(Last Updated on : 14/03/2012)
Gemstones are defined as organic materials, mineral or rock that are used for several purposes. Like for instance, they are used in jewelleries, ornamentations and other art forms. Gemstones like pearl
or opals are commonly styled into art or jewellery and they do not require any sort of polishing or cuts. They can be called as gemstones, but not gems. On the other hand, Diamond
is a type of gem that needs proper cutting as well as polishing for making its true beauty visible. Gemstones are also known as crystalline rock. Gemstones appear like a piece of attractive mineral.
Origin of Gemstones
The origin of gemstones is from deep beneath the earth, while the others are formed from hot fluids and other chemical components. The gemstones that are formed deep beneath the earth ultimately brought to the surface by explosions of molten rocks. Some stones are also crystallised slowly from hot fluids and gases as they cooled and solidified eventually. These stones are formed far below the surface of the earth. Others stones are formed from liquids that are filtered into crack and pockets in the rock. Some stones are formed when rocks were heated and pressurised by the natural earth movements, and then again formed as a new, different mineral altogether.
Characteristics of Gemstones
The characteristics of gemstones can be explained by technical terminology. This is the specific subject for the gemologists. Gems are characterised by means of their refractive index, specific gravity, hardness, dispersion, luster, etc. They may exhibit pleochroism or double refraction. Gemstones may also have a distinctive absorption spectrum and luminescence. The gem may occur in certain locations; this is popularly known as 'occurrence'.
Classification of Gemstones
There are around 30 popular varieties of gemstones and many rarer collector gemstones. Some varieties of gemstones have been treasured since pre-historic times while several others were discovered recently. Gemstones are classified on the basis of succeeding characteristics such as Crystal Structure, Optical Characteristics, Chemical Composition, Specific Gravity, and Durability.
Grading of Gemstones
Many years ago, there were only two types of gemstones. Some of them were precious while some were semi-precious. Some basic principles are involved in grading gemstones of both types. There are 4 C's regarding gemstones. These can be mentioned as colour, clarity, cut, and carat weight. One of the significant factors for determining the value of coloured gemstones is comprehensive colour grading. Unlike diamonds, where the cut is one of the most important factors, the 'colour' of coloured gemstones can influence as much as fifty percent of a gemstone's value. Most of the gemstones are cut and polished for usage. Stones, which are opaque, are commonly cut as cabochons whereas the transparent gems are normally faceted.
Colour of Gemstones
The actual colour of a gemstone is because of the reflective and absorptive properties of any elements or impurities within the precious stone. This colour does not include any optical effects caused by reflection or refraction. It is said that gemstones are the most deeply coloured natural material. In fact they have become a sort of synonymous with colour that nowadays mostly people recognise them with their colours. The colours of gemstones have a wide range of variations.
Some gemstones are manufactured to replicate other gemstones. But these artificial synthetic gemstones copy the look and colour of the real stone but possess neither their chemical nor physical characteristics as well. There are around 130 varieties of minerals that have been cut into gems with 50 species in common use.
Power of Gemstones
Gems are largely used as an astrological remedy to counteract unpleasant effects of different planets. The ancient prophets of India used to call them as 'ratnas'. They also used them to help an individual native. Among the many gemstones, the lunar astrology advocated the use of nine stones to counteract the adverse effect of the planets. But these gemstones should be carefully selected according to the planetary positions and these can bring about prosperity, mental peace and success.
The use of semiprecious stones has been very popular in the country since time immemorial. There are around 84 different types of gemstones, out of which only 8 gems have been described as precious and the remaining are called semi-precious gems. Most of them are used for making cutlery, idols and ornamental items.
Significance of Gemstones
Gemstones often carry significant role in the wearer's life. People like to wear them but most of them do not have any idea how the gemstones are made and why they are so precious. Many gemstones have healing and medicinal power that protect against the bad effect of planets. They are also known to boost the spiritual power in a person's body. Research has proved that gemstones usually heal people suffering from dangerous and fatal illnesses by energizing them as well.
The healing power of gems is not entirely an illogical belief. If it were, oral administration of gems as oxides and powder would never be so extensively practiced and so effective. Ayurvedic medicines and the Greek system, known as the Unani system in India, both utilize gems. Practitioners of these systems have studied gems and their typical effects on human organs, because gems are mineral in pure crystalline form and human body is composed of the same materials. Gems provide the lacking colour in any human body for which the person may suffer from various diseases.
Navratna gemstones are the set of nine precious stones that are related to nine ruling planets. A person should wear either the ring of a single gemstone or a set of nine precious stones. This navratna gemstone is worn to increase the power of planets and for removing their malevolent effects.
Gemstones for Planets
There are many gemstones, which are effective for planets. These can be mentioned as Blue Sapphire
that is gemstone for Saturn planet,
Cat's eye that is gemstone of Ketu planet
, which is the gemstone for Mars planet
that is the gemstone for Mercury planet
that is gem stone of Rahu planet
that is the gemstone for Sun, Pearl
that is the gemstone for Moon, and Yellow Sapphire
that is the Gemstone of Jupiter planet
Types of Gemstones
There are various types of gemstones present. All the gemstones are basically differentiated in two distinct groups of precious and semi-precious stones. Diamonds have also been considered as the most valuable of such stones. Other precious gemstones are rubies, emeralds, topaz
and sapphires used in a wide range of purposes. Amethyst
, apis lazuli, and malachite are some of the popular semi-precious stones.
Gemstones are highly prized and are known for their beauty, durability, and rarity.