Gemstones

WHAT IS GEM ?

Gemstones are among Earth’s rarest and most beautiful creations. They have been called the flowers of the mineral kingdom, but unlike the ephemeral glory of a blossom, the beauty of gemstones is undiminished with time. It is this that distinguishes gems from most other objects desired by people. Gems accumulate history. The very stone that once adorned a king or queen might today be set in someone’s finger ring and if it is not destroyed, will still sparkle as brightly thousands years from now.

Gemstones are among Earth’s rarest and most beautiful creations. They have been called the flowers of the mineral kingdom, but unlike the ephemeral glory of a blossom, the beauty of gemstones is undiminished with time. It is this that distinguishes gems from most other objects desired by people. Gems accumulate history. The very stone that once adorned a king or queen might today be set in someone’s finger ring and if it is not destroyed, will still sparkle as brightly thousands years from now.
Since ancient times gems have been coveted because they are valuable, probably more so per volume than any other artifacts from or on the Earth. They are history’s preeminent symbols of great wealth and tokens of power, used not only in objects of political signification but also as amulets, talismans and charms. Stones have always fascinated mankind. It has been worn upon the person since prehistoric times. Stones play the principal part in most of Jewellery. In former centuries they were reserved for the ruling classes only. Today everybody can afford beautiful stones for jewellery and adornment.

DEFINITION OF GEM

The general accepted definition for the term gem or gemstone, that they all have something special, something beautiful about them. Rarity, beauty & durability are plays a role in the classifications as gemstone. For some gemstones the source of specialness and beauty is the colour, an unusual optical phenomenon, or the sine that makes them stands out in comparison to other stones. For other stones it is the hardness or an interesting inclusion that makes them special.

RARITY

The most important factor that increases the value of gems is its Rarity. World famous diamond possessors are ready to sacrifice everything for their possession as they know they possess a thing which is one of its kinds. We all know that Koh-e-noor (Kohinoor) was owned by India, it was one of the greatest jewel possessed by us, but even though not with us, reason… simple it is rare and exemplar. So it was intrigued out of India. It could have been with us if it was not rare and magnificent. Another reason is natural things are God’s best gifts to us. That is to say even if we have clone of Kohinoor, it won’t be as beautiful as real Kohinoor. That is even today’s latest technology, and this synthesized world cannot satisfy our demand of, so we wander or steal natural things. Same story goes with gemstones. Real gemstones are real one.

Rarity of a gemstone also play a key role in determining the value of gemstone, it will be highly priced if it is rare. Colour, clarity and carat weight of gemstones are the traits that specifies its rarity. Even a rare gemstone that has a rare colour is appreciated & highly prices by traders.

DURABILITY

Durability is the attribute of gemstone, which determines how long cans a gemstone last. More durable stone it has more long lasting capacity. Of course every buyer likes to have gems, that remaining with him forever. This is the reason why diamonds are most durable than any other gems on earth. Gemstones are inactive towards atmosphere and other elements in nature. As a result stones possess durability and their beauty doesn’t perish with time. Among many factors responsible for durability, hardness is one of them.

Hardness of the gems can be tested by Mohs’ scale. Mohs’ scale was discovered by a Viennese mineralogist Friedrich Mohs (1773-1839). Moh scale determines the scratch hardness of stone. Moh setup a comparison scale using tem minerals of different degree of hardness. No.-1 is the softest and no.-10 is the hardest degree. Each mineral in series, scratches the previous one. And return is scratched by the one which follows after.

Stones that possess hardness degree 1 & 2 are considered to be soft; those of the degree 3 to 5 are medium hard and stone having hardness 6 and more than 6 are considered to be hard.

Talk has the hardness degree 1 it is the softest of all mineral; it is so soft that it can even be scratched by our nail. Ruby ranks 9th on Mohs’ scale and diamond occupy 10th position with the title of hardest mineral known on earth.

BEAUTY

The most important trait that attracts us towards gemstones is their beauty. A beautiful thing catches everyone’s attractions. Gems are clear example of beauty, rarity & durability. Rare things are precious possession of every beauty. Beauty is the only attribute that attracts men & women of every aura towards it.

TYPES OF GEMS

Most gemstones are minerals, mineral aggregates or more rarely rocks and some are organic formations. Minerals: A mineral, by definition, is any naturally occurring, inorganic substance, often additionally characterized by an exact crystal structure that is solid and stable at room temperature. Its chemical structure can be exact, or can vary within limits. Native elements that occur naturally are also considered minerals.

All minerals belong to a chemical group, which represents their affiliation with certain elements or compounds. The classified chemical groups are known as: Elements, Sulfides, Oxides, Halides, Carbonates, Nitrates, Borates, Sulfates, Chromates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates, Tungstates, Molybdates and Silicates. Some of these chemical groups have sub-categories, which may be categorized in some mineral references as separate groups.

All minerals belong to one of the six crystal groups, classified according to the way the atoms of the mineral are arranged. Minerals also have distinctive properties, such as color, hardness, crystal habit, specific gravity, luster, fracture and tenacity. Many of these properties can vary among a single mineral, within limits. Many minerals exhibit certain properties that others do not, such as fluorescence and radioactivity.

Minerals are an economic commodity; they are mined because of the need for a valuable element they contain or an intrinsic property they may have. Other minerals are mined for their beauty and rareness, thus giving many specimens an accepted worldwide value. There are over 4,900 known mineral species; over 4,660 of these have been approved by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA). The silicate minerals compose over 90% of the Earth’s crust. The diversity and abundance of mineral species is controlled by the Earth’s chemistry. The vast majority is not known to professional mineral collectors, because they are rare, have no economic purpose, and for the most part do not make good specimens. Diamond, Ruby, Emerald are mineral.

Mineral aggregate: means rock or gravel or sand or a blend thereof, which may or may not be crushed, screened to size and blended for different uses.

Rarely rocks: A rock is an indefinite mixture of naturally occurring substances, mainly minerals. Its makeup may vary in containment of minerals and organic substances, and its composition is never exact. Rocks can be composed of tiny microscopic grains of minerals or organic substances to coarse mineral agglomerates where the individual minerals are easily discernible. Rocks may range in size from tiny pebbles to huge mountains. Rocks make up the earth’s crust. Many rocks are not solid, such as magma, soil, and clay. Different mineral deposits can be found in related rock formations, providing use by estimating what minerals rock formations may contain. Organic Gems: An organic gem derived from animal or plant life technically not a stone, is related to living things either it is past or present.

Gems have been worn upon the person since prehistoric times and in most jewellery. Gems play the principal part and are used to make jewelry or other adornments. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Apart from jewelry, from earliest antiquity until the 19th century engraved gems and hard stone carvings such as cups were major luxury art forms.

GEMS RUBY

Ruby is the oldest or first known of all precious stones dating back in early history. It is thus name because of its red colour. In Sanskrit it’s called “Padmarag” or “Vasu-Ratna”. It is a most valuable variety of transparent Corundum & an oxide of Aluminum. The colour ranges from pink to deep red. The most desirable colour is the so called “pigeon blood red”, pure red tinted with purple. Flawless specimens showing the most desirable colours are rare; the varieties of shades are due to the presence of a small quantity of oxide of chromium, and in the case of brownish tones, iron is present as well. As a rough stone, ruby appears dull and greasy, but, when cut, the luster can approach that of diamond. Heat treatment is commonly used to improve the colour. In whish ruby a star of rays is seen in a particular cut, is called “Star Ruby”. Ruby is the hardest mineral after diamond. The rubies with the finest colour come from the Mogok district of upper Burma (now calling Myanmar). Light red comes from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) & dark brownish-red from Thailand (Siam). Other sources for rubies are India, Pakistan and Tanzania. The highest quality, best colour and most transparent stones (usually from Burma), can be as valuable as diamonds, or even more so and exceeded in value only by emerald. Among the famous true rubies are “Anne of Brittany’s Ruby, De Long Star Ruby, Edwards Ruby, Peace Ruby and Rosser Reeves Star Ruby.



GEMS SAPPHIRE

The variety of transparent corundum of any colour other then red (which is Ruby) & golden (Pukhraj). The name Sapphire is probably derived from Sanskrit word “Neelmani”. Sapphire can be a very dark blue, to the point of seeming dense and blackish from a distance, sometimes accompanied by a blue to dull green pleochroism, which is only visible from the side in the cut stones. They may also be a strong, but not to bright blue, easily recognizable from a distance this being the ideal colour. The usual and preferable best colour is pure cornflower-blue, like neck of peacock; it’s calling “MAYUR NEELAM” or “KASHMIR SAPPHIRE” because of find in Kashmir, India. Other colours available in sapphire are white, green, pink, brown, black, iron, orange, light red, & violet. Any sapphire that is not blue is sometimes called a “fancy sapphire”. Some sapphires change colour in daylight from that in artificial light. Sometimes the yellow variety of corundum called “Golden Sapphire” or “Pukhraj”, the dark green “Oriental Emerald” & the purple is “Oriental Amethyst”. Other sources of sapphire are Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, United States, Tanzania & Malawi. Among the most famous or larger sapphires are the Bismarck Sapphire, Lincoln Sapphire, Logan Sapphire, Raspoli Sapphire, St. Edward’s Sapphire, Stuart Sapphire & Gem of the Jungle, and among those that show asterism are the Star of Asia & Star of India.

GEMS EMERALD

The name of Emerald derives from Greek word “smaragdos”. Emeralds are probably the rarest of all precious stones and are considered even more valuable then the Diamond. Emerald is basically the green variety of Beryl. The emerald is found in the rock in which it was formed and unlike diamonds, it is never occurs in gem gravels. The typical colour is a beautiful distinctive hue known, in fact, as Emerald green and is due to traces of chromium in the crystal structure. But emeralds can be light or dark green, bright green or leaf green. The shades most highly valued are those of an intense fresh green. The best emeralds are found from the mines of Columbia, South America and some also found in the U.S. mines. The biggest and most beautiful emeralds come from the famous Chivor and Mezzo mines of Columbia. Other emerald mines are in Brazil, Transvaal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, India, Pakistan & Austria too. The most famous quality 2 colour emeralds are found from Sandawana in Zimbabwe. Emeralds of fine colour, weighing more than 2 carats are among the most highly valued and their price may equal or exceed that of Diamonds. Less ideally coloured varieties-too dark or too pale –are worth quite a lot less and if they are slightly turbid as well, the value is reduced even further.

GEMS PEARL

Pearls have been considered from the earliest times among the most splendid gems. Pearl is composed of conchiolin and calcium carbonate. In Sanskrit pearls called “Mukta”. As in Indian earliest history pearls are dividing in nine categories:

1) Gaj-Mukta: This rarest pearl was found from head elephant.

2) Sarp-Mukta: This pearl was found from “Vasuki” Snakes. It’s of bluish shades.

3) Meen-Mukta: This type pearls found from fish stomach.

4) Bansh-Mukta: This pearls found from Bamboo tree.

5) Aakash-Mukta: This pearl fall from sky with rain drops.

6) Shankh-Mukta: Found from “Panchjanya”-Shell.

7) Megh-Mukta: This pearl fall from sky & its look like water drops.

8) Shukar-Mukta: These round yellowish pearls found in a kind of sea creature “Mother of Pearl”. Pearl is formed by saltwater oyster, some freshwater mussels, and more rarely by other shellfish. Pearls are globular, usually almost spherical cysts, which form inside the tissues of the mollusk. Sometimes, they are pear, egg, bean-shaped or display more pronounced irregularities consisting of roundish apophyges or even sharp crests. The colour is generally much the same as that of the inside of the oyster shell. Most pearls, therefore, are white with a touch of gray to yellowish gray-white, but they may be grayish, blackish or iridescent from gray to green – blue – violet and pink. Pearls assume every colour of rainbow. Pearls are composed of numerous, thin, concentric layers, which are deposited successively by the mollusk. To some extent, the older the pearl, the bigger it is, and the more numerous are the constituent layers. But in cultured pearls, which nowadays far outnumber the others, the inside consists of a spherical nucleus of mother-of-pearl, often taken from the shell of another mollusk, artificially shaped into a bead, but composed of flat, parallel layers, surrounded by a number of concentric layers of nacre deposited around it by the pearl producing mollusk.

Natural Pearls:Natural pearls are those pearls that come into being without intervention by human being, in the ocean as well as in fresh-water.

Sea Pearl: Pearl-producing Sea mollusks live along stretches of coast at a depth of about 50-60 feet, the various species range in size from about 2.5” to 12”; their life span is about 13 years.

River Pearls: Fishing of natural pearls in fresh-water, the river pearls is today of  no great importance commercially; they rarely of good quality.

Cultured Pearls:A variety of pearl that is created by a mollusk in the same manner as a natural (wild) pearl except that the process is stimulated by the human insertion into the shell of a grain of sand, a bead, a piece of mantle tissue, or other irritant that becomes the nucleus of the pearl when encased in many layers of nacre. The method was first attempted in China in the 13th century and again later in the 18th century in Sweden, but it was accomplished. In 1896 by Kokichi Mikimoto who produce first a type of blister pearl (called a Mabe pearl). Latter in 1915, he and other perfected the cultured spherical pearl, for which purpose native Japanese pearl oyster have since been specially cultivated; the method involve inserting into an incision in the mantle of the oyster a peace of living mantle tissue from another oyster that enclosed a mother-of-pearl bead (letter the silver of tissue was first inserted and then the bead) and covering the hole with nacreous material and returning the oyster to the sea, where it secretes nacre to enlarge the nucleus. Such cultured pearls were introduced into the London market in 1921, and the peace of cultured pearls soon greatly dropped, especially when methods of identification were developed.

The people of India & Persia were among the earliest to collect them because of the fisheries of Ceylon and the Persian Gulf. Most of the few natural pearls harvested nowadays come from the Persian Gulf (called “Persian Pearl”, “Basra Pearl” or Basarai Moti”), South India (called Tutikorean pearl), Sri Lanka, the Red Sea & the Philippines; some small quantities also come from the sea of Venezuela, Australia, Japan and from the Gulf of California. The cultured pearl mostly comes from Japan, India, Australia & China.

Value of Pearls: Pearl is a most valuable gem in antiquity. It’s valued according to shapes, colour, size, regularity-of-form, compactness, surface condition and luster. The most valuable is the spherical shape. Those flattened on one side or half-spherical pearls are called “Button Pearls” and irregular pearls are baroque pearls. The more watery, translucent ones are less durable; therefore less valuable. In the case of a number of a pearls in a peace of jewellery, much depends on their infirmity of colour or, at any rate, how well matched they are. A string of pearl of equal diameter is worth much more then one consisting of pearls of graduated diameters (larger at the center, smaller at the ends), because numerous pearls of a uniform size are harder to find. Even a pair of matching pearls is worth more than double the peace of a single pearl, because of the quantities that have to be sorted to find two that are identical. Manu natural pearls are old or antique and when they are in a poor stage of repair, dehydrated or cracked, brittle or yellowed with age, their value is greatly reduced.

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