Infinity stones: Gemstones of Marvel’s Fantasy Universe

We humans have been fascinated by the gemstones since time immemorial. From millennia, before branching into different civilizations, we had become fond of the rare stones that look different from the regular ones.

This obsession with gems doesn’t stop here and we have incorporated them into literature and art well. From the fantasy world of Star Wars to the universe of Marvel comics, ‘gemstones’ have important part in the story lines. In this article, we will try to look how Marvel Comic strips incorporate the fascination of gemstones on its vast canvas of stories.

The six infinity stones of Marvel Universe

Many of us have heard a about infinity stones in the marvel cinematic universe. But before that they were called soul gems. All of these fantasy gems, in their color and texture, resemble the real-world gems.

There were total infinity or soul gems in Marvel’s universe and according to the present day timeline all of them are in different places. However, history of this universe tells us that these infinity gems possess infinite and unparalleled powers and that is why they even become the bone of contention among different powerful entities of the universe.

The power of infinity stones can be gauged by two different anecdotes from the comic strip:

  • Thanos, one of the super villains of Marvel Universe tired to use all the six gems in unison to destroy the stars but Avengers stopped him from using the power of infinity gems.
  • Elders of the universe, the oldest and survivor of their respective species used the combined energy of the stones to energize the barren planets.

Let’s look into the qualities and capabilities of each stone that has been important part of Marvel universe since the beginning.

Space gem (Tesseract)

The purple soul stone inspired by the color of real earth gem of amethyst is famous for its teleportation capabilities. Its blue rays are teleporting objects from one place of the other throughout the universe. It is also able to interfere in the movement of moving objects. Another use of space gem apparently is being used as a part of advanced weapon systems.

You can see this stone in the movie Captain America being used by Red Skull and in The Avengers by Loki.

Reality gem (Aether)

This gem yellow in its color is used to alter the reality, logic and bend the law of physics. The stone has a range of different wonders that are differs in their scale. The stone can be used to resurrect the dead. It can be used to distort and change the reality around any individual.

If used with more power, it can used to create the whole new desired reality. Its power gets exponentially high when it is used with other infinity stones and then it can alter the reality on a universal level. It is inspired by citrine and yellow sapphire.

Mind gem

It was lastly seen in the hands of Loki. This blue stone sapphire-like gem has infinite psychic abilities like telepathy, empathy and moving physical objects with the sheer mind power. When used with other infinity stones, it can connect the user’s mind with all the other minds of the universe in the same moment of time.

Power gem

Seen as the reddish ruby-like stone in the comic stripes, this infinity stone can grant all the power to its possessor that has ever exist or will exist in the universe. It increases the strength and stamina of any human to superman levels. The stone also helps other stones to produce their own powers and energy.

Soul gem

As the name suggests, it can be used to observe, attack or control the soul of any living being. It also protects the user with external magic attacks on his soul. Soul stone can also be used to revert back the mutated beings to their natural state. Soul gem resembles the real word emerald.

Time gem

Resembles with garnet or coral, this infinity stone is capable of playing with time as a physical object. It can stop, slow, speed up the time flow. Wielder of this stone can time travel and can see through the past and future. It can also used to alter the aging process.

The popularity of Marvel’s comic has a significant contribution from these fictional infinity stones and all them are inspired by one or the other real gems.

Mining History of Diamonds

Fine Cut DiamondDiamonds have always possessed a treasured place in the human conscious. The history of diamonds stretches back to the pre-BC era. It has been mentioned in ancient Sanskrit and Greek literature and reference can be found in even earlier scripts. To this day, diamonds continue to set the human fancy on fire.  

For the most part of the history, diamonds remained a rare stone. Wealthy people who can afford everything expensive couldn’t get their hands on diamonds because the stone was so short in supply. However, things changed after 1300 AD when it began to be used as an ornamental stone in the medieval Europe.

The real transition, AKA ‘the diamond rush’ occurred in the 19th century, when diamond mines were discovered in different parts of Africa. The gemstone once so rare then became available for elites as they were still considered precious and very expensive.

So here we will try to discuss as how the mining of diamonds in different parts of the world has taken its shape from previous millennium to contemporary times.  

India: The earliest diamond producer

India was considered to be the place where mining and trading of diamonds started in 4th century BC. At that time there was no mass scale mining and usually diamonds were retrieved from rivers, streams and other sedimentary rock formations.  

The demand of those Indian diamonds increased in 13 AD when they were introduced in markets of medieval Europe by trade caravans of the time, who were mesmerizing Western Europe with exotic Indian commodities.

Brazil succeeds India

Due to the increased utilization of diamonds by the elites of Europe during the rise of the colonial era, the Indian supply of diamonds began to deplete during the early 16th century. By the same time, Brazil appeared as the major supplier of diamonds along with its already rich resources of gold.  

18th century: Africa takes the reins

The dynamics of diamond mining and trade witnessed dynamic changes in the 18th century when mines were discovered in Africa, including mines in Kimberley and South Africa, the annual production of diamonds increased exponentially in the following years. In the 1870s, the annual yield of diamonds was well under a million carats, but in 50 years, this production reached the mark of 50 million carats. Almost 90% of those mined rough diamonds were coming out of the mines in Africa.

Through the first half of 20th century, South Africa and Republic of Congo (then Zaire) were responsible for more than 90% supply of diamonds in the world. In the latter half of the century, the Soviet Union also became a big player in the diamond market. The year 1982 became a fortunate year for Botswana, as they became the third largest contributors to the world’s diamond supply, with newly discovered mines. Additionally, mines in Australia and Northern Canada were discovered; thus, making this once fairly unknown mineral a world commodity.  

The Ugly side of diamond mining and trade

The symbol of love, luxury and passion can also transform into the manifestation of blood and gore due to the shortcomings of human greed.

In recent decades, the presence of diamond mines in underdeveloped countries in Africa, such as The Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Angola and Liberia have become the reason of civil wars and unrest. Warlords and guerrilla leaders used rough diamonds to finance their rebel movements and to feed their militias. The diamonds that serve this purpose are usually called ‘blood diamonds’ or ‘conflict diamonds’.  

Angola was a primary source of the illegal diamond trade and was responsible for 20% of the total world production in the 1980s. In order to get a handle on the illegal diamond trade, the UN appointed Canadian ambassador Robert Fowler to investigate it and in 2000, he produced produced the Fowler Report, which mentioned the countries involved.

Present status of diamond mining

Apart from some pockets of trouble in those countries, the supply of the diamond is stable and in safe hands. According to the forecasted figures of 2017, around 142 million carats of diamonds worth of $15.6 billion will be mined worldwide. This production volume would be 11% more than the previous year. It is interesting to note that even with these huge volumes of diamond mining as compared to the 19th or 20th century, only 10 mines in the whole world are producing around 60% of global supply of diamond.

The largest mine of all is located in Botswana with the name of Jwaneng, which independently produces 15% value of world’s diamond.

No matter how technology savvy we become with each passing generation, it may be in human DNA that we still get spell bounded by the beauty and delicacy of this gem. It seems as if we are far from getting over this obsession. Moreover, this slogan might be true after all that ‘A diamond is forever’.

Rose Quartz – The Love Stone

Rose Quartz Crystal
Rose Quartz

Rose quartz was discovered in Mesopotamia back in 7000 BC in the form of beads. Assyrians used to create jewelry out of rose quartz somewhere around 700BC. Romans and Assyrians might be among the first ones to use the rose quartz.

People in ancient times held the belief that quartz naturally posses magical powers. Romans, Greeks and ancient Egyptians used rose quartz as protective talisman. Women used to posses the stone, as they believed it stopped aging. Rose quartz represented fifth wedding anniversary, holding the idea that the love is still young and growing.

Rose quartz is the name given to the delicate looking pink colored mineral quartz. It is known to be found abundantly in the areas where magma has cooled down and pegmatite is formed. The pink shade of rose quartz is credited to microscopic addition of a pink mixture of the mineral dumortierite. These inclusions are normally enough to give a translucent appearance to rose quartz, rather than making it entirely transparent. Very rarely, it happens those rose quartz are transparent in the form of pink euhedral crystals. These are normally formed in the later stages of mineralization in pegmatite.

Physical properties

Rose quartz or pink quartz belongs to the family of quartz. It is more of a mineral than a gemstone. It belongs to the hexagonal crystal system. It is chemically composed of (SiO2) Silicon Dioxide, and possesses titanium and iron impurities in it. With the hardness level of 7, it comes in colors ranging from pale pink to the deepest lavender shade. It is commonly found in Brazil, Madagascar, India, and South Africa. In fact, rose quartz is commonly found almost everywhere.

 

Factors of quality

Color: Rose quartz is known for its light pink color that ranges till medium pink.

Clarity: – The smoky, translucent appearance of rose quartz is because of the mineral impurities in the stone.

Cut: They are not faceted, they have irregular shape and when cut, they give the appearance of asterism pattern.

Carat: Rose quartz is available in large, suitable for making jewelry out of it. The larger sizes of rose quartz give out more intense shade of pink.

 

Healing Properties of Rose Quartz

It is associated with the heart chakra and it is the birthstone of Taurus and Libra. Rose Quartz represents unconditional love, and is known to be an important stone to open one’s heart to compassion and love. It induces love for family, love for one’s self and a sense of peace. Even though rose quartz has the vibration frequency of 7, it still has more of a soothing and relaxing effect.

Rose Quartz opens the heart to generosity toward others and also towards one’s self. It aids in dealing with guilt and harmonizes the emotional imbalances. It has an effect that lowers stress and instills a sense of serenity. It wipes off jealousy, envy and malice from the heart and helps in controlling anger.  

 

 

Gold Currency: How History is Backed by Modern Day Rationale

Gold Bars Stacked Up in a PyramidGeologists suggest that gold has always been a most sought-after element to be mined, as compared to other metals and minerals. This clearly indicates that the preciousness of this mineral was recognized since the beginning of human existence, which eventually resulted in gold becoming a premium currency.

In this article we will follow the historical track of gold being used as a currency. We will also provide you with a modern rationale as to why gold has become the most suitable element to back paper currency.

Historical traces of gold being used as currency

In 300 BC, the ancient Egyptians began using gold as a commonity. Before that, trading goods, such as food and clothing was the preferred method of exchange.

In 50 BC, ancient Romans issued the first gold coin, which used the element as currency, replacing the barter system. After that, gold was used by different kingdoms and civilizations around the world. In 1284 AD, gold currency was issued in different major European countries.

In 1792 AD, the United States adopted the silver-gold standard monetary system. This system established the value of the dollar with respect to the amount of gold and silver available.

Four chemical qualifications for an element to become suitable as currency

There are four chemical characteristics that should be possessed by an element to stand as an option for currency. It will be interesting to see how gold has constantly been favored as currency, because it meets all of those four chemical qualities, while others fail to do so.

Element should have definite shape

Many elements naturally occur in gaseous and liquid state of matter. Their indefinite shape and volume make them unfeasible to be exchanged as currency, which means that plenty of elements become unfit for the purpose due to their criteria alone.

Element should not be reactive and corrosive

Many elemental metals are knocked out due to this criterion. Most of them are reactive as well as prone to corrosion. For instance, lithium ignites when it is exposed to the external environment. Iron and copper are subject to severe corrosion. There are 38 elements that become ineligible to be used as currency due to these characteristics.

Gold, on the other hand, doesn’t corrode and it is way less reactive to other elements or nature.

Element can’t be radioactive

To be used as currency, elements possessing radioactive characteristics can’t be selected. There are two major reasons for this.

  • Radioactive elements radiate away, which means they lose their mass with time. They can’t be retained in their actual form if placed openly.
  • Radiations emitted by these elements are harmful for human life.

There is no way that something that depreciates so fast, or something that can harm people can ever be used as currency, irrespective of their value. Plutonium, for instance, is very expensive but equally dangerous. Two rows of periodic table get out of the currency race because they are radioactive.

Elements should be rare

We are left with nearly 30 elements that pass the above three measures. These 30 elements are stable enough to represent money. However, almost all of them except three fail to meet the fourth qualification of being rare. It is important for an element to be rare so that it can be valued as currency, otherwise everyone would have it and valuing currency would become impossible.

So which three elements are left in the end? Silver, platinum and gold!

  • Silver has been used as currency but it couldn’t sustain its position for long because it tarnishes easily
  • Platinum on the other hand has melting point of 3000 degree Fahrenheit. It can’t be melted in traditional furnaces which were used by ancient civilizations to make coins.

As you can see, we are eventually left with only one element which is the most suitable among all the 115 known elements.

Apart from these chemical properties, there are some other characteristics of gold which made it popular throughout history as currency.

  • It can easily be tested for its purity anywhere in the world without much hassle.
  • The production of gold throughout history has remained stable. This means gold has succeeded in remaining available while maintaining its status of being rare.
  • Unlike other valuable items like oil and diamonds, gold only comes in one grade which makes it convenient to use as currency.
  • Gold doesn’t have industrial and commercial uses like other metals and minerals which makes it suitable to be used as currency.
Graph of gold on the rise
Expect gold to rise during unexpected world events

Gold is a primary commodity in the trade market. The prices fluctuate a few dollars each day, but basically remains stable. In the event of a world incident, such as a war, gold may skyrocket to new heights or the opposite may occur, should the dollar gain substantial new strength, but when instability occurs, you can count on the mineral gold to strengthen in price. Many people buy gold as a buffer, should a world event occur that may threaten the global economy.

Formation of Gemstones

Valuable gemstones are extracted from the earth’s core and include mineral rocks, diamonds and stones in different colors, for example, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. While diamond is still the world’s most precious and well-sought stone among all, we all can see a rise in demand for various other gemstones as well. Not that they were not valued any time before, but in recent times, people have shifted their interests towards gemstones other than diamond, and in fact, most of the engagement and wedding rings now hold a semi precious gemstone in centre.  However, just as their demand and value has been on the rise, so is the need to authenticate their originality.

Almost all gemstones are found in the crust of earth. However, there are two which are found deep below in earth’s mantle: Peridot and diamond. There are kimberlitic pipes below the earth which is the main passage for diamonds to surface up. Through these pipes, molten magma flows and as it reaches the surface, it collects foreign rocks known as xenoliths on its passage. Diamond is one of the rocks, which are assimilated on the way and brought up the surface through volcanic eruptions.

Igneous rocks

Igneous rocks are those that are formed when the molten magma beneath the earth cools down and starts to crystallize. Igneous rocks include two further types further: intrusive, which are formed beneath the surface when the magma cools down, and extrusive, which are formed when lava cools down above the surface of earth.

At the time of cooling, there are many minerals present which starts to combine and form a crystallized structure. This is how gemstones are formed. Environment, cooling time, pressure, temperature – all these factors play an important role in forming each of the gemstone. Larger gemstones will be formed if the cooling process is slower. Diamonds, spinel, Peridot, quartz, moonstone, topaz, tourmaline, zircon, citrine, and amethyst – these all are the most common types of igneous rocks.

Sedimentary cycle

Sedimentary cycle is the second most important process in the rock formation. Rocks formed through this cycle are not actually formed, but rather found. Due to the process of weathering over the time, many rocks are washed down with rain, wind and river and deposited into the sea or riverbanks. There, they keep accumulating along with other organic and inorganic material mixing into it, such as plants, mud, shells. As the time passes, these mixtures are compressed and compacted to form hard rocks. Most of the time, those rocks will be found in sedimentary rocks that have been originally weathered from their parent rocks, which then can be igneous or metamorphic in nature. Common rock minerals found in these sedimentary deposits include Beryl, Opal, Turquoise, Malachite, Azurite, Chrysoprase, Chrysocolla.

Third source of gemstones are the metamorphic rocks. As the name suggests, these rocks are formed when already existing rocks goes through a change process due to pressure changes or changes in temperature. The process is called recrystallization, since during this process, molecular structure of these rocks is broken down and restructured, forming a completely new rock, with same basic composition but different structure. Some of the common metamorphic rocks are garnet, tanzanite, sapphire, ruby, kyanite and emerald.

Pearls of Healing – Do Pearls Have Any Health Benefits?

Pearls are associated with elegance and sophistication. Throughout centuries, they have had an important position with different cultures, and are the only gemstones made by living animals! Cleopatra famously dissolved pearls into her drinks and drank them.

These gorgeous, delicate beads are used for creating stunning necklaces, rings and bracelets. These beautiful gemstones also come in different sizes and colors! For example, if the inside shell of the oyster is purple, the color of the stone will also be purple. Some of the other are white, gold, purple and even black!

Do Pearls Have Health Benefits?

Some people believe that pearls have calming effects and healing properties. But there hasn’t been proof of that. Regardless, pearls are very popular as they are associated with elegance and beauty.

Howard Fensterman, an expert in minerals, says that pearls are simple and have been used throughout the centuries because of their minimalistic and pleasant look. They’re great for gifting to loved ones and even as an anniversary gift if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly present.

Where Do Pearls Come From?

Mr.  Fensterman also says that, “People often don’t know where pearls come from. They know that they come from the sea, but some believe that they come from clams; however, clams are rather small and cannot produce these gems.”

He explained the process of collecting pearls. Some pearl farmers insert mussel seeds into oysters to create the gemstones.

After the pearls are extracted, the oysters are sent back into the water so they can create more pearls.

Howard Fensterman also highlighted that no damage is done to the oysters and caution is taken when extracting the mineral or inserting mussel seeds.

Pearls—The Perfect Gemstone Collection!

While pearls don’t have any healing properties or health benefits, one thing is certain: they make an excellent collection. You can use them in decoration pieces or just simply create a nice, simple dress by adding pearls.

A few decades ago, women often wore pearls in their hats. People even decorate their wedding bouquet with these precious, timeless jewels! There are various ways to get creative with pearls. Today, you can find online projects detailing creative ways to use pearls in decoration, jewelry and even clothing!

If you want to learn more about these gorgeous gemstones and other minerals, follow Howard Fensterman Minerals, a renowned expert in minerals and discover a world of glittering, fabulous marvels!

Gemstones and Their Significance in Ancient History

Amethyst

Known for its purple hues, amethyst is believed to be a stone that can cure drunkenness of whoever owned it. Amethyst has been used by ancient Egyptians and Greeks to engrave their goblets with it, as it was perceived to be a cure for intoxication. The deep purple color, which occurs because of irradiation, represents royalty.

Amethyst is thought to have its roots in Rome, however in reality, it originates from ancient Egypt where it was used in the crowns and bracelets worn by the goddesses. In Buddhist culture, prayer beads are made with amethyst as it holds a sacred status there. Amethysts were once thought to be among the most precious gemstones until large reserves of it were discovered in Brazil.

Malachite

Malachite has been used in making pigments throughout the history. Ancient Egyptians thought of it to protect from evil spirits and black magic. The green color represented growth and fertility. It was commonly found in the headdresses of the pharaohs to bring condition their prophetic visions.

Emerald

Famously known as the gemstone adored by Queen Cleopatra, the earliest occurrence of emerald can be traced back to Egypt where they were found near Red Sea. Not just in Egyptian history, but also in Iranian, catholic and Islamic culture, emerald has a status symbol. In ancient Hindu scriptures, it is referred to as the stone that brings light and luck.  

Red jasper

This stone is known to posses astral properties and it was believed to help the dead have safe passage from here to the afterlife. It was often called the bloodstone due to its red color that represents fertility and the blood of mother earth. It was used to make amulets and breastplates. It was believed to protect against the evil and enforce endurance, which is why it was engraved in the handle of a sword belonging to Viking king

Lapis Lazuli

This stone holds both mystical and cosmic importance. In ancient times, it was used by royals for its majestic looks. Priests used it because of the belief  that it holds water elements to purify one from the negative influences of lower self. It was seen as the symbol of power, mystery and respect. The presence of gold flakes in the gem is perceived to add a touch of wealth, royalty and wisdom.

Turquoise  

The gem was first found in the tomb of Queen Zar, dating back to the second ruler of Egypt. It was engraved in a bracelet. Egypt is often called the “land of turquoise” because the gemstone is found abundantly over there.

Topaz

Because of its fiery red-orange color, it is also known as the stone of fire. Associated with the sun god, Ra was believed to ward off evil spirits and bad dreams.

Traversing Through the History of Gold in Ancient Egypt

Gold Bars Stacked Up in a Pyramid There are more than 100 elements on the periodic table including gold, but human’s obsession with this mineral remains unmatched. There are many earthly elements that appear unusual, but that doesn’t necessarily increase their value like it does for this yellow alloy. Gold has been revered and prized since the inception of human history and is a high level commodity throughout the world.

In this article we will take a look back into when humans became aware of the existence of gold and will discuss its history with an Egyptian tangent.

When did humans come to know about gold?

Even though this question is still the topic of debate, it has been reported by various historians that gold was first discovered in Asia Minor around 6000 BC. Asia Minor is a geographical region present in the southern-west part of Asia. Most part of Asia Minor now forms the present-day Turkey. This area is also documented as the birthplace of gold coins.

Skim through the pages of history and you will find that every civilization that has ever existed on the face of Earth has used gold as a premium mineral. Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and nearly every rich civilization in the world, utilized gold for making coins, jewelry and other valuable items.

Even way before these ancient civilizations, people in the Stone Age used gold for ornamental reasons. They had probably realized that this mineral is not suitable to use in tools like iron and other metals.

This brief analysis indicates the fact that we humans have been revering gold since our formative years of history and adaptation didn’t play any significant role in it.

Let’s get a little more enthralled by finding out the value and uses of gold in the ancient Egyptian civilization.

Ancient Egyptians and their fascination with gold

World truly came to know about Ancient Egypt’s obsession with gold when the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh of 18th Dynasty, Tutankhamun, was excavated in 1922. Howard Carter, a British archaeologist and Egyptologist, who discovered the tomb reported what he saw, “And gold – everywhere the glint of gold”.

In ancient Egypt, gold was not used as money because until 305 BC, as the barter system was the financial exchange model. They used food and other tangible items for trade and payment to people for their services.

With that in mind, historical evidence suggests that gold was exclusively used by the Egyptian Royalty. Since gold didn’t have any economic value then, it was revered and prized due to different reasons.

  • Its appearance – it is compared to the dazzling light of the sun and associated with Ra, the ancient Egyptian sun god.
  • Egyptians believed that skin of gods were made of gold and their bones made of silver.
  • As gold is chemically unreactive, Egyptians linked this inertness with indestructibility and eternal life. It was used for coffins and funerary equipment of Pharaohs to preserve their mortal remains for eternity.

Used as diplomatic tools and for military rewards

Pharaohs also used gold as a diplomatic tool because they sent large quantities of gold as gifts to their allies and other monarchs to keep them happy and willing to fight for their kingdom.

Gold was also used to reward war veterans and military fighters. Many historians are of the thought that the tradition of awarding military medals started from Egypt, because pharaohs would reward their military men with collars and arm rings made of gold.

Profession of goldsmith: Brings fortune and prestige

Goldsmiths who were proficient in carving delicate jewelry, statues and funerary equipment were wealthy and respected by the society. Egyptian goldsmiths invented several techniques and practices that are used by jewelers and goldsmiths even today.

  • They started to use lost-wax casting technique to provide more detail to the statutes.
  • Beating and molding gold into different jewelry designs like flowers and leaves was introduced by Egyptians.
  • Egyptians goldsmiths were also credited for creating innovate gold alloys. One such example is the making of Electrum. Electrum is naturally occurring alloy made of gold, silver and traces of copper and other metals. It was used to plate the exterior of ancient Egyptian monuments.

Ancient civilizations and modern human civilizations are poles apart in many of their features. Traditions of bygone times have become taboo and vice versa. However, it is quite surreal and fascinating to know that the practice of valuing gold remains unscathed throughout the passage of time. Even the theory of postmodernism can’t inflict its hypothesis on the fate of gold.

 

Aquamarine – The Jewel of the Sea

AquamarineAquamarine is given its name because of the blueness of this gem that depicts the blueness of the ocean. In Latin, it means the water of the sea, and the name was actually given by the Romans in 2000 BC. Since the ancient times, aquamarine has been regarded as a precious gemstone.

In Greek mythology, sailors believed that the stone would protect them from the destruction of Poseidon, the God of sea in Greek mythology, and Neptune according to Roman mythology. It was possessed by the sailors with the hope of a safe journey through the seas. Since it represents water, it is the birthstone representing the month of March, also known as the month of Pisces. Because of its blue color, it is believed that it possess the tendency to calm a person with its tranquil effects and bring forth wisdom.

Composition

Aquamarine belongs to the Beryl family, which includes heliodor, emerald, morganite and goshenite. Beryl is aluminum beryllium silicate, which has the hardness level of 7.5. The blue color of aquamarine is due to the presence of traces of iron in it, each with different amount that then cause different shades of blue, sometimes with a hint of green. Unlike emerald, it has little to no inclusions. It has a hexagonal crystalline structure.

Properties and formation

Aquamarine is an almost transparent gem because of no inclusions in it. Since it is very clear, the color plays an important role in determining its worth. Lapidaries try to accentuate the colors of aquamarine by focusing on its cuts. They go for deeper cuts to bring the colors out. You will never find an aquamarine too dark. The color ranges between light blue to intense blue, with inclusions of some greenish shades. However, light shades of aquamarine are most common, making the intense shades of blue more precious and demanded. Aquamarine is usually associated with the family of quartz, biotite, topaz and garnet because of its density and hardness and because it occurs in the form of pegmatite.

Where it is found

In modern times, Brazil is the top supplier of aquamarines as they are abundantly found there. More recently, South Africa has also become a leading supplier of aquamarine. Pakistan, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Madagascar have large reserves of aquamarine.

Mystical attributes of aquamarine

Aquamarine is believed to help in stimulating better mental health due to its calming effects. It is used to bring tranquility, a sense of peace and unity. People use it to aid themselves in spiritual meditations. It was thought to be an antidote or poison. Sailors wore this for protection, and in the battleground, it was worn by soldiers to instill a sense of glory and victory in them. It represents the throat chakra, which is why people believe it to help in unblocking the communication blocks and stimulating spiritual connection. The blueness of aquamarine depicts the openness of the sea. It represents the absolute truth and helps a person in letting go of things and patterns, which does not benefit them any longer.

 

Classification of Gemstones

Gemstones are precious mineral and rock formations that are extracted from within the earth and vary in terms of their size, color and structure. It is due to this diversity in their types that gemstones cannot be classified through a single classification system. There are many ways geologist classify rocks and minerals found. First way to classify gemstones is by categorizing them into natural, synthetic and imitated gems. Aside from that, they are also classified as organic or inorganic and crystalline or amorphous rocks.

Classification as Natural and Synthetic

The only difference between natural and synthetic gem is the way they are made. Natural stones occur naturally, in our geological system without any human interference in their formation. Natural gemstones are regarded as rare because no gemstone is same as the other. Each is formed under slightly different environmental conditions. It is this rarity that makes them precious and unique. To identify a real natural gemstone, one must look for inclusions in the stones as these gems are bound to have inclusions due to the addition of other minerals during the process of their formation.  

On the other hands, synthetic gemstones are those, which are formed in labs by inducing the same environmental stimuli. Carbon and other chemical elements are used and treated under specific time, pressure and temperature setting to produce a gem. The gems produced in labs are chemically identical to those formed in earth.

Classification as Organic and Inorganic Rocks

Aside from classifying gemstones based on their occurrence, they can also be categorized into organic and inorganic gemstones.

Organic gemstones are those that are formed because of a living organism. It can include sea species, plants, shells, fossils, etc. The word ‘organic’ refers to something that involves organisms. Ivory, pearls, amber, coral, jet, ammonites, ammolites – they all are good examples of organic gemstones.

All other gemstones that are not formed through the organic way are categorized as inorganic. Whether they are found in earth, on its surface or beneath it, are known as inorganic minerals and comprise of almost all the gemstones we know of.  Inorganic gemstones, which are created in labs, are not considered as gemstones, and that is why they cannot be advertised as such.

Classification as Crystalline and Amorphous Rocks

Gems can be classified in the manner of differentiation between amorphous rocks and crystallized rocks. Amorphous rocks are those, which do not have a particular crystalline structure. They are naturally occurring and often called mineraloids.  Opal, amber and glass are all good examples of mineraloids. However, not all amorphous minerals are classified as gems.

On the other hand, crystallized minerals or crystals are those, which have a tight molecular structure with repetitive chains and formations. They are formed by three-dimensional arrangements of molecules. Diamonds and rubies are an example of crystals. Zircon is the world’s oldest found crystal. However, not all crystals can be classified as gems because crystals are pure substances that have a solid and definite structure, since their molecules are arranged in a specific three-dimensionally array.  

Howard Fensterman Minerals