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What are gemstones?

Unveiling the Enchantment of Gemstones: An In-Depth Exploration

What are gemstones? The mesmerising allure of gemstones has intrigued humanity for centuries, with their kaleidoscope of colours and intricate, geological formations. Amidst the treasure trove of gemstone varieties, understanding their essence becomes essential. Gemstones are natural minerals or rocks that have been cut and polished to reveal their beauty. Each gemstone possesses unique qualities, from their lustre and hardness to their colour and transparency.


Decoding Gemstones: What Constitutes a Gemstone?

Gemstones are prized for their beauty and scarcity. What are gemstones made from? These geological creations are formed deep within the Earth's crust, subjected to intense heat and pressure over millions of years. They emerge as mineral crystals, each with a distinctive chemical composition. Four of the most renowned gemstones are Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. Emerald is my personal favourite, and we've made it into our 'DISCOVERY' ring, setting it into yellow gold for an Egyptian aesthetic.

What are ‘precious’ gemstones? Precious gemstones, often referred to as the "Big Four," include Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. Historical significance, rareness, durability & hardness, vibrant colours, and cultural significance, are several factors that contribute to this classification.


The Gem's Anatomy: A Closer Look

What are gemstones made up of? A gemstone is composed of atoms arranged in a specific crystalline structure. This structure determines the gem's physical properties, including its hardness, colour, and optical characteristics. For instance, the diamond's carbon atoms are arranged in a crystal lattice, giving it its exceptional hardness and brilliance. Other gems exhibit varying arrangements that contribute to their individual characteristics.


Crystal Clarity: Is a Gemstone a Crystal, and are there different types of gemstones?

What are gemstones if they’re not crystals? While gemstones are often crystalline in nature, not all crystals are gemstones. Crystals are solids with atoms or molecules arranged in a repeating pattern, forming a crystal lattice. Gemstones like diamonds and emeralds are crystals due to their organised structure, while other minerals, such as quartz, can form crystals that aren't considered gemstones. The Australian Opal that we've set into our popular 'QUARRY' pendant is considered a gemstone, but not a crystal, for example. Other Australian Gemstones that are found down under also include Diamond, Sapphire, and Black Jade!


Pearls: Gemstones, Crystals, or Something Else?

What are organic gemstones? Pearls are lustrous treasures, but they are NOT classified as gemstones. Unlike minerals, pearls are formed by molluscs in response to irritants like sand or parasites that enter their shells. The molluscs create layers of nacre (mother-of-pearl) around the irritant, resulting in the lustrous pearl. While not a traditional gemstone, pearls are often regarded as organic gems due to their rarity and beauty. Another organic gem is Amber!


Gemstone Meanings: Are They True?

Gemstone meanings can vary based on cultural, historical, and metaphysical beliefs. What do the gemstones’ colours mean? For instance, blue gemstones are often associated with clarity of mind and spiritual awareness, and black gemstones can represent protection, elegance, and mystery. What are the gemstones' cultural meanings? It's important to recognise that gemstone meanings are not universally accepted truths and are not supported by empirical scientific evidence. They are part of the folklore, mythology, and spiritual beliefs that have been passed down through generations. People who resonate with these meanings often find personal significance and connection to the gemstones they choose to wear or use.


What are Created Gemstones?

Created gemstones, commonly called lab-grown gemstones, are gem-quality minerals that are artificially produced in a controlled laboratory environment rather than being formed naturally in the Earth's crust. These gemstones have the same chemical composition, crystal structure, and optical properties as their natural counterparts. They are created through processes that replicate the conditions under which natural gemstones are formed, but in a shorter time frame.


Diamonds and Gemstones: Distinguishing Features:

What are the hardest gemstones? Diamonds are a subset of gemstones, known for their unparalleled brilliance, fire, and hardness. Diamonds are considered gemstones, but not all gemstones are diamonds. Gemstones encompass a wide range of minerals, each with its own unique characteristics and allure. Diamonds stand out for their exceptional optical properties and are often considered the pinnacle of gemstones. They are easily the most expensive gemstone - which is why we love making them! Our 'SOVEREIGN' ring holds a mysterious black diamond, set within a golden sword.


In Pursuit of Rarity: The Rarest Gemstones:

What is the rarest gemstone? Among the myriad of gemstones, the title of the rarest gemstone probably goes to Red Diamond. Red Diamonds are exceptionally scarce, with only a handful known to exist. Their captivating crimson hue sets them apart, making them a collector's dream. Other contenders for rarity include alexandrite, jadeite, and musgravite, each sought after for their scarcity and distinctiveness. Red Diamonds can easily sell for over 1 million dollars - something that is outside our product price range at the moment! Pink gemstones - namely the Argyle Pink Diamond - are also some of the rarest gemstones.


How we like Gemstones at AHW Studio:

What are gemstones like at AHW? Angus and I really enjoy crafting pieces that celebrate the historical and genetic essence of each gemstone. We hold a profound appreciation for the significance of gemstones and the stories they tell through their creation. We are NOT interested in overt bling. Diamonds for the sake of diamonds completely flat lines our interest. Gemstone rings and jewellery are opportunities for unique, thoughtful and cherished gifts.
What are gemstones? Gemstones are more than just their physical beauty; they are a timeline of the Earth's geological history.