Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man. They are composed of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal crystal lattice structure. Diamonds have been around since prehistoric times, however they were not discovered until 1803, when a Dutchman named Abraham König was searching for a blue-white gemstone. He eventually found a diamond mine in South Africa and began mining diamonds. Today, diamonds are mined in many different parts of the world. Most diamonds are produced in Russia, Canada, Brazil, India, Australia, and China.
Rubies are red gems that are often confused with garnets. Rubies are actually a type of corundum mineral. Corundum is a naturally occurring aluminum oxide mineral. Rubies are much harder than any other gemstones. In fact, rubies are the hardest gemstone known to man. Rubies are only found in small amounts in nature. However, they can be artificially created in laboratories.
Sapphires are stones that range in color from yellow to purple. Sapphire is a variety of corundum mineral that contains trace amounts of chromium and iron. These elements give sapphires their unique colors. There are two types of sapphire: natural and synthetic. Natural sapphires are mined in Sri Lanka, Burma, Madagascar, Thailand, Zambia, and Russia. Synthetic sapphires are manufactured in mines in Arizona, Nevada, California, and New Mexico.
Emeralds are greenish-blue gemstones that are formed deep underground. They are composed of beryl and fluorine. Beryl is a member of the quartz family. Fluorine is a nonmetal chemical element that is extremely rare in nature. Only about 1% of emeralds are mined each year.
Topaz is a bluish-yellow gemstone that is composed of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Topaz is a relatively soft stone. It is commonly used in jewelry making because of its beautiful color and high refractive index.
Citrines are orange-yellow gemstones that are composed of citric acid. Citrines are a variety of fluorapatite mineral. Citrines are mined in Brazil, Colombia, Tanzania, and Peru.
Moonstone is a pale gray gemstone that is composed mainly of silica. Moonstone is sometimes called “the poor man’s amethyst.” It is a popular gemstone among women due to its calming effect.