Gemology and Gemstones
In Gemology, Gemstones are the precious stones pieces naturally; these are then polished and finished for the various purposes. The most common purpose of using gemstones is for creating jewellery. There are different varieties of gemstones that seem same but they are different in their composition. Gemologists, who describe gems and their characteristics using technical terminology specific to the field of gemology, identify gemstones.
The first method preferred by a gemologist is to identify a gemstone by its chemical components. As there is no such grading system for any gemstone universally, other than white (colorless) diamond, this gemstone is graded using a system developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). In olden times, all such gemstones were graded by simply checking their color appearance and visibility. In the early 1950’s the GIA system introduced a technical system for this purpose, the prologue of 10x magnification as the standard for grading clarity. Some gemstones are still graded using the old methods or simply by the naked eye. This is Gemology.
Gemstones have been divided into two groups; precious and semi-precious. These days diamond, ruby sapphire and emerald considered as “precious”, these categories was mainly based on trend and the composition of these two lists has changed frequently over time.
Color, cut, clarity and carat are the parameters decided as an aid to help the consumer in understanding the factors that were use to grade a diamond. With few alterations, these specified groups can be useful in understanding the grading of all gemstones.
The four criteria carry different weight that depends on their application to colored gemstones or to colorless diamond. In case of diamonds, cut is the most important determinant of value followed by clarity and color. Diamonds has the property to sparkle, to break down light into its constituent rainbow colors, chop it up into bright little pieces and deliver it to the eye (brilliance). This is a basic function of cut. The original rough form of a diamond, is crystalline and will not exhibit these properties. After its proper fashioning or “cutting”, diamond show these properties. In case of colored gemstones, including colored diamonds, the purity and beauty of that color is the primary determinant of quality.
There are various physical characteristics that make a colored stone valuable like cut, color, clarity to a lesser extent like emeralds will always have a number of inclusions, remarkable optical phenomena such as color zoning, and star effects. Another most important factor in determining the value of a gemstone is called water. Water is an ancient expression that refers to the combination of color and transparency in gemstones. These the gemstones are being used for the most expensive jewelry, fashion trends, market supply, treatments etc. Nevertheless, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds still have a reputation that exceeds those of other gemstones. Rare or unusual gemstones generally meant to include those gemstones, which occur so infrequently in gem quality that they are hardly known except to experts in the field of gemology.
Today, the practice of wearing birthstone jewelry is as much a part of the culture as fast food or facebook. Children as young as three or four get them as birthday gifts. Parents wear their whole family’s stones around their necks. Couples wear each other’s stone to show their love and devotion. No one questions it, it is just taken for granted. Birthstone rings have even started to replace diamonds as the go-to engagement adornment.
But, where did this all start? Who decided that Rubies represent July, but Topaz is more of a November stone? And why? Or, more importantly, why did it catch on so intensely?
Like most other revered, and slightly mysterious, American traditions in the field of gemology, the birthstone tradition originates with quite a tale that can be traced back to the Bible.
In a nutshell, it all stemmed from the Biblical character Aaron (Moses’s brother) and the twelve stones in his breastplate. These stones correlated with the twelve months of the year and the twelve zodiac signs. A passage in the book of Exodus is cited as the evidence behind the story, although translations and interpretations of the exact passage vary from scholar to scholar.
And most experts will emphasize the fact that the modern lists of birthstones (and the actual wearing of birthstone rings and necklaces) have very little to do with the Biblical history or Aaron’s breastplate. The list has changed multiple times over the centuries, and – even today – can vary slightly depending on which source you consult.
The generally accepted list follows:
January – Garnet, February – Amethyst, March – Aquamarine, April – Diamond
May – Emerald, June – Pearl, July – Ruby, August – Peridot, September – Sapphire, October – Opal
November – Topaz, December – Turquoise
Originally the practice was to wear one stone for each month. No one wore the same stone all year long, and it certainly was not used as means of celebrating one’s birthday. Stones were changed monthly, according to the accepted list of the time. The practice of wearing a single birthstone all year round is estimated to be only a few centuries old. In 1870, the famed jeweler Tiffany & Co. published a pamphlet with poems matching each month to its birthstone. These poems were first published in the Gregorian Calendar. The rise of the acceptance and sales of these birthstone bracelets, rings and necklaces makes sense once Tiffany & Co. got involved. They have always set the bar when it comes to jewelry.
Those with a slightly more cynical view of the tradition cite this as the moment when birthstones earrings and the like stopped being about historical or religious significance and became about marketing and revenue.
Regardless of your opinion on that matter, there is no debating the fact that these gems are simply divine and a perfect way to add a little personal significance to your jewelry box.