Apart from gemstones like pearl and amber which are not minerals, all other gemstones are made within the crust of the earth through geological activities after which they are pushed up near the surface.
The geological processes that form these precious stones include the formations of different rock types such as sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous rocks.
Sedimentary rocks usually form when rock is weakened, then the rock fragments are transported either by wind or water. After this, the fragments are compressed over a period of time, thus producing these stones. Examples of these transported minerals include opal, jasper, zircon and malachite.
On the other hand, metamorphic rocks are created using extreme underground pressure or heat which changes the rocks. Examples of stones found in metamorphic rocks include jade, spinel, lapis lazuli, turquoise, ruby, zircon, sapphire as well morganite, aquamarine and emerald, commonly referred to as the beryls.
Igneous rocks are formed when hot, molten rock crystallizes and then solidifies. Garnets, apatite, moonstone, diamond, tanzanite, spinel, topaz, tourmaline, amethyst, ametrine and citrine (the last three are quartzes) are examples of precious stones located in igneous rock.
It is important to note that not all gemstones are regarded as precious. Precious gemstones include emerald, sapphire, diamond and ruby while semi-precious stones include amethyst, turquoise, malachite, lapis lazuli and opal.
The United States Geological Survey defines natural gemstones as stones, minerals or any other organic matter that can be polished and cut and used as ornaments or jewelry. Precious gemstones are regarded as durable, beautiful and rare while semi-precious gemstones may possess only one or two of the stated qualities. A gem is therefore a gemstone that has been cut then polished.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission states that a gemstone’s value may be influenced by its size, it does not matter if the stones were created in a lab or occurred naturally or if they’ve been enhanced. Knowing the origin of a gemstones in the geographical and geological sense may help establish its value.
To distinguish between counterfeit gems or synthetic ones, an Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence is used to determine the originality of colored gemstones as well as their geographical origin. Gemstones with separate origins show different concentrations of trace element combinations. Furthermore, the existence of certain elements may be used to determine the difference between a valuable natural gemstone and a synthetic one.
In short, gemstones are not only found in mines from mountains. For example, diamonds from Oranjemund, Namibia are mined on the beach where they are found on the Atlantic coastline. Similarly, not all mountains have precious stones in them, so that gems will be mined from wherever they are found.
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