Stones and Jewelry

Stones: A Quick Introduction

Minerals are naturally occurring, inorganic compounds with relatively definite physical properties and chemical composition. There are over 4,000 recognized minerals. Rocks are composed of one or more minerals in varying proportions. Crystals are created when molten minerals or those in a solution solidify in open spaces, where they may adopt the shape that is normal for that crystal.

There are three types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Igneous rocks harden from molten material. Examples are obsidian and granite. Erosion wears away igneous rocks and they are deposited in another location. Eventually the deposits grow and over time, the layers build and become rigid, cemented of sedimentary rock. Examples of sedimentary rock include: sandstone, shale, and limestone. Metamorphic rocks are created when sedimentary rocks are subjected to high heat and extreme pressure. Examples include slate and marble.

The chemical classifications for minerals include the elements, sulfides and sulfosalts, oxides and hydroxides, halides, carbonates, nitrates and borates, sulfates, phosphates and vanadates and arsenates, tungstates and molybdates and uranates, and silicates. Characteristics for stones include: color, luster, hardness, specific gravity, streak, fracture, cleavage, parting, translucency, fluorescence and phosphorescence, and other phenomena.

Natural stones are created within the earth, without outside influence. Lab created stones are created in labs with equipment that can simulate the high heat and extreme pressure the stone would normally under go within the earth. They are nearly identical to natural stones; they have the same chemical composition, the same shape, hardness, color, luster, etc. The only difference is that with lab created stones, they generally have less flaws because they are under direct control. Simulated stones on the other hand are only created to resemble the natural stone. Usually, they will not have the same chemical composition or other characteristics of that stone.


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