At a Glance....
- Precious and rare
- Used since ages for their therapeutic and ornamental properties
- Prized for their natural hardness, texture, colours and lustre
- Natural, inorganic, hardened, crystallized mineral complexes
- Pearl and Amber – Organic gems
- Used in Astrology, Ayurveda and Colour Therapy
The scintillating Gemstones
A thing of beauty is joy forever! The little scintillating, coloured stones, which glint every time a light ray caresses them, the ones which manage to surprise you with their natural, ethereal beauty and depth each time you see them or run your fingers over their fine facade - are Gemstones – precious, rare, beautiful and awe-inspiring – even in their raw, uncut state.
Prized since ancient times, and also considered magical and auspicious, in some contexts, the Gemstones are the bounties of nature, which have enthralled the kings as well as the commoners. Apart from being used to adorn thrones, crowns and ornaments, Gemstones were also used extensively for other purposes, including medicine mixes, worships and rituals, for cutting hard substances, for making knives/ cutters etc. owing to their natural hardness etc.
In today's times too, the special qualities and benefits of these rare Gemstones cannot be over-emphasized. Besides being extremely pretty and colourful, they are also prized for the life and auspiciousness they tend to infuse. They are also advised avidly in Astrology, as practical remedies, which can help the user/ wearer get over his/ her troubles.
Why are Gemstones so special? Why have they always remained an enigma? Are they really beneficial, and if yes, how? Well, read on further to find answers to all your questions you may have regarding the Gemstones.
Legends and Gemstones
Indian mythology is replete with numerous references to Gemstones, their creation, usage, strength and benefits, Gods and planets associated with them and more. One legend says that Gemstones came for the first time from ancient Demon King Bali's body, upon his sacrifice (beheading), carried out by Lord Indra.
European, specifically Roman, Literature heavily mentions Gemstones, kings' and queens' penchant for these precious stones, their uses etc. The great historian Pliny also carried a detailed account on Gemstones and popular beliefs associated at the time in his texts. In Greek mythology, Gemstones like Amber were believed to be made from the tear-drops of the Greek Gods.
In ancient civilizations, including the Vedic, Greek and Roman, Gemstones were held in high esteem, often believed to cure diseases and inflictions, and ward off evil eye and epidemics.
Indian medicine science Ayurveda also uses Gemstones, mostly in powdered form as cure for some diseases or general weakness, or to boost the overall strength and immunity of body.
Gemology and Types of Gemstones
Humans have remained fascinated with these wonderful, pretty little packets of mineral wealth called Gemstones or Gems, since forever. Gemology or the study of this natural wealth/ resource uses science, geography and history to research and study about the Gemstones, their occurrence, composition, properties etc. This is the reason that now we have the exact mineral formation and images of the 3 dimensional crystalline structures of these rare Gems.
Given the technological and scientific advances, and the vast sea of information now available about the Gemstones, many Gems and their cheaper substitutes are now also manufactured synthetically in the laboratories. These Gems are also meticulously cut and polished to get a sheen that's just about perfect!
What are Gemstones actually?
How are they formed, and what gives them their special lustre and colour?
Most Gemstones are not very different from the naturally formed (in the environment) or occurring hardened, crystallized mineral complexes, much like the other rocks and stones. However, for a natural stone or crystal to qualify as a Gemstone, it has to have a regular internal structure, smooth texture, lustrous and preferably transparent appearance, attractiveness and a definite tint/ colour/ glint (usually). And, rarity of occurrence is also something that makes a gleaming crystallized stone special and precious.
Read about the significance of Gemstones in Astrology – Here...
As aforesaid, most gemstones are natural inorganic minerals, with a fixed chemical composition and a regular internal crystal structure. However, a few prized gems like Pearl and Amber are derived from organic sources i.e. plants and animals, and are, thus, known as organic gems.
There are three major types of Gemstones.
- Minerals/ Rocks
Gemstones that are of mineral origin are found in rocks, or in gem gravels derived from these rocks. Most Gemstones fall under this category. Gemstones or Gem quality minerals may be found in any of the three types of natural rocks – Igneous (formed when the molten lava solidifies), Metamorphic and Sedimentary.
Pearls, Coral, Crystal, Jet and Amber are organically produced Gems, as they are produced from plant or animal sources.
Synthetic gemstones are created or cultivated in laboratories, not in rocks. They virtually have the same chemical composition and crystal structure, as the natural gemstones, and consequently their optical and physical properties are quite similar. However, they can usually be identified by the differences in the inclusions in them.
Key Qualities of Gemstones
It is one of the vital qualities in a crystalline rock/ stone to qualify as a Gemstone. Hardness means how well a Gemstone resists scratching/ degradation. Higher the hardness, higher the durability. Diamond is the hardest Gemstone, while the Sapphires fall a close second.
- Specific Gravity
The density of a Gemstone is also an important determining factor, when it comes to assessing its value. Greater the specific gravity or denser a Gem, better and higher is its mineral concentration, leading to smoothness and better texture.
- Crystal Shape
A natural Gem has a certain crystalline structure that is almost impossible to imitate synthetically. Thus, this is an aspect, which is vastly used to differentiate between real/ natural and imitation/ synthetic Gems. Also, the crystalline structure of a Gemstone has to be regular naturally, as only then the resulting stone will have a smooth, uniform texture, which is very important for cutting and shaping the Gems.
- Cut, Clarity, Lustre etc.
The naturally occurring Gems are raw and unpolished, but they are gifted with such strength, density and smoothness that they can be cut in beautiful, 3-dimensional ways, processed and polished so they appear extremely attractive. Such brilliantly cut Gems are extensively used in jewelery making.
Clarity is an important factor in ascertaining the value of a Gemstone. Clearer a natural Gem of impurities, more expensive and rare it is. Since, Gemstones are naturally occurring mineral complexes, formed probably under numerous environmental influences of extreme heating and cooling, they generally contain many impurities and flaws. And, the clearer, more transparent ones among these are obviously prized.
Lustre – and transparency are important aspects of good, high quality Gemstones. Some Gems have a natural lustre, and thus, they are higher priced.
Gemstones are of great value as Remedies in Vedic Astrology...How and Why? Read all about the significance of Gemstones in Astrology – Here...
Do you know, which Gemstone is best for you? Find out with a Personalised Report, created using your Birth Horoscope by an expert Astrologer – Ask for your Remedial Solutions for Personal Life Report. Or, Talk to an Astrologer Now to find out.