Stories from A-Z: Jewelry, Gems and Minerals - Precious Stones
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Avalon's Treasury - Jewelry, Gems & Minerals
Jewelry, Gems and Minerals
Minerals and Precious Stones
Information on Gems
Topaz is a mineral composed mostly of aluminum and flourine that has a chemical formula of Al2SiO4(F,OH)2. Topaz is a prized gemstone, with this being the mineral's only real value. The topaz is the birthstone of November and the state mineral of both Utah and Texas.
In its pure form, a topaz is a colorless stone. However, impurities may tint a topaz. There are also brownish and yellowish topaz found in nature, with pink, red, orange and blue ones much more rare.
The topaz is an extremely hard mineral and is used on the Moh's scale of hardness, which goes from one to ten, to represent the hardness level associated with eight. This means that it can only be scratched by those minerals with a higher hardness number, such as diamonds.
Despite its hardness, topaz tends to break rather easily along its cleavage lines. This makes it better suited for jewelry such as earrings and necklaces that do not get hit or bumped a great deal while being worn.
Countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Russia and Brazil are the leading producers of topaz. The mineral was believed by the ancient Greeks to have the ability to make people stronger, and the Egyptians employed the stone to protect themselves from injuries.
One of the most popular kinds of topaz is the blue topaz. Since these are very hard to come by naturally, gemstone dealers will bombard a clear topaz with radiation and then heat it to attain a blue color. The majority of blue topaz on the market has been treated in this way.
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The Mohs Mineral Hardness Scale
The Mohs scale was devised by Friedrich Mohs in 1812 (and therefore it's never spelled "Moh's"). You use the Mohs scale by testing your unknown mineral against one of these standard minerals. Whichever one scratches the other is harder, and if both scratch each other they are both the same hardness.
What is a mineral?
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid formed through geological processes that has a characteristic chemical composition, a highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. A rock, by comparison, is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids, and need not have a specific chemical composition. Minerals range in composition from pure elements and simple salts to very complex silicates with thousands of known forms. The study of minerals is called mineralogy.
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Amethyst is a precious stone that is purple or violet in nature. Amethyst has been present since the beginning of history and the ancient Greeks thought that it had supernatural properties to ward off intoxication. In fact, the word amethyst has its roots in Greek meaning not to intoxicate. Today amethyst is a popular precious stone used to enhance beautiful jewelry.
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Jewelry, Gems & Minerals
Stories from A-Z
Jewelry, Gems and Minerals - Precious Stones
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