Gemstones are also known as semi-precious stones, precious stones, jewels, gems, or fine gems. They are those stones that when cut and given effective polishing, can be used to produce decorative ornaments, adornment articles, and jewelry of various kinds. They can also be used for lapidary work and carving. They are available in various kinds with varying chemical compositions as well as physical, medicinal and metaphysical properties. Gems are also formed in different environments and rocks such as igneous rock, metamorphic rock, and others. They crystallize in a different geometric system like trigonal, monoclinic, hexagonal and others, and exhibit different crystal characters. Another point of divergence among these stones is their degree of rarity. While some are commonly available in various parts of the world, others are rare. Their rarity determines their price to a considerable extent.
Gemologists utilize certain terminologies to describe the scientific and physical properties of a gemstone. Gems are crystals and thus have different crystal systems as mentioned above. Gemologists also explain the form in which a gemstone is found using the term habit. Stones can be hard or soft, brittle or flexible, transparent, translucent or opaque. The hardness of stones is normally measured using the Mohs scale. They also have different colors, luster, and streak. Gemstones virtually come in all the known colors such as red, blue, black, brown, dark, green, orange, pink, and others. It is the minerals and transitional elements as well as impurities available in a gemstone that will determine its color. A particular gemstone may be available in a variety of colors as a result of a varying level of impurities. But because of similarities in chemical composition, such stones may exhibit similar scientific properties and behaviors.
Gemologists also distinguish gemstones in terms of their optical properties such as refractive index, dispersion, double refraction, diaphaneity. Stones are also distinguished in terms of their cleavage, fracture, luster, brilliance, and others. These chemical and physical properties determine the use a stone will be put into or the article that will be produced with it. For example, a stone with poor hardness may be a good material only for specific types of jewelry.
Precious stones have been employed by mankind since the time of first recorded history to effect physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Some believe that they improve the health of the bearer in various ways. There are also some that build courage, love, self-acceptance and other kinds of positive effect.
These stones can be mixed together to obtain the desired effect or better healing result. Today jewelry made of different stones are common. Mats made of mixed stones are also available in the market. Possessing mixed stones is a veritable means of bettering your life in various ways.