Green River Formation Fossils and How They Materialized

Small fossil found in the Green River Formation
Photo: Pixaby

Green River Formation – Overview 

The Green River Formation is a geological pattern that records the Eocene‘s details (a period on the Earth that lasted from 56 to 33.9 million years ago). This fossil formation records evidence of life in a collection of lakes between mountains in three basins, known today as the Green River that flows in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. 

Throughout its far-fetching lifetime, this water system is home to the largest accumulations of lake sediments and fossils worldwide. It extends for more than 25,000 square miles and reaches a depth of 2,000 feet or more; the Formation includes 14 different members (represented by different places in location and time). 

The sediments on the river bed are deposited in ultra-fine layers. Each layer has a dark covering along with a light-hued inorganic layer of sediment. Each pair of layers is known as a varve, which reflects different years. 

Green River Formation – Members 

Haddenham Cabin, Fossil Butte National Monument
Fossil Butte  Haddenham Cabin Photo: Wikipedia CC

Being the smallest and shortest-lived on the Green River Lakes, the Fossil Lake was preserved for two million years and is marked by three sedimentary Members. 

  • The Angelo Member – The Angelo member is the youngest member of the Green River Formation. It was too salty to allow aquatic life, so it contains the least remains. 
  • The Fossil Butte Member – The Fossil Butte member is sandwiched between the two members; Angelo and Road Hollow. It contains a record of a more significant number of aquatic species, including plants and animals. While it only represents a few tens of thousands of years, this member’s sediments contain the richest record of fossils from various aquatic organisms. The evidence from this member is greater than all the other Green River Members combined.
  • The Road Hollow Member – The oldest and thickest member representing Fossil Lake’s formation as it grew and deepened. 

Green River Formation – Layers 

While there are several layers within each member, there are two layers that are most productive; “18-inch bed” and the “sandwich bed.” The sediment deposits in this layer have records of life in shades of dull and dark, with bones of fish turning black and the scales remaining grey. 

On the other hand, the “sandwich bed” is around 6.6 feet thick and holds a record of near-shores species typically fossilized in the shades of orange and brown. 

When you look at the fossils from the two layers combined, you find evidence of various wildlife that has been uniquely persevered by nature. 

Green River Formation – How was it Formed?

Diplomystus_and_Knightia_Green_River Formation
Fossil Fish from the GRF of Colorado. Diplomystus and Knightia fossil fish. Photo: Wikipedia CC

A Biosphere of Nature

Interestingly enough, the following is a perfect example of the formation of how ecospheres materialize through the wonders of nature.

The evidence of life from the Eocene has its own story to tell from an era that began around 50 million years ago. Green River Formation fossils reflect a time when the landscape formation was complete and mountains and plains were separate. And since the streams of water were draining into the lakes, they carried large amounts of sand, mud, minerals and silt. Over time, as the sediments continued to fill in the lakes, it altered the lake waters’ chemical composition. As a result, it became the breeding ground for a variety of plant species. 

Enter Coal and Oil

Green_River_Formation_Oil_Gas_Fields_map
Green_River_Formation_Oil_Gas_Fields_map  (Wikipedia Public Domain) 

The climate of the Green River at that time was warm and moist, which further facilitated plant growth; creating a dense community of vegetation; subsequently providing a continuous supply of leaves, seeds and branches.

Plant debris in the lake was protected by the swamp’s water cover that continued to grow thicker over time. With immense pressure for millions of years, the plant debris has now transformed into coal. Moreover, as the blue-green algae continued to thrive in the lake, it spread over different parts and formed thick scum which eventually sank to the lake’s bottom. Over time, the algae-rich sediments transformed into the largest oil shale resource on the planet. 

Types of Fossils Found in the Green River Formation 

Green River Formation is home to fossils in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can find evidence of life in the form of intact fossilization (where the entire body of the species is intact), and you can also find fossils as fragments of a different part of the body. 

A possible explanation of this variation includes lake currents and the body’s state before fossilization and changing conditions within the lake system. 

A specific species that we can look into is fish. You can find evidence of fossils within the Green River lakes ranging from complete disintegration to fully intact skeletons. In some species, there is evidence of fossilization with food still inside the body of the species. The variety of fossils indicate the environment inside the lakes continued to change throughout the Eocene. 

What Makes Green River Formation Unique?

The Green River Formation fossils are one of the best-known sites for getting an insight into the Eocene. It gives exact information into what life was like millions of years ago. It contains evidence of hundreds of individual fish of different shapes and sizes. 

Additionally, fossil plants are abundant, including ferns, palm leaves and sycamore leaves, indicating the possible plant species along the lakesides. Fossils of various other species, including mammals, snakes, turtles, birds, bats, birds and crocodiles have also been found in the Green River Formation, depicting the possible variety of more advanced species in the region millions of years ago.

Given its wide variety of fossils, Green River Formation is one of the best-known sites for paleontologists worldwide. 

9 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Yellow Sapphires

Yellow SaphireThis Gemstone Comes in Various Shades of Yellow

Like all other colors, yellow comes in a variety of shades. From brighter shades, such as pastel light and lemon yellow, to deeper shades, such as an orange or golden yellow. This wonderful stone has some magnificent shades. Since color is a personal preference, you can opt for a shade that you like best. However, the most popular shade of the yellow sapphire is a medium vibrant canary. 

The different hues of yellow-colored sapphires are a result of the trace element iron. The higher the concentration of iron in a gemstone, the higher the color saturation and the richer the hue will be. Also, the brighter and purer the yellow of a sapphire, the more valuable it will be. 

  • They Usually Have Excellent Clarity

The best sapphire grades have perfect clarity. This means that they are visibly clear to the naked eye. This grade is followed by sapphires that have slight inclusions and the final grade has slight inclusions. Yellow sapphires are special because they have a reputation for having fewer inclusions than  other colors. This is quite convenient for those who want to buy yellow sapphires, as even though these precious stones usually have excellent clarity, they are still available at reasonable prices. 

  • Their Cut is Very Important

The cut of a gemstone doesn’t refer to its shape, but it refers to the facets on a gemstone’s surface that let light in, allowing its color to shine through. The cut of a gemstone is the main factor that affects its sparkle, especially when it comes to yellow sapphires. A poorly cut sapphire will look dull and lifeless. 

Since yellow sapphires are less costly than blue or pink sapphires, gemstone cutters don’t compromise on their brilliance in favor of weight retention. This is why it is quite easy to find well-cut yellow sapphires compared to other sapphire colors. Also, it is especially important to have a good cut if a gemstone has a lighter color, darker-colored gemstones generally look lively even if they don’t have a perfect cut. 

  • Some Yellow Sapphires Undergo Heat Treatments

Yellow sapphires usually undergo traditional heating treatments that enhance their color and overall transparency. Most of these changes are usually permanent. So, when buying a yellow sapphire, it is important to search for one that is untreated. The true beauty of the yellow sapphire stone lies in its natural and raw look. Also, natural sapphires are typically rarer and hold greater value. 

  • It is a Rare Gemstone

Fine natural yellow sapphires are unique and rare. A few decades ago, jewelers wouldn’t recognize any other color of sapphires except for blue, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that there were some experiments conducted on pale yellow sapphires in Thailand. Eventually, it was due to these experiments that we got the many shades of yellow sapphires, placing them in the limelight. 

  • They are One of the Hardest Stones

All sapphires, including yellow sapphires, are made up of a mineral called corundum. Moreover, this precious gemstone gets its color due to the trace elements of iron. Just like all other sapphires, the yellow sapphire is an incredibly tough and hard stone with a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale. A yellow sapphire is also scratch-resistant, which makes it a great gemstone choice for everyday jewelry, such as engagement rings. 

  • They are Affordable

Let’s face it: yellow diamonds are an expensive gemstone choice for jewelry. Yellow sapphires, being an alternative to yellow diamonds, make for a great choice. This is because they have a beautiful color, excellent clarity and are quite affordable. You can easily find a beautiful yellow sapphire with fantastic quality within your budget. You can make it easier by filtering your choice according to the carat grade. The price of a yellow sapphire depends on its carats, color, cut, and clarity grade. So, there’s usually a yellow sapphire out there that suits everyone’s budget! 

  • Yellow Sapphires Go Well With Any Metal

You can choose any metal to highlight a yellow sapphire. This is one of those gemstones that go well with everything. While a pastel and lighter-colored yellow sapphire may complement silver-colored metals, such as silver, white gold, and platinum, sapphires with a rich yellow color look great with darker metals including yellow gold and rose. 

  • Yellow Sapphires are a Symbol of Wisdom and Prosperity

Sapphire is a September birthstone that is a representation gem of the zodiac Virgo. Yellow sapphires are especially popular in India due to their association with Vedic Astrology. Many people believe that natural sapphires, specifically the yellow ones, bring good luck, good energy, wisdom, and prosperity. Since the overall color and feel of this stone is bright, it is sure to cheer you up! 

Top 7 Colored Gemstones for an Engagement Ring

Colored Gem Rings
Photo: Charisse Kenion – Unsplash

Tired of traditional engagement rings? While crystal clear gemstones such as diamonds and white sapphires are popular engagement ring options, why not change things a little by opting for colored stones? A beautiful colored gemstone can amplify the appearance of your engagement ring and make it stand out in a crowd. 

However, it’s important not to choose a gemstone based solely on its appearance. There are other factors that you must consider, such as its clarity, durability, and hardness. After all, this ring will be on your finger for a long time. 

Here is a list of colored gemstones that make gorgeous engagement rings. Not only are these stones aesthetically magnificent but they can last an eternity. 

Colored Diamonds

Add a twist to traditional diamond rings by choosing a colored diamond. Diamonds are one of the most popular choices for engagement rings and for good reason. With a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, this pricey gemstone is one of the most durable and scratch-resistant gemstones. When it comes to quality, there’s hardly any mineral that comes even close to diamonds. 

With an extraordinary dispersion and brilliance, this stone can turn white light into gorgeous flashes of color. Some of the most popular choices include sparkling pink, coal-black, champagne, and of course, canary yellow. However, pink diamonds rank amongst the most expensive, making them a great choice for engagement rings.

Sapphires

Sapphire Ring
Photo: Pexels

Sapphires are known as the gemstone of royalty. Not only were sapphires a popular choice for rings and other jewelry, but they still remain a noteworthy selection among celebrities and royalty. In fact, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton adorned a beautiful sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to Princess Diana. 

Even though sapphires are mostly associated with the color blue, they come in almost every hue except red. One of the most special features of colored sapphires is that they show two different colors, depending on the angle they are viewed from. Moreover, certain rare sapphires also change color, depending on the light source. Sapphires rank quite high amongst the hardest gemstones with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, making them an excellent and classy choice for engagement rings. 

Emeralds

Known as the ‘jewel of kings,’ emeralds are found in gorgeous greens, ranging from light to deep and dark shades. With a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, this precious gemstone is quite scratch-resistant but still requires special care. Apart from its stunning colors, it’s the fractures and inclusions of this stone that make every emerald unique and noteworthy. Even though these inclusions may impact its clarity and durability, this stone doesn’t shy away from the limelight. 

Choosing the perfect emerald stone for an engagement ring requires some extra effort. However, their stunning color and rarity make them a particularly prized and special gemstone for a ring. 

Rubies 

When set in an engagement ring, a ruby gemstone will surely make a statement! A ruby is the coveted red variety of corundum, with the other colors of corundum being considered as sapphires. While rubies have the same durability and hardness as that of sapphire, they tend to receive more enhancements and treatments than the typical sapphire gemstone. 

One of the most popular ruby choices is the ‘pigeon blood red’ ruby that has a faint purplish red with vivid saturation and a medium-dark tone. Rubies are a great choice for engagement rings due to their rarity, durability, and their association with love.  A ruby as a centerpiece surrounded by diamonds will make a fitting choice for a one-of-a-kind engagement ring. 

Amethysts

Amethysts are a popular and less pricey alternative to diamonds, making them a great choice for engagement rings. Amethyst gemstones are a beautiful variety of quartz found in shades of purple, ranging from lavender to a deep and dark purple. Although amethysts have a hardness of 7, which isn’t as hard in comparison to other stones, these gems have no cleavage panes, making them hard to break or scratch. 

Whether you choose light lavender or dark purple, all the shades of the amethyst stone are a fitting choice for any jewelry pierces, especially engagement rings. Even though many believe that the symbolic association of this gem to calming passions seems like an odd choice for engagement rings, the fact is that this stone perfectly represents a more deep and enduring commitment. 

Tourmalines

Tourmaline minerals in a box
Tourmaline minerals in a jewelry box

The tourmaline gemstone has an entire family of gems with various species in different colors. A popular tourmaline choice is the watermelon tourmaline that displays two or three zones of different colors. Just like quartz, this gemstone has a hardness of 7 and is free from any cleavages, making it a durable choice for engagement rings. 

Green tourmalines are the most easily available and affordable of the tourmaline varieties, while Paraiba tourmalines are the rarest and expensive kind of tourmalines. Other tourmaline varieties include rubellite and indicolite tourmalines. 

One of the most special aspects of tourmalines is their vitreous luster that makes their surface appear as a glass when it’s hit by light. Also, while certain tourmaline varieties change color under distinct light sources, others display a cat’s eye optical effect. Either way, the tourmaline stone with its gorgeous luster will give you an engagement ring you will cherish for the years to come. 

Citrines

Citrine is another gem that has become a popular option for engagement rings. With colors ranging from light yellow to golden, this stone truly looks regal. One of the most expensive varieties of citrines includes the Madeira citrines, which have a rich, orange collar, with hints of red. Like the quartz varieties, citrines also have a hardness of 7 and are durable stones for rings. 

Whether it’s a colored diamond, sapphire, quartz, or citrine, colored stones not only look great but are an attractive alternative for an engagement ring.

15 of the Most Underrated Gemstones

Gemstone on a necklass
Photo: Pexels

When it comes to gemstones, there’s a whole sea of them out there. Available in a vast range of colors, there’s one for everyone. While you may have heard of the more popular ones such as sapphire, ruby and emerald, there’s a lot more that are just as beautiful yet not as well-known. Some of these are so beautiful and have a high number on the Mohs scale too, but are unfortunately underrated. 

However, some of them such as Tanzanite, are now gaining popularity and are up and coming. Here are 15 of the most underrated gemstones that will blow your mind!

1. Sunstone

This stone comes in the most beautiful warm shades of oranges and browns. It is a reflective stone and when light is shone on it it is super sparkly and looks like glitter. It is also considered to be the stone of good luck and is known to bring joy and happiness. They are definitely one of the most mesmerizing stones to look at and deserve way more attention than they normally get.

2. Zircon

Zircons are gorgeous beauties that look great on their own as well as when paired with other stones. They come in a wide array of colors ranging from yellows and greens to reds and browns. They also come in a clear color, which is one of its popular ones. 

3. Peridot

This beautiful green stone is often one that goes unnoticed. It comes in an olive green hue and has a charm of its own. Ancient Egyptians considered it to be a stone that brought peace and harmony to those who wore it. Perfect when paired with other stones such as amethyst and quartz, peridot is definitely one of its kind.

4. Tanzanite

An old stone discovered in the ‘60s Tanzanite has only recently gained popularity. Many top-notch jewelry brands particularly Tiffany & Co have recognized it and it is now much in demand. This is because of its breathtaking shades of blue-ish purples. Just as the name suggests it is mined in Tanzania. It is popularly used as an engagement ring stone and is underrated although it is now up and coming.

5. Spinel

Often mistaken for rubies, spinel is available in the most stunning colors. Be it shades of pinks, purples, reds, blues, greens, browns, colorless and black, you name it! Its color is influenced by where it is mined and the minerals it has come into contact with during its creation. 

6. Alexandrite

What makes this stone special is its color-changing ability. ‘Emerald by day, ruby by night’ is what it’s considered to be because of the way that it changes colors in the right. It is a unique and highly valuable gem that deserves a lot more attention.

7. Amber

It looks as delicious as it sounds! This age-old gemstone is known to bring with it wisdom and good luck. Its deep shades of reds and browns make it a stunning stone and it will definitely make some heads turn if worn as a jewelry piece.

8. Sodalite

This royal blue stone is just calming to look at. Because of its color, it is often mistaken for the Lapis lazuli. It is associated with bringing about emotional balance and boosting self-confidence. It would look great if worn as a necklace or even any other kind of piece of jewelry.

9. Paua Shell

A rare beauty, this stone is only found in New Zealand. It is also commonly referred to as the ‘sea opal’. This shell grows in the ocean and comes in the most beautiful shades of colors and patterns from greens and blues to purples and pinks. It is unique and would look super trendy if worn as jewelry. 

10. Lolite

Violet in color, this stone is also referred to as the ‘water sapphire’. The stone appears to be different colors depending on the light and angle. It has a special sparkly effect when looked at in the sunlight. To add to that it is a much cheaper alternative as compared to sapphires and is known for its remarkable ability to balance one out.

11. Chrysoprase

Chrysoprase is a gorgeous stone that has a smooth texture yet is 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it durable and great for everyday wear.This stone goes way back, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans loved using this stone in their jewelry. It’s stunning color is unique and would look great if worn as a ring.

12. Jadeite

The more valuable variety of the jade stone, Jadeite is intensely green in color. It is an old and extremely valuable gemstone in many legends. The vibrant green gives it a special edge and makes it look funky and trendy.

13. Larimar

Famously referred to as the ‘stone of the sea’, this stone is extremely rare and is only found in the Dominican Republic. Light blue in color just like the sea, the stone was only available to locals for the longest time until it was finally mined. It is an intriguing shade of blue that would make for a great jewelry piece.

14. Garnet

Also the birthstone for January, Garnet is a stunning red stone that comes in other colors too such as greens, oranges, pinks and purples. Over 5000 years old, this stone has been used in jewelry for a long time. Even though its color is exquisite, it is still not as famous as Ruby’s and other stones and therefore is underrated.

15. Aventurine

This green stone is a variety of quartz. It contains gorgeous dots of shiny particles and has a glittery feel to it because of its metallic nature. It is known to attract good luck, wealth and opportunity and would look stunning if used in jewelry designs. 

Each of these 15 gemstones is extremely unique and has its own beauty. They are definitely underrated and deserve a lot more attention. We would strongly suggest trying them out the next time you go stone shopping, instead of buying your usual ones!

 

A Complete Guide to Buying Tourmaline

Tourmaline minerals in a boxTourmaline is a stunning semi-precious gemstone that is known for its versatility. Due to the wide variety of tourmaline jewelry styles and colors, it can be quite challenging to make the best buy. 

In this buying guide, we cover different types of tourmaline stones, as well as additional factors that you need to be aware of when buying these beautiful gemstones.

What Is Tourmaline?

Tourmaline is basically a crystal silicate that was first discovered in the East Indies in the 1800s. However, this semi-precious gemstone can now be obtained in Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and North America. 

Even though tourmaline has been quite the well-loved gemstone throughout the age,s due to its high versatility and extensive range of colors, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that it became highly popular and subsequently, had its value skyrocket. 

There’s a myriad of minerals that fall under the tourmaline name. They differ in many aspects, including color, clarity and value. Since it is difficult to go through every type of tourmaline, we have listed a few of the most popular ones here: 

Blue Tourmaline

Tourmaline is generally considered to be a semi-precious stone and out of all its varieties, only indicolite, the blue variety, is considered to be precious. Blue tourmaline has a deep rich color that can have green tones which can be removed with special treatment. However, the clearer the blue, the more expensive the stone will be. Also, indicolite generally has more inclusions that can be minimized through good cutting. 

Chrome Tourmaline

With intense green color, chrome-colored tourmalines are the scarcest type of green tourmalines out there. This semi-precious stone gets its color from chromium and is often found in smaller carat sizes. Chrome tourmalines also tend to have more inclusions, so when buying them, you need to ensure that they are eye-clean. Also, due to the special tint of the stone, you require expert cutting to make sure they don’t appear too dark. 

Green Tourmaline

Also known as verdalite, this is the cleanest type of tourmaline. In fact, green tourmaline is often eye-clean and free of any visible inclusion. Even though its dominant color is typically green, you may see a few tints of yellow or blue. 

If you’re searching for green tourmaline, mint green color is considered the best option. Checkerboard cuts are a great choice for this variety of tourmaline, so before buying the stone, you should check the proportions, symmetry and reflection to see if the stone has been properly cut. Moreover, green tourmalines are free from heating and radiation treatments and are also available in almost any size. 

Paraiba Tourmaline

With copper in its composition, Paraiba tourmaline is an extremely valuable tourmaline variety. This stone is highly valued for its rich neon blue/green color, with a high-quality carat costing $2000 and upwards. In fact, some of the richer-colored stones of this variety are valued at around $8000 per carat as well. However, the mid-range Paraiba tourmaline jewelry is also available that is generally quite affordable. 

Red and Pink Tourmaline

When most people talk of tourmaline, their mind instantly goes to its red and pink varieties since they are the most commonly found tourmaline types. Red and pink tourmaline is readily available in various tones and can easily be cut into various shapes. Since they are easily available, these tourmaline varieties are also more budget-friendly. 

Watermelon Tourmaline

The watermelon tourmaline is quite the unusual gemstone that derives its name from its color – green and red that is separated by a strip of white color. Cutting this stone is a very skillful job as its orientation is very important. Typically, the best appearance of this stone includes fifty percent of each color, however, this largely depends on personal preference. 

Canary Tourmaline

Named due to its vivid yellow color like the canary bird, the canary tourmaline is a gorgeous stone that is typically found in smaller sizes – around one or two carats. Since this stone is extremely rare, it is one of the most valuable tourmaline varieties. 

Factors That Influence the Value of Tourmaline

Apart from its rarity, there are certainly other factors that influence the value of the tourmaline stone. 

Clarity 

The clarity of a gemstone influences its quality and overall appearance. It also determines whether the gemstone is eye-clean or has flaws. Since tourmalines are typically found in liquid-rich areas, it isn’t surprising that the liquid often gets caught in the crystal during its growing process, leading to inclusions. 

While the color of the stone often compensates for its clarity, light-colored stones don’t have the same advantage as their low-color intensity makes inclusions more visible, decreasing the value of the stone. Pink and red tourmalines are generally acceptable. However, when it comes to other colors, low clarity often decreases their value. 

In some cases, inclusions may even increase the value of the gemstone, specifically in the cat’s eye effect of certain tourmalines. Multiple parallel-running threadlike inclusions in a tourmaline coupled with an expert cut will result in a cat’s-eye tourmaline that is extremely rare and highly valued. 

Cut

Most tourmalines available on the market are generally narrow and rectangular in shape. This is mainly because tourmalines are naturally found in these shapes, so cutting them accordingly reduces waste. Another major factor that gemstone cutters consider is how a stone absorbs light. Tourmalines tend to absorb light lengthwise and not across. So, the depth, saturation and tone of the color of the tourmaline can be manipulated based on the direction of the cut. 

Carat Sizes and Color

After passing the first five carats, the price of tourmaline per carat increases dramatically. This applies to most tourmalines, except for the Paraiba tourmaline, that is rarely found over 1 carat. 

Tourmalines come in almost every color imaginable. This is mainly why they are known as the rainbow gemstone. While the bright and colorful varieties are the most expensive ones, dark tourmaline stones are quite cheaper. When buying tourmaline stones, make sure to evaluate them based on the above-listed factors. 

Understanding Rock Glaciers

Rock Glacier – Overview 

Rock Glacier Mountain
pixabay.com/images/id-2707148/

A rock glacier is a body of rock, mud, ice, snow and water on top of the mountains that gradually move towards the valley due to gravity. Typically, rock glaciers are covered with debris on the topmost layer, cemented with snow and ice underneath the surface. 

If you look at the surface of a rock glacier, you will find very little or no ice. At a glance, it may not even look like a glacier. Moreover, the passive movement also plays an integral role in hiding away its identity. 

The underlying movement of ice causes the movement along the mountain. Once the ice below the rock glacier’s surface begins to move, the rocks on the surface adjust to the movement. As a result of this movement, ridges or flow features may appear on the rock glacier’s surface. 

Rock glaciers are typically small in size. One of the largest rock glaciers may be only a few feet thick and a few miles long. The rocks on the surface of a glacier are of varying size depending upon the source of supply. 

Rock glaciers are one of the most spectacular natural phenomena on Earth. Let’s delve deeper and find out more about how these glaciers are formed and what are some of the different types of rock glaciers. 

Changes in Rock Glaciers 

Over time, rock glaciers may grow or shrink. Both the ice mass and rock mass can change depending upon several factors. 

The mass under the surface may grow or shrink due to weather conditions. Usually, it changes due to heavy rainfall, avalanches, spring discharges and local runoffs. Moreover, the heat and sunlight can cause the underlying snow and ice to melt, which eventually reduces ice mass and causes a downward movement of the rock glacier. These different components from the glacier may also be lost due to evaporation. 

On the other hand, the rock mass may grow due to talus (large rock fragments) from the mountain or the valley walls. Moreover, it may also grow as a result of landslides. Rock mass decreases as the glacier is carried down the slope due to ice mass movements. 

Formation of Rock Glaciers 

These glacial mass formations can develop for a variety of reasons. Some of them result from the melting of ice covered with debris due to a landslide. Such glaciers are a common feature of steep-sided valleys where mountainous rocks respond to Earth’s gravitational pull. 

They may also form when the rocks with frozen water inside the pores accumulate at the slope’s lower point. Later it is covered with debris due to landslides, which eventually results in this type of glacier. 

Types of Rock Glaciers 

Depending upon the activity, ice-mass and shape, these entities can be classified into several categories. Let’s look at each of the different types:  

Classification According to Activity – Active Rock Glaciers, Inactive Rock Glaciers and Fossil Rock Glacier 

Based on the current activity level, rock glaciers can be classified into active, inactive and fossil rock glaciers. 

Active Rock Glaciers 

Active glaciers contain a significant amount of ice and due to their large ice-mass, active rock glaciers would  be moving down the slope at speeds ranging between a few inches/year to several feet/year. They typically have well-defined and prominent ridges and a steep frontal slope due to deforming ice. 

Inactive Rock Glaciers 

As the name suggests, inactive rock glaciers are passive, which means there is very limited to no downward movement. Such glaciers may still have some ice, but the underlying ice mass is not deforming. As a result, there is very limited to no activity. Apart from the movement, an additional significant difference between active and inactive glaciers in the frontal slope. Since there is no movement, the frontal slope is gentler than an active rock glacier’s slope. 

Fossil Fuel Glaciers 

The third type is based on fossil rock glaciers. There is no underlying ice mass as all of the ice has already molten. Therefore, the top surface is often covered with vegetation, and the frontal slope is significantly less steep than the other two types. 

Classification According to Formation – Glacial Rock Glaciers and Periglacial Rock Glaciers

How rock glaciers are formed is another way to classify them. Typically the two classifications are:

Glacial 

This type were active glaciers at some point. They were either detached from their main body or melted due to weathering and other forces. Over time, the deforming ice was covered with talus from the mountains. However, a distinguishing feature is the average temperature that remained around 32F  (0℃) with limited precipitation. So the glacier, which was initially reliant on rain and snow now feeds on talus. And the underlying ice plays a role in the downward movement. 

Periglacial Rock 

Periglacial rock glaciers are formed as a result of the freezing and thawing of the underlying material. The talus that feeds the glacier underwent periglacial processes. The intense freezing and melting of snow at the core of the rock glacier accompanied by talus accumulation of the top results in the forming a periglacial rock glacier. 

Classification According to the Shape – Tongue-Shaped Rock Glaciers and Lobate Rock Glaciers

There are two prominent shapes of rock glaciers; tongue-shaped and lobate. 

Tongue-Shaped 

Tongue-shaped rock glaciers have a length to width ratio of more than 1, which means they have a greater length than width. Such glaciers are usually confined to narrow valleys. The rock mass supply (talus) comes from the steep and rocky highlands nearby. A prominent feature is that the rock mass is only added to the head of a tongue-shaped rock glacier resulting in vertical growth of rock mass.

Lobate 

Lobate glaciers have a length to width ratio of less than 1. Such ice masses have a greater width than length. The rock is often derived from the valley walls that enclose the glacier. Since it has a wider size, the rocks can join in the glacier from multiple sides, adding more to the glacier’s width. 

Rock glaciers that do not fall into the above two categories are called complex rock glaciers

Bottom Line 

Rock glaciers are an interesting geological feature that often appears as land masses and move downwards in response to gravity. While the gravitational pull is a significant factor, how the landmass moves depends upon several factors, with the deforming ice beneath the surface being the most prominent one. Weather conditions, how the rock glaciers were formed and the source of rocks (talus) are also major determinants of the glacier’s movements. 

 

 

 

Why Choose a Ruby Engagement Ring?

Ruby Ring in a BoxGetting engaged to the love of one’s life is a magical moment. While the promise and excitement of spending the rest of your life with your soulmate is the most delightful aspect of an engagement, the jewel used to mark the occasion also holds much prominence.

But, some people might believe that an engagement ring shouldn’t carry so much significance because that is a materialistic approach. As long as you get to spend your life with your special someone, nothing else should matter. 

Indeed, that’s a noble way of thinking but it’s not the material item that counts, it is the message it sends! With that said, your life’s love will still love the beauty of the ring that you give her.

Let’s take a closer look at what an engagement is all about.

An Ancient Tradition

When it comes to choosing an engagement ring, most people, if not all, gravitate towards the twinkling diamond. While that’s an excellent choice, it’s not the only one. There are other equally gorgeous sparklers that a person can use to propose, such as the rich red ruby.

If you think that a ruby stone is not the right choice for a commitment, here is an exhaustive list of reasons to change your mind.

Ruby is a Precious Stone

A purple gemstone on a ringIn case you didn’t know it already, the stunning ruby stone is just as precious as a blinding diamond. Diamonds are considered desirable because they are widely known as the most precious gem in the world, but that’s not true. That said, of course, diamonds are as classy as they come, but other precious stones are no less elegant.

Rubies are rich in color and incredibly appealing, which makes them an ideal choice for an engagement ring. Plus, they are among the rarest gems on the planet, which further makes them well-suited for marking a life-changing moment in someone’s life, i.e., an engagement.

Rubies Signify Love

All gemstones signify some aspects of human life. Some reflect beauty and class, while others represent resilience and patience. Likewise, the ruby stone carries a more profound meaning under its gorgeous appearance, which is love.

The word ruby comes from a Sanskrit term, which means the king of gemstones. In early times, rubies were worn to attract success, love and wealth.

Keeping the age-old belief aside, it’s pretty obvious that rubies signify love. How? Well, they are red and the color red is universally associated with love and passion. Most things that humans relate to romance and affection are red. The human heart is red; roses, which are the universal symbol of love and to express a romantic interest in someone are also red.

Putting two and two together, rubies by way of exhibiting a dark red hue symbolize love, becoming the perfect choice to mark a lifelong commitment of loving someone.

If you are planning to propose to your partner anytime soon, you should consider getting a ruby engagement ring.

A Ruby Stone is an Excellent Investment

Pretty much like a diamond, a ruby stone is a prudent investment because it doesn’t come cheap.

Rubies are the most expensive specimens of the corundum group of stones. They are unbelievably rare and fiercely sought-after; therefore, investing in a jewel featuring a ruby is bound to reap substantial financial rewards.

Thinking of your engagement ring as an investment may seem odd, but you cannot deny that it’s a perk worth considering. Of course, nobody is asking you to buy your commitment ring in hopes of gaining hefty profits in the future, but choosing a financially-rewarding piece won’t hurt.

Rubies are Durable

Pink Gemstone on a black backgroundRubies are not expensive without reason! They cost so much because they are unbelievably rare and super long-lasting. A genuine ruby stone is durable enough to last a lifetime. And that is why it’s a wise choice for an engagement ring because it will show your willingness to have a lifelong relationship.

Experts measure gemstones on a scale of hardness, known as the Mohs scale of hardness, to determine their durability. It’s a universal gauge with readings from 1 to 10, ten being the toughest and one being the softest. According to the Mohs scale, diamonds have the highest value of 10 and resultantly, the most durable, precious stones. But rubies are not too far behind as they possess a score of 9 on the Mohs scale.

An Extensive Selection of Matching Settings

The richly hued ruby stones are tremendously versatile in that they can be used with an endless variety of band styles. You can use a plain ringlet or go with something much more intricate; either way, the ruby on top will shine bright!

Owing to the adaptable nature of rubies, most jewelers offer a wide array of matching settings to set the sparkler on top. This allows customers to get the exact replica of the ring in their minds. Naturally, everyone has an image of what they want their engagement ring to look like, materializing, which is not always possible. However, with ruby stones, getting the ring of your dreams is pretty percent likely. Regardless of how painfully detailed and intricate ring design a person has in their mind, they can get exactly that by choosing a ruby gemstone.

Rubies are Popular in Celebrity Circles

Like the rest of the world, diamonds are the first choice for an engagement ring in celebrity circles. But rubies are picking up popularity. If you are one to follow pop trends, you should consider getting a ruby ring when popping the question because many A-list stars have done it. Orlando Bloom proposed to Katy Perry with a 2-carat oval-shaped ruby ring. Similarly, Eva Longoria and Ashlee Simpson received gorgeous ruby rings from their respective partners.

EndNote

Picking out an engagement ring is a totally personal decision, but a little help can nudge you in the right direction. If you are a non-conformist, you should break away from the traditional diamond engagement rings and consider giving your partner a ruby jewel at the time of engagement.

With that said, how about a ruby stone with a diamond ring around it?

 

 

How to Choose a Gemstone for Your Necklace

Opal sterling silver bracelet
Opal bracelet hand made in Belize

Choosing a stone to put on your necklace can be a pretty difficult task, especially considering that there are hundreds of natural gemstone variations. As overwhelming as this may be, the key to choosing a stone for your necklace is that it should be a personal choice. While new trends and styles might seem quite appealing, it’s best to go for something you like regardless of whether or not it’s in style.  

That being said, we’re here to make it easier for you to choose the perfect stone for your necklace. Here are some factors you should consider when selecting a gemstone. 

Choose a Birthstone

You might not have to think beyond this point: your birthstone could be a perfect choice! Generally, choosing a birthstone is a no-brainer for astrology enthusiasts. Wearing your birthstone close to your heart (in the form of a necklace) is known to bring luck, provide the wearer with inner strength and also offer a certain level of guidance in difficult situations. 

Birthstones also make for great conversation pieces. So, if you’re looking to strike a conversation with your crush to find out about their birthday, this will be a great option! The most appealing aspect of adorning a necklace with your birthstone is that it has a highly personal aspect to it; it offers some meaning to you, making you feel more spiritually connected.

Also, you don’t to have to choose your birthstone; you can always choose a loved one’s birthstone to feel connected to them and make them feel special. This entirely depends on your personal choice. 

Consider Its Health Benefits

As we have noted in a number of our previous articles, some people believe that certain stones have health benefits to offer. While they believe that gemstones possess specific healing properties that are transferred through their energy, others believe that certain stones just have a placebo effect. 

Whether you choose to believe in the former or latter, there’s no harming in wearing a stone that is believed to help you with certain health problems. 

Color of the Stone

Colored minerals
Photo: Pixels 1121123

Moving towards the more practical aspects – color is a vital consideration. The aesthetics of a gemstone is a very important factor that can make or break one’s decision. So, if there is any color that you particularly want in your necklace or if there’s a color that you want to avoid – now’s your chance! 

The choice of color of a gemstone largely depends on the style and preference of the individual. Those looking to make a bold statement can opt for vibrant-colored gems such as red rubies, while others who want to remain subtle can opt for a quartz gemstone. 

What’s the Occasion? 

Choosing the right stone also depends on the occasion on which you plan to wear it. While some people wear necklaces as a daily staple, it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon accessory for others. This factor will greatly influence the color, shape, price and overall look of the necklace. 

For instance, if you are choosing a necklace for your wedding day or a very important occasion, you should opt for a big and bright gemstone like the sapphire. However, if you are getting a necklace to wear daily, then it’s best to choose a neutral and refined stone like a pearl or rose quartz. You can make the decision of your necklace easier by matching it with the outfit you intend to wear to a specific occasion. 

Assess Your Budget 

A majority of people set a budget as to how much they are willing to spend for a necklace. There’s no doubt that despite how much you pay, you want to get the best possible value for your money. We all know that certain stones cost more than others; not everyone can afford to buy a diamond necklace for example. Establishing your budget can help you cancel out certain options. So, your budget could be a great place to begin the gemstone hunt. 

Some expensive stones include opal, sapphire, and musgravite. On the other hand, Quartz, Citrine and Tiger’s Eye are more affordable stones. Remember this – a more expensive or highly-priced gemstone doesn’t mean that you will get the necklace of your dreams. Even on a small budget, you can get some fantastic options if you’re creative enough.  

Consider the Clarity 

Mineral Tridymite
The Mineral Tridymite

Gemstones may have many imperfections on them. The number of imperfections determines its clarity rating. It’s not necessary that a stone is unattractive just because it has a lower clarity. In fact, many times it’s the imperfections and flaws of the mineral that adds character to it. 

If you’re searching for a stone that has a high clarity level and sparkles, some great options include white sapphire, garnet and white topaz. On the other hand, if you’re searching for a stone with imperfections that give them a different aesthetic, then moonstone and Rose Quartz are a good bet! 

Choosing a stone for your necklace boils down to one single thing – your personal style and preference. Regardless of whether a stone has health, healing or spiritual benefits, the only thing that truly matters is that you enjoy wearing a stone. Base your decision on what you love and what matches your style!

 

10 Gemstones That Make the Perfect Presents

Variety of gemstones on a matWhen it comes to presents, gemstones are always a great choice for your special someone. They are beautiful pieces that can be kept forever. Not only will they light up your loved one’s day, but you will also show them just how much she means to you. 

Choosing a gemstone can be slightly overwhelming though, given the variety of options available. You have to look at a variety of factors when making the right selection. Don’t buy it just based on appearance, but find out their durability, symbolism and the mysterious energy of the stone. Even though their healing powers can be disputed, think of them as similar to buying a star in the sky. You can’t verify that this is really your star or in this case, that the stone will give you the healing power they are known for, but as a metaphor that can work well for your special someone.

Here are 10 of the top gemstones that make the perfect presents, you really can’t go wrong with these!

1. Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz Healing Gemstone
Rose Quartz Healing Gemstone

The rose quartz makes an excellent present, considering it symbolizes love. Its delicate pink color is gorgeous to look at and gives out feelings of love and harmony. It is a favorite among women so you can’t go too wrong with this one! This beautiful mineral is known to bring delight and wellbeing to the person receiving it. It symbolizes femininity and encourages the wearer to open their heart out to love.

2. Lapis Lazuli

This gem has many healing properties, apart from it being absolutely stunning. Its blue color is calming to look at and is made of a mixture of crystals, including lazurite, pyrite and calcite. Lazuli enhances physical wellbeing and gives off positive energy, which helps deal with illnesses. It is believed to have amazing healing powers that are perfect for people who don’t have the best immune systems. The energy of this gemstone aids in cleansing both the body and the mind and that’s what makes it the ideal present to give to your loved one.

3. Amethyst 

Amethysts are among the most beautiful stones in the mineral world. Their deep purple color helps with providing peace and quieting the mind of the wearer. By giving it to someone, you are offering them inner peace and encouraging them to tune in and find themselves. Not to mention it makes a stunning piece of jewelry when worn. Its properties greatly help in keeping the mind and emotions balanced. 

4. Diamonds

The Diamond with excellent cut
“Diamond” by nikilok is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” you must have heard that one! Well, it’s one hundred percent true. It doesn’t get more classy than diamonds. They are no doubt one of the sparkliest stones out there and that’s what makes them so incredible. To add to that, they literally go with any outfit so it will make your friend’s life a whole lot easier while making them feel like a true queen!

5. Citrine

Add some brightness to your loved one’s life by gifting them this vibrant yellow crystal. It is one of the most sparkling gemstones, which makes it a popular choice amongst women. We guarantee you this stone definitely won’t go unnoticed, so it’s perfect to give to someone who likes a bit of attention. The stone provides its wearer with warmth and abundance, abundance in wealth and many other facets. It gives off a positive energy that keeps away depression and fatigue. Because of its color, citrine is known to symbolize the sun, bringing you hope and happiness and giving you the energy that you need. 

6. Garnet

Another stone that’s the color of love is the garnet. The deep red of the stone symbolizes passion and luxury. It is especially potent to give to a friend who you are romantically interested in. Garnet is a much sought after gemstone that women just adore. It is rich in energy and helps the wearer live their life boldly and compassionately. Given their extraordinary color, garnets are one of a kind and therefore make the best present when it comes to gemstones.

7. Moonstone

This one is a classic. Although it comes in a variety of qualities and price ranges, the one that is the most valuable is a white-ish one that is almost transparent. It is mesmerizing to look at and has a rainbow sheen to it. Moonstone gets its name because it is linked to the moon and the lunar cycle. It symbolizes wisdom and grace and is the perfect present to give to someone to who you look up to. The stone is also known to bring harmony and balance out emotions.

8. Labradorite

This gemstone may not be very popular just yet but it will surely get there in due time! Gray in color, when looked at closely, this stone comes to life and offers you a whole new perspective. It mixes with more delicious blues and greens and will take your breath away. Interestingly, it is known to symbolize the darker side of the moon. It is slightly mysterious and is often referred to as ‘the witches’ stone’ because of its dark color. By giving it to someone you are sending them power and we guarantee you they will love this one-of-a-kind piece.

9. Pearls

A timeless stone that is intricately beautiful, you can’t go wrong when it comes to pearls. Since they are a neutral color they will come in handy many times for the person you give them to. From lunch to a dinner party, they will add a touch of sophistication to the overall look and will make your loved one feel like a true princess. To add to that, pearls symbolize purity and femininity and that’s one of the reasons why they make great presents.

10. Aquamarine

It doesn’t get more beautiful than this gorgeous bluestone. Not only is aquamarine the birthstone for march but it is also the color of the sea so the perfect present if your friend is a sea lover. The blues in the stone are known to have a calming effect that brings peace and tranquility to the wearer. They can make any piece of jewelry with it whether it’s a ring or necklace.

Each of these is unique and breathtakingly beautiful. Whether you give one to a family member or a close friend, it’s the perfect gift for a gemstone lover. Don’t forget to watch the expression on their face when you give it to them.

12 Things You Didn’t Know About Sapphires

Sapphire in a ringKnown for its blinding blue beauty, the sapphire stone is considered an emblem of elegance worldwide. People love to own and flaunt this mesmerizing blue goodness that lights up every piece of jewelry it’s added to. But despite being so popular, there’s a lot about sapphires that remains unknown. People only regard the sapphire stone as the brilliant blue gem that reflects light and shines every which way, but there’s so much more to it than just the enthralling hue beauty that allures gem lovers everywhere.

While there’s no harm in touting sapphires as the azure marvels of the gem world, it’s certainly a disservice to such a well-rounded and versatile rock. Keeping that in mind, we decided to put together a comprehensive guide that’ll give all the lesser-known facts about the mesmerizing sapphire stone.

Sapphire Is Among The Top Four Gems

Although the precious and semi-precious classification of gems that was once widely used back is not relied upon much now, some gemstones are still given precedence over the others, namely diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. When these lavish rocks are refined and transformed into precious gems, they become not only exquisite but also super pricey. But that’s not to say that precious stones in their raw form are any less precious; polishing further adds to their value significantly.

Being a member of the precious category, sapphires enjoy a much more estimable position as a gemstone.

Sapphires And Rubies Are Twins  

Sapphires and rubies do not only share the title of precious stones, but they also have the same scientific structure. Aside from their colors, the two gemstones are exactly the same. Because of the same gem composition, rubies in lighter shades, such as pink, are referred to as pink sapphires and not pink rubies.

Sapphires Rank A 9 On The Mohs Scale

Besides the striking clarity, cut, and color, stones are also assessed over their hardness. And the metric used to do so is known as the Mohs scale of hardness. Gemstones that lie high up on the scale, i.e., close to ten, are harder than those near the tail end.

With that said, not many gemstones have a high Mohs ranking, but the sapphire is one that lies close to the top of the scale.

It ranks ninth on the Mohs scale of hardness, following a diamond that has the highest rating of ten. Sapphires share their high rating with rubies as both have the same scientific structure.

Having such a place on the Mohs scale means that sapphires are incredibly sturdy and cannot be cut by any stone other than a diamond. If you want to check whether a bluestone is actually sapphire, assess its hardness by trying to slit it using a stone. If it develops a fissure, it’s not a genuine piece because only a diamond can crack a sapphire.

The 4Cs Are Used Differently When Evaluating Sapphires

The 4Cs are used to evaluate gemstones based on its color, clarity, carat, and cut. While for most gems, having crystal clarity is considered a testament to their high quality, for sapphires, the said evaluating measure is used differently. Unlike diamonds that are considered more precious if they are clear, sapphires are regarded as of better quality and composition if they have inclusions and carry a rich hue. In sapphires, the color takes priority over all else when assessing the value of a particular piece. If it has high saturation, multiple tones, and shades, it’s considered supremely valuable. In simpler words, what might be looked at as a flaw in other gems is a favored characteristic in a sapphire stone. A dark, shaded, and rich sapphire is much more valuable than one with less color, shades, and hue intensity.

Naturally, the more precious a sapphire stone, the more expensive it’s going to be. But if you have money, always go for a darker shade.

Sapphires Come in Many Colors

Sapphires are mostly pictured as blue colored gems snugly placed on engagement rings, but they come in many more colors that are equally breathtaking. The many sapphire shades other than blue include green, purple, pink, orange, black and yellow. You may also find colorless sapphires that are excellent and less expensive substitutes of the exorbitant diamonds.

Color-Changing Sapphires

As the name suggests, color-changing sapphires possess a unique ability to shift shades under different lights. A color-changing sapphire will look different under natural light and appear differently under artificial light.

Star Sapphires

Based on how sapphire is formed, it can acquire certain imperfections. Sometimes, these flaws can gather near the center of the stone and create an asterism, making it a star sapphire. Star sapphires are pretty rare and are among the most sought after sapphire varieties.

Sources of Sapphires

Although sapphires are mined worldwide, some countries enjoy high-quality sapphires more than others. Those include Cambodia, Malawi, Afghanistan, India, Columbia, Kenya, Vietnam, and America.

Sapphires are Used in Tech Industries

Due to their sturdiness, sapphires are used for industrial purposes. The most well-known use of sapphire in an industry other than the jewelry world is the watch sector. Sapphire stones are used in many smartwatches and some Swiss pieces as well.

The History Behind the Name

The name sapphire comes from two words used for blue in Latin and Greek; sapphirus and sappheiros. It is believed that these names might have been used to describe a different gem known for its blue appearance, lapis lazuli, back in the day.

Sapphires Were Considered a Symbol of Royalty

Sapphires have enjoyed an esteemed position with royalties for the longest while. The deep blue stone was used by many medieval kings and queens as it was believed to possess magical healing powers that would ward off evil and restore health.

Expensive Sapphire Stones

One of the most expensive sapphire stones known to the world belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Josephine. The emperor gifted the precious gem placed over a gold band alongside a diamond to his wife in 1796.

The ring was recently auctioned for a million dollars

Another expensive sapphire ring belongs to the British royal family. Prince Charles gave the glorious ring to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. It features a 12-carat oval blue sapphire and is now in possession of Princess Catherine.

 

If you love sapphires as the royals around the world, be sure to get yourself or your partner a magnificent ring with a chunky blue sapphire sitting on top to feel like royalty.

Howard Fensterman Minerals