We mostly get gems in the form of minerals within the Earth. Most form as crystals, solids whose atoms are arranged in highly ordered repeating patterns called crystal systems.
For thousands of years, terms such as rubies, sapphires, gems, and jewels have been known to humankind. However, some find defining a gem quite challenging.
Minerals vs. Organics:
Most gems are minerals, whereas pearl and amber are organics. Living organisms create these materials. A mineral is created inside the Earth. Hence, pearls fall into a different category. Likewise, amber began life as tree sap, which after millions of years, was transformed into a polymer, a natural plastic. Even though people have regarded amber as a gem for thousands of years, it’s definitely not a mineral.
Some people would consider gems colored Pepto Bismol pink and olive green unattractive. Some find them beautiful. Brown gems are well known as “earth tone” in jewelry pieces. Of course, others have different tastes. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but do all who choose Crystal Gems, choose beauty? So do all gem enthusiasts select gemstones because they find them beautiful?
For gemstone buyers, it’s the durability and wearability, which is given high priority. Two most popular gems are particularly delicate. Pearls generally last about a century as jewelry stones due to their softness. Even the simple act of wiping off dust will slowly wear away their coating. Perfumes and hairsprays can also stain and damage pearls.
Cutting and polishing:
So much for beauty and durability. How about cutting and polishing? Currently, many people love to use whole crystals in jewelry. In decades past, this wasn’t the case. Mother Nature’s crystals can be quite exquisite. Some are often believed to have special, metaphysical properties that are enhanced when left whole. So, it won’t be wise to make the gems undergo cutting and polishing.
The last but not the least qualification usually associated with a gemstone is its use for human adornment. People have been cutting, polishing, and have admired about 3,000 minerals. Of which, only about a hundred show up in jewelry. The rest are simply too delicate even to wear well. They fall strictly in the collector’s domain.
The color and light of gemstone is the main allure that lies behind its fantasy. Beautifully colored stones have fascinated people since time immemorial. The love of gems hasn’t changed. However, now we have to contend with a very scientific element. As much as we love the science of geology, it has the unfortunate side effect of taking much of the mystique and romance out of the stones.
There have been many healing properties of gemstones and crystals. People have been using the power of crystals to release mental, physical and spiritual blockages, thus facilitating the free flow of throughout the body. If we look into a cellular level, our bodies and quartz are both made up of mineral silicon-dioxide. Moreover, because of this, we are natural recipients to the vibrations of crystals as they transmit, reflect, store light and receive energy.