Gemstones: History and basics

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blog details: The world’s love of diamonds had its start in India, where diamonds were gathered from the country’s rivers and streams. Some historians estimate that India was trading in diamonds as early as fourth century BC. The country’s resources supplied limited quantities for an equally limited market: India’s very wealthy classes. Gradually, though, this changed. Indian diamonds found their way to Western Europe in the caravans that travelled to Venice’s medieval markets. By the 1400’s, diamonds had become fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite. In the early 1700s, as India’s diamond supplies began to decline, Brazil emerged as an important source. Diamonds were discovered in the pans of gold miners as they sifted through the gravels of the Amazon River and its tributaries. Once it reached its full potential, Brazil dominated the diamond market for more than 150 years. In the late 1800s, just in time to satisfy the expanding market, explorers unearthed the first great South African kimberlite pipes. In 1869, the Star of South Africa – a magnificent 83.50-ct. rough diamond-renewed diamond fever. Prospectors searched the banks of the Vaal River, where it was found. They unearthed more diamonds nearby and the real rush began. People came to the diamonds fields from all over the world in search of opportunity and riches. Throughout time gems have been used to express love, passion and power. The most famous gems have been recorded in our history as priceless works of art, created by nature and fashioned by humans. Adorned by royalty of old and new, the wealthiest and most powerful individuals in the world have passed along these treasures as we will to the generations to come. Gems are timeless and each has a story to tell, in order to fully appreciate these gifts of nature we must understand their basics. While classifying gems, we begin with the basic difference of Organic and Mineral gems. Most Gemstones are inorganic minerals, natural substances with a characteristic chemical composition and usually characteristic structure, such as topaz, sapphire, ruby and emeralds. However there are exceptions like pearls, amber, coral and ivory, which come from plants and animals and are known as organic gems. Both organics and minerals are classified as natural gemstones as their origins are from nature. All gemstones share three common traits; beauty, rarity and durability. Beauty in fashioned gemstones is brought about by its visual appeal, a combination of symmetry, surface appearance and most importantly colour. Symmetry refers to the balance and harmony of a gemstones cut. To be a gem, a substance must share three important traits with all other gems: beauty, rarity, and durability. Beauty can be interpreted as visual appeal, comprised of the following factors: colour, symmetry, surface appearance and transparency.

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