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Interesting Things About Gemstones

They have dazzled humans for millennia. They’ve got ceremonial and traditional uses that are even followed today. This week’s article explores random facts about various gemstones. Yes, two of the stones are repeats from previous articles, but the facts about them are new. Enjoy!

The ruby is extremely strong.

Rubies are only slightly softer than diamonds. They rate 9 on the Mohs scale, which rates hardness of gems and minerals.

Citrine’s name means “yellow.”

Well, the name in Latin, anyway. The word may stem from the Latin word, citrina, which means “yellow.” It could possibly also have stemmed from the French word, citron, which means “lemon.” As you may have already known, citrines are yellow gemstones, so their name is appropriate.

Emeralds have a lot of folklore usages.

The stones are thought to enhance clairvoyance and psychic powers in their owners. They are also believed to guard against memory loss and to enhance intuition.

Garnets can be found in California.

Garnet Lake in the Sierra Nevada is appropriately named. You can find garnets along the shore and in the general area, the product of ancient volcanic activity. Just be prepared for a long hike and don’t blame me if you get stuck in a storm or eaten by a bear.

Sapphires come from the same mineral as rubies.

Both sapphires and rubies are the gemstone version of the mineral corundum. It’s a pretty simple difference. If the gem is red, it’s a ruby. If it’s any other color, it’s a sapphire. That’s right, sapphires are not all blue. They actually come in many different colors.

Amethyst is an important stone to Buddhists.

Tibetan Buddhist monks use amethysts to make prayer beads. The amethyst is also used to heal and to diagnose disease.

Aquamarines have New Age uses.

They are said to be connected to the throat chakra. This means that they are believed to help and enhance communication skills. There are a few clumsy-mouthed politicians who could use an aquamarine or two.

No one knows why rose quartz is pink.

As the name implies, this is a variety of pink quartz, but geologists are unsure what actually causes the pink coloration. The top three suspects include iron (which gives amethyst its color), titanium, or manganese (which causes a pink or orange color in other rocks).

Diamonds come from volcanoes.

That’s right, volcanoes! These carbon crystals form deep underground, by up to 100 miles down. They are brought to the surface by a phenomenon known as a kimberlite pipe, which is formed by rather violent volcanic eruptions. Interestingly enough, no one has ever seen a kimberlite eruption.

Peridot is also associated with volcanoes.

This is the gemstone variety of olivine, a green mineral that is common in volcanic rock. It is mostly associated with basaltic eruptions, which is why you can find large olivine crystals in the Hawaiian islands. You can find this mineral pretty much anywhere you find volcanoes. I even found it under a microscope in the ash of Mount Saint Helens.

When I was a toddler I had a set of elastic barrettes that came in four different transparent colors. I never actually wore them in my hair, but I did carry them around and pretend they were different kinds of gemstones. My parents were always impressed by the number of gemstone names I knew. This is just proof that I have been a geology nerd for a very, very long time.


Grants Jewelry-

First Class Watches-

American Gem Society-

Jen Lesea Designs-

Rock Seeker-

Koser Jewelers-

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