All gemstones are formed in geodes

Gemstones

Sparkling treasures

The rich and beautiful of the world adorn themselves with them, they give pieces of jewelry the ultimate kick, gemstones are an eye-catcher - not only for women. It was men who were the first to adorn themselves with them. Its luster and purity represented the grandeur of the early rulers.

Their rarity makes them much coveted gems for us humans, for which people are still cheated, murdered and forged. For example, rebel groups in Africa are financed with so-called blood diamonds, which are usually mined and sold illegally and under cruel conditions.

Sapphires, emeralds, rubies or diamonds - they all have in common that they come from the depths of our earth. They are minerals like many other, less noble types of rock. The difference lies in the purity of their composition, the symmetrical internal structure that gives them hardness, and various inclusions that give transparent gemstones an additional colored luster.

Birthplace underground

Gemstones are created deep in the earth's interior. The earth's core contains the building blocks of the precious stones. The hot, liquid magma is nothing more than a huge primordial soup of minerals.

When magma rises, it cools down, and the enormous pressure inside the earth causes atoms to begin to unite. They form crystals - in the case of gemstones with a very symmetrical internal structure and great purity. For example, the diamond consists exclusively of carbon atoms, arranged in a regular, square grid structure that forms at a temperature of over 1000 degrees Celsius and an atmospheric pressure of over 40,000 bar (magmatic formation).

Such conditions can only be found in the interior of the earth, at a depth of well over 100 kilometers. Topaz, ruby ​​or sapphire are also made in a similar way. They are also characterized by purity and a special degree of hardness. However, nothing is harder than a diamond. It is considered to be the "immortal" among precious stones.

Crystals can also form when temperature and pressure conditions change in existing rock layers. During this "metamorphic formation", new magma can penetrate rock formations, previously solid mineral layers can be restructured, and layers with uniform chemical compositions are created. For example, nature produces emeralds and garnets. Volcanic activity brings all of these precious rock layers to the surface of the earth.

The interior of the earth also repeatedly harbors areas with liquid mineral solutions. If they evaporate, gemstones can also crystallize out. Turquoise, opals or malachites are created in this way, which is called sedimentary.

Small but subtle differences

Gemstones such as blue lapis lazuli, tourmaline or rock crystals such as amethyst and agate are also created in a similar way to gemstones. However, gemstones do not have such a high chemical purity. Their crystal structure is less symmetrical, they are softer and mostly not transparent. In addition, gemstones are more common than gemstones.

Above all, the rarity of the gemstones determines their mostly higher value. In addition to the chemical purity of the stones, other factors are their greater color intensity (depth of color and luminosity) as well as their proportions and cut.

Only the processing of the gemstones brings the shine and colors to their full advantage. Often it is minimal metallic inclusions that give the transparent gemstones additional color. The emerald, for example, sparkles in bright green thanks to minimal chrome deposits.

Perfection through the finishing touches

It is a long way to go before jewelery or precious stones shine in full splendor. Natural stones are usually rather inconspicuous. The stones only get fire and brilliance through cutting, grinding and polishing. The processing of gemstones is still a handicraft. In the gemstone metropolis Idar-Oberstein (Rhineland-Palatinate), for example, it was brought to perfection over the centuries.