Deep inside planet Earth, stones are being formed into priceless gemstones. Whatever crystal or stone the Earth is making, it is regarded as a gemstone if worn as jewelry.
Some of these “stories” occur naturally, like pearls, which originate from shell. Gemstones have two different categories: semiprecious stones and rare durable stones. The semiprecious gemstones are quartz, amethyst, jade, garnet, and topaz. The most precious stones are ruby, sapphire, emerald, and diamond.
Diamonds are the most valuable gemstone; they have a condensed crystal structure, which makes it the hardest natural substance. The recipe for a diamond involves three simple ingredients: carbon, pressure, and millions of years.
Millions of years ago, 375 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, the diamond formation process began. It came to the surface because it was ejected from a type of volcano that no longer exists.
When a natural diamond crystal survives its fiery entrance to the world, it has eight segments. It is cut delicately with diamond saws so it has multiple sparkling sides, referred to as facets. The best-known type of diamond, has 58 facets and is a world-class cut diamond. Polished diamonds for jewelry can be worth thousands of dollars for one carat (0.01 ounces.)
Emeralds form when chemical compounds, called beryllium and chromium react with carborundum or aluminum oxide. Columbia owns some of the most beautiful emeralds because of what is beneath the Earth there.
Other gemstones beneath Earth are lapis lazuli, quartz, and rutilated quartz. Lapis lazuli is found in igneous rock, which is formed through cooling of lava or magma, and metamorphic rock – rock that has been changed by extreme heat – that is enriched in carbonate. Quartz is a semiprecious stone that comes in different forms. One form it comes in is rutilated quartz, described as black needle like crystals, which contains a titanium ore, and crystals of rutile.
We’ve learned about the creation of precious and semiprecious gems over many years. One thing we’ve learned is that gemstones have an impact in science in various of ways providing a better understanding of these wonders for the future.
[source: The Kingfisher Young People's Book of Planet Earth]