Stones or gems are sources of good energy. They are also used as personal adornments, due to their durability and beauty. They are widely used in countries such as Europe and Asia and have been growing strongly in the Brazilian population.
Generally, they are inorganic substances, mostly minerals, which can be called gems or gemstones. There are several types of stones and, in this article, we will mention some of them and their benefits, in addition to better understanding their origin.
Gemology: the science of gemstones
Gemology is the study of gemstones. It deals with research on the chemical components that make up the stone material, which can be those of organic origin, which are made in laboratories; and those of inorganic origin, which are made naturally, from rocks, ores, and stones.
A gemologist has the ability to identify the different types of stones, whether natural, synthetic, or artificial, as well as the material the stone is made of.
There are some rules for a stone to be considered gemological. The object must possess beauty, durability, and rarity. These characteristics are common to gemstones.
Some examples of stones considered gemological are quartz, emerald, ruby, diamond, ivory, pearl, and amber.
The origin of stone colors
The nuclear techniques of the 80s had a positive influence on studies about the colors of gemstones. Currently, approximately 70% of the world’s stone production uses nature-like techniques to increase commercial value.
There are numerous treatment techniques, such as, for example, heat treatment, dyeing agate stones with dyes, the use of certain liquids to correct imperfections in gemstones, and electromagnetic radiation: gamma rays and electron beams, which are used to modify colors or stimulate colors in colorless topaz, tourmalines, quartz, diamonds, kunzite, and beryl.
The practice of dyeing stones is very common. However, the most valuable are natural colors.
Types of gemstones
There are more than 30 types of gemstones. Below, we present the main ones, with their characteristics and benefits:
It is considered a chalcedony stone, known to be a variety of quartz. It is used as decorations in environments, since many years ago.
It is characterized by its variety of colors, which are distributed in alternating lines, in different formats. Agate is formed in volcanic rocks and is a crystal composed of other minerals such as calcite, siderite, goethite, and zeolite, among other varieties of quartz.
Its colors vary between shades of red, orange, brown, and light colors such as white, gray-blue, and gray, and can be artificially dyed, a process used since the 19th century. About 90% of agates sold worldwide are dyed.
Brazil is one of the biggest producers of the stone, mainly in the Rio Grande do Sul, which has been producing agate since 1830. In addition to commercial use, the stone can be used for energetic healing, and energy balance and, also, there are beliefs that the stone attracts riches.
It is a variety of a mineral, also called beryl. It has a blue or greenish color, in very light tones, similar to seawater. Aquamarine crystals have a prismatic, hexagonal shape and weigh up to 100 kg.
It is one of the most typical gemstones in Brazil. In Minas Gerais, there is a great source of aquamarines, being the most valuable in the whole world. This stone is also produced in other states, such as Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Alagoas, and also in Paraíba.
Aquamarine is not synthetic. It is blue, and the darker the shade, the more expensive the stone will be. The stone is used to achieve inner peace, spiritual awakening, and also in purification rituals.
It is considered a fossil resin, whose color is yellowish, and can vary between dark brown and also a greenish-brown, reddish or white.
It is not considered a gemstone, as it is organic. It has very lightweight and capable of floating if placed in contact with salt water. It is used for decorative and easy care purposes.
A very relevant fact is that amber, when placed in contact with a woolen cloth, becomes electrified and can attract small objects that are light, such as paper, among others.
It is a stone originally produced in Russia, Germany, and Italy. It was never found in Brazil.
A very famous and admired stone for having a very beautiful purple color. It is a variety of quartz, which can be transparent or semi-transparent.
It is found in volcanic rock cavities and in other types of rocks. It is used for spiritual purposes and also as an ornamental object.
Amethyst crystals can reach large proportions. They are usually a little heavy, reaching up to 250 kg.
It is not recommended to expose it to the sun, as it can weaken the color of the stone, especially with those found in Brazil. However, its color can be restored with an X-ray.
If heated to approximately 475°C, amethyst can be transformed into other quartz of different shades.
Amethyst stone is also used to protect those who enjoy it. It also means evolution and spiritual growth and is considered a stone that generates vitality and health in the physical, mental and spiritual.
Diamond is the most expensive stone on the entire market. It is completely different from other gems. Its composition has pure carbon, like graphite, but it is very different from this mineral, in density, hardness, and color.
Most of the time, it is transparent, colorless, and, rarely, in very light colors. Diamonds, at least 99.9%, are transparent or in light shades of yellow. The less color a diamond is, the higher its price.
Diamonds can be found in shades of yellow, brown, gray, black, milky white, blue, and, rarely, red.
It has a very intense shine, called adamantine, which is considered the hardest substance in existence. Therefore, in order to saw or polish the stone, it is necessary to break the diamond.
Diamond is a very peculiar stone. Even though it is made of a very hard material, it is difficult to scratch. However, it is very easy to break.
It can be found in South Africa, Australia, India, and, in 1730, Brazilian deposits were discovered. Since then, Brazil has become the largest diamond producer in the world.
Emerald is very similar to aquamarine in that it is also a variety of beryl. However, its color is an intense green, from medium to dark tones.
Its crystals are hexagonal and prismatic. However, they are not transparent like aquamarine, as they are also made up of fractures and fissures, which are filled with impurities. They have their own cut, called an emerald cut.
The first emeralds appeared in Egypt. Currently, there are no more products in this country. Countries like Colombia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Brazil are the biggest emerald traders.
The emerald is considered one of the three most valuable gemstones, second only to diamond and ruby.
Also, the emerald is known to be a lucky stone. Because it has a greenish color, there are beliefs that the stone brings prosperity and success, luck in love, and is also used for therapeutic purposes, as it has strong rejuvenating power.
It is a variety of corundum. It has an intense red color and is formed by small hexagonal crystals, whose luster is vitreous, found in basalt, gravel, and dolomitic marbles.
It is one of the most valuable stones in the world, especially the dark red and purple ones. For spiritual purposes, the ruby stone conveys confidence and security, assists in the success of the individual, and attracts positivity and good energies.