Why are precious gems popular?
Gemstones are the ultimate in glitz and have been described as tears of the gods or fragments of stars. For hundreds of years, mankind has been besotted by the beauty of gems. These precious stones have often played different roles in the legends and myths of human cultures throughout history. Some are believed to hold special powers while some weave a story, but all of them share a rare form of beauty. Each precious gem is special with its’ own unique color, story, and birthplace.
Despite all these great qualities no human being can be sure of when the first person picked up a gem and kept it for its unique beauty. However, we do know that gemstones were being worn as jewelry at the dawn of civilization in Egypt about 4000 years ago. Egyptians were undoubtedly attracted to the play of light and color on the polished surfaces of such stones as diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Luster and color are 2 main qualities that serve to define gems. Although the real value placed on a stone varies in different cultures and historical periods. Other qualities also include transparency, durability, rarity, brilliance and beauty. Most gemstones display all these great qualities, but the minerals that are considered the most precious are always emerald, sapphire, ruby and diamond.
So why are these gems so popular?
The term gemstone originates from ancient Egypt, Rome, Mesopotamia and Greece where they are held largely in historical and ceremonial importance. They were named cardinal gemstones because of their use by religious and royalty figures. The same still applies today in some communities. Some believe they have medicinal and healing powers which protect them against bad effects of the earth while others believe they have spiritual powers which keep them healthy and happy.
In more modern cultures these stones are valued mainly because of their rarity and unique features. As advertisers claim, diamonds may not last forever, but they are special. Their glitter is unique, as are the sparkle and the play of colors they emit. These features are enhanced by the stone's ability to be split expertly along specific directions within the crystal. Diamond's multiple facets can also be polished to improve their sparkle. Although Sapphires and Rubies are not as hard diamonds, they are very hard. They have small amounts of impurities that produce the intense colors that most us value. For instance, rubies are red because of the same chromium material that gives emeralds their green color. Finally, it is important to note that the term a ‘precious gemstones’ is subjective today and is mainly mentioned due to tradition.
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