Have you ever wondered what a winsome castle our Earth is, a diversified land of flora and fauna with an amazing platter of assorted natural minerals spread under vast stretches of baffling geological formations? Aahhh! What a majestic garden of “rock & roll” is the Grand Canyon and I am still in awe of the enigmatic cocktail of corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But there’s more in the lap of Mother Nature, she is constantly popping out novel wonders from its pocket of surprises.
Take instance from the millions of mystifying minerals boiling a concoction immensely deep within the peaceful boundaries of the Earth’s surface. It’s too quiet outside but too messy, nope…too wondrous inside. If you are still scratching your head, speculating about what is stewing beneath the ground but on your kitchen stove, then don’t freak out fellas!!!
We are not predicting a volcanic eruption but pinpointing the diverse forms of gems, I mean…natural gemstones, taking bewildering configurations round the clock (even when you are reading this article) in enormous depths of the Earth…Do you get it now? Take a deep breather first…
Getting Acquainted with Gemstones
Well, I believe none of us is completely foreign to the term gemstones, right? Gemstones are aesthetic crystals that have been around since time immemorial. For centuries, humans have been adorning gemstones in the form of ornaments to beautify their appearance and to symbolize prosperity, good luck, success and supremacy. Gemstones are known for exhibiting striking physical features and possessing majestic lustrous appeal, for which they have been used as decorative elements in ageless pieces of artifacts.
Exploring the Diverse World of Natural Gemstones
Though enough has been seen and said about gemstones, every time I take a look at these natural byproducts of minerals, my imagination runs wild, pondering what’s going on in underground levels of the Earth. This takes us to our next topic of discussion… what’s exactly the story behind the origin of gemstones, or rather I should quote “natural gemstones”.
Natural gemstones are natural minerals that are mined from the Earth’s crust and later cut and polished or faceted into priceless gems adorned in ornaments. These gemstones have been formed as a result of the crystallization of minerals for millions of years deep within the Earth’s surface under extremely high temperatures and pressure. Natural gemstones are found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks in the Earth’s crust as well as in alluvial gravels.
Woowww!!! Isn’t the reach of these aesthetic pebbles extraordinary??? But here’s the catch. While most natural gemstones are mined from the crust, peridots and diamonds, that are formed in the Earth’s mantle, find their way to the surface with volcanic eruptions. Ohh I see, after all, that terribly hot magma and the monstrous clouds of smoke are not just to wreck the atmosphere, but also to bestow us with some exceptionally priced gems.
Guess what? Not the entire treasure trove is concealed in the Earth’s womb. Some natural gemstones are also made up of organic matter that has been extracted from living or already dead organisms, such as pearls, amber and coral. Now, that’s what we call a world of diversity united by Mother Nature’s authenticity.
Natural Gemstones Types
Mother Nature does not distinguish between her creations, but humans have acquired too much of brain cells to draw the line, categorizing natural gemstones based on their brilliance, durability and rarity. This brings us to our next headline, the classification of gemstones as precious and semi-precious. Precious gemstones are priced for their rare fine quality and exceptional hardness (scoring between 8 and 10 on the 10-point Mohs hardness scale) which makes them highly valuable. The four gemstones in this list are – diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds.
Semi-precious gemstones, on the other hand, score lower than 8 on the Mohs scale and are comparatively lower in demand and value than precious gemstones. Nonetheless, semi-precious variants are equally captivating in appearance with some exceptional gemstones being even more valuable and rarer than the precious ones. Yes, that’s so true, otherwise, what were you thinking, the entire world revolves around the high & mighty four precious nominees. Semi precious joiners are so excelling at amusing our hearts with their fashionable and pocket-friendly roleplay.
Those eccentric fellows who take my words for granted can peek into the enchanting beauty of aquamarines, pearls, alexandrites, morganites, spinels, tourmalines, garnets, peridots, opals, tanzanites and several others. Though the categorization exists, mind it, no scientific reasons have been stated to distinguish a precious gemstone from a semi-precious variety, as we said, Mother Nature didn’t spoil some for no reason, it’s us, humans.
Divergent Physical & Chemical Characteristics of Natural Gemstones
As I stated earlier, our dear planet Earth is home to heterogeneity at its prime, it ideally reflects in the natural minerals mixing and grinding in the Earth’s furnace. Each natural mineral possesses specific ingredients, differentiating one from another.
While some minerals exist in their purest form, others are blended with trace minerals that impart stunning hues and even inclusions to the original mineral crystals, imparting a unique chemical deposition to each gemstone or a group of related species of gemstones. In addition to this, natural gemstones demonstrate an incredible play of dispersion, refraction and reflection when interacting with different sources of light, adding to the allure of these gemstones.
Hold on, let’s relate this natural phenomenon with instances from our contrasting universe of natural gemstones. Get hold of your emerald ring and peep inside the lush green gardens of your emerald gemstone, what do you observe? A solidified mass of beryl mineral with traces of chromium imparting the vivacious green hues to your emerald crystal.
Similarly, put your sapphire necklace and ruby bracelet under magnification and you will be introduced to an enigmatic reflection of rays in contrasting color schemes, all thanks to assorted trace elements. Well, we know every mineral appears the same to the untrained eyes of a novice but an expert gemologist knows how different beryl is from corundum.
Durability Feature of Natural Gemstones
Looking at such variegated forms of natural gemstones reminds me of the sugary candies I used to relish as a kid (and even now). Mere words can’t describe the mouth-watering flavors of those colorful sweet lollies and jellies in a bag of mixed treats. The soft mushy texture of those scrumptious confectionery still invokes nostalgia on my taste buds. But…gems are not a bit sweet or soft like those sugar-coated candies (don’t you ever try to chew on gemstones, they’re not meant for tasting but only admiring).
The durability index of each natural gemstone is different, with diamonds being the hardest of all (score of 10 on the 10-point Mohs hardness scale) followed by rubies and sapphires which are second hardest (score of 9) and emeralds taking the third spot from the top (score between 7.5 and 8), so on. In general, the closer a gemstone rates to 10 on the Mohs scale, the higher its suitability to be worn in a piece of jewelry.
The stones that rate 7 and above are the perfect candidates for everyday jewelry usage. Several others rating just below 7, such as peridots and garnets, are also preferred in jewelry but are advised to be worn with proper care and maintenance. Yet other softer gemstones, such as opal and pearls are also sought-after in delicate jewelry accessories.
Factors Affecting the Value of Natural Gemstones
A bunch of sweet bright-colored lollies does not charge a bill (so I purchase a box full of them) but that is in stark contrast with the banknotes you must spend on owning a natural gemstone. These flamboyant motifs command a massive price; such is the desirability and magnificence of natural gemstones. So, let’s get down to business…
The price of most natural gemstones is hugely influenced by the 4Cs – color, cut, clarity and carat weight. While color and clarity are the most important factors in grading colored gemstones, colorless varieties, such as white diamonds, give equal weightage to the stone’s cut in determining its market value since perfectly faceted stones have outstanding brilliance. Several other factors, such as the number and visibility of inclusions, color zoning, asteria effect, market demand, availability and accessibility of the gemstone also determine its value.
All candies are finely colored, hence equally priced but not every gemstone possesses envious beauty. Hence, natural gemstones that are of fine quality with precise color distribution, vivid saturation levels and eye-clean clarity are priced highest in their respective gemstone category. The exotic sparkle of a brilliantly faceted stone and high carat weight also add to the value of a natural gemstone.
Natural Gemstones & Treatments
Though natural gemstones command high prices for their unique natural hint, we can’t ignore the fact that not all natural gemstones are pleasing to the eyes. Only a small proportion of any natural gemstone family is of extremely high quality, with extravagant color blends, mind-blowing luster and no visible inclusions. The rest of the stones mined are either of low clarity or have pale hues with color zoning, making them unfavorable for use in jewelry. Such stones are subjected to heat or chemical treatment to enhance their natural colors and clarity.
Treated stones are valued at a lower price than their untreated counterparts. In general, gemstone treatment is discouraged and must be disclosed to the buyer before the purchase is made. However, some forms of artificial treatments are acceptable in the case of a few gemstones such as emeralds, most of which are heavily included, or sapphires which are heated to intensify their color.
Natural Vs. Lab-Made Gemstones
We can’t thank Mother Nature enough for her gracious bounties, they might be flawed but we still value their natural origins. But no matter how much nature has bestowed on humans, our consistent extraction is bound to make the natural reserves extinct someday. All the precious and semi-precious gemstones exist in the natural environment of the Earth. However, the rarity of several natural gemstones in fine gem quality, their high price and increasing demand have given rise to their lab-made variants. Lab-made gemstones possess similar chemical, physical and optical features to their natural counterparts.
So, we can say that lab-made gemstones are as real as natural ones, with the major differences in their place of origin and price. While natural gemstones are 100% natural products, lab-made variants are produced in the lab under artificial conditions and cost less than half of the actual price of their natural equivalents. This is all thanks to the mass production of lab variants to address the huge demand for natural gemstones while cutting down the human and environmental cost involved in mining.
GemsNY – Your Natural Gemstone Mate
If you are a genuine admirer of natural gemstones, then here’s your loyal and certified loose natural gemstone partner, GemsNY, helping you gather all the gemstone magnificence today so you can set it up later. Check out our loose gems section and you will be amazed at the majestic lineup of precious and semi-precious gemstones. Browse through each variety and witness the grand collection of loose gemstones in a wide range of quality features and price specifications.
From a wide variety of fancy sapphires to a sparkling range of natural emeralds and rubies, even picking certified natural diamonds will be a cakewalk, all thanks to the spectacular range of precious gemstones. Get soaked in the enchanting flair of pink and red gemstones with an assembly of loose morganites, pink tourmalines, rubies and hessonite garnets. For the green gemstone enthusiasts, we offer plenty of choices from emeralds, peridots and tsavorites.
Find affordable natural alternatives of blue sapphires and rubies in blue spinels and red spinels respectively. Enjoy the spell-binding play of colors with alexandrites and tanzanites & relish the touch of natural blue oceanic hues of aquamarines and Paraiba tourmalines. Weave your tapestry of sophistication and brilliance with a bunch of vibrant natural gemstone jewelry from GemsNY.