemstones are prized for their colour, lustre, and transparency. Diamonds, for example, are prized for their brilliance (the ability to reflect light) and fire (the dispersion of light into spectral colours). Sapphires and rubies are valued for their rich blue and red colours, respectively.

The History of Gemstone Jewellery

Throughout history, gemstones have been prized for their beauty and rarity. For centuries, they have been used to adorn royalty and the wealthy. The first recorded use of diamonds in jewellery was in India, over 2,000 years ago. Since then, diamonds have remained one of the most popular gemstones. They are often seen as a symbol of love and commitment, making them a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands. Other popular gemstones include rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. These stones are often associated with wealth and power, making them a popular choice for luxury jewellery.

Gemstones have been used in jewellery for centuries, and their popularity is only likely to continue. Thanks to their beauty and meaning, they will always be treasured by those who wear them.

How to Care for Your Gemstone Jewelry

Gemstone jewellery is a beautiful and precious addition to any wardrobe. However, it does require some special care. Here are a few tips:

  • Store your gemstone jewellery in a soft cloth pouch or box.
  • Avoid exposing your gemstones to harsh chemicals, such as bleach.
  • Clean your gemstones with a soft, damp cloth.
  • Have your gemstone jewellery professionally cleaned and inspected every few years.

Gemstones are precious materials that form deep within the Earth under conditions of high pressure and temperature. They are prized for their rarity, durability, and beauty. Gemstone jewellery is a beautiful and precious addition to any wardrobe, but it does require some special care.