Gemstone Review – How Are Gemstones Mined? – sapphire gemstone
sapphire gemstone –
Have you ever wondered where the sparkling gems in your jewelry came from? In case, the pain and the effort needed to bring these beauties to you?
Gems travel a long distance before they can be worn as jewelry. Even if a gemstone is ready for sale, it must be placed in metal and backed up to make jewelry that you eventually buy in a shop.
There are gemstone mines around the world (except for pearls and corals that come from the water source), and some countries are known for the type of gems found there. For example ruby mines in Burma and diamond mines in South Africa. Ratnapura or City of Gems in Sri Lanka is famous for its sapphire and ruby mining as well as some other gems. Amethysts are mined around the world, and the highest levels of saturation are mined in Australia. Emeralds occur mainly in mines of Mexico, while Brazil is the largest sapphire source. Russia is famous for alexandrite occurrences. In the underdeveloped world, gems are still mined by small miners using rudimentary tools, fire, and self-blasting explosives.
In the earth's crust, gems form when the molten rock beneath it flows through the cracks that have formed in the area where lava meets the bottom layer of the earth's crust. As soon as the super hot lava cools down, it starts to crystallize. Sometimes when the cooling process is fast, after solidification instead of crystals a non-crystalline stone is formed. The type of stone that ultimately forms depends on the type and saturation of the various minerals in the cooling lava. Rubies consist for example of corundum or aluminum oxide.
Most gems are mined after a lengthy search process, but in rare cases landslides can cause a precious stone to be uncovered. Among the reported incidents is the accidental discovery of sapphire in Kashmir in 1880, when foot-long sapphire rocks were discovered by a hunter.
Precious stones that are mined are in a rough shape, and only experts can sift gems out of worthless rocks. The production of high-quality raw gemstones is in short supply and there is a great demand for them. In fact, the acquisition of rough gems is one of the most difficult tasks in the gem industry.
Rough stones have to be cut and polished, and at this stage it is crucial to make a profit and lose money. Skilled workers and precision cutting machines give them the look of sparkling gems. Heat can improve the color and clarity of a gem. For example, citrine is made from heating amethyst. Tanzanite is almost always heated to remove brown undertones and give it a sparkling blue or purple color.
Some gems are used in their natural form: crystal or non-crystal. However, most gems are cut and polished before being sold to stores or jewelery makers. Again, there are two ways gems are cut and polished. Opaque stones like Opal gemstone and turquoise are cut as cabochons – highly polished and convex cut, but without facets. These are designed so that the color and surface properties of the gems are visible. Transparent gemstones are usually faceted, with a faceting machine being used to polish small flat windows at regular intervals and at precise angles.
The color is the most intriguing and attractive feature of a gemstone. Cut and polish contribute significantly to highlight the best of gemstone. Daylight or white light is actually a mixture of different colors. When it passes through a substance, some colors are absorbed and others are let through. The unabsorbed color is what we see, white light without the absorbed colors. The same material can reproduce different colors despite the same components. For example, ruby and sapphire are made of alumina, but have different colors.
The history of the gems does not stop here. These are then placed in metal to make jewelry such as pendants, rings, etc. The work was initially done by craftsmen with hand tools. The task was partly taken over by sophisticated machines for mass production. Some extremely complicated designs are still made by hand and are worth much more than machine-made jewelry.
– How Are Gemstones Mined?