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gemstones

A Gemstone Primer
Image: iStockphoto.com/Studio-Annika

A Gemstone Primer

Rubies and diamonds and emeralds…oh, my! But don’t overlook chrysoberyl, spinel, and zircon. Gemstones have long captivated our attention for their unique and colorful qualities.

Explore their glittering world, including their chemical composition, crystal structure, and other properties — and why they are the shiny, sparkly objects of desire.

NOVA/PBS
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Researchers Find Why Ultramarine Blue Fades

Researchers Find Why Ultramarine Blue Fades

Created from the semiprecious stone lapis lazuli, ultramarine pigment fades over time. That's long been known. Why it happens, though, is just now being discovered. More...

Article
Science Daily
World’s Rarest Gemstones

World’s Rarest Gemstones

Some gemstones are very hard to find. Take a look at some of the rarest gemstones in the world and learn what makes them valuable. More...

Images
Discovery
Diamond Glow

Diamond Glow

Prized for their beauty and rarity, diamonds are expensive, but hard-to-spot fakes often sell for a lot, too. Discover how a diamond’s wavelength glow helps scientists distinguish the genuine from the phony. More...

Article
Science News for Students
Gem Gallery

Gem Gallery

Take a look at the astounding variety of colors and shapes of the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection. This is the place to see unique gems and jewelry: Marie Antoinette’s diamond earrings, anyone? More...

Images
Smithsonian
How It’s Made: Gemstones

How It’s Made: Gemstones

Watch what happens in the process of transforming a rough blue john gemstone as it travels from a mine to a jewelry workshop to a finger. More...

Video
Discovery
Mineralogist Mike Rumsey

Mineralogist Mike Rumsey

Meet Mike Rumsey, a mineralogist who studies rocks, gems, and other minerals. Find out what his favorite gemstone is and the best and worst things about his job. More...

Profile
Natural History Museum, London
Minerals and Gems

Minerals and Gems

Earth holds more than 4,000 minerals, many forming beautiful crystals, but the most prized are gemstones. Investigate what makes a gem precious or semiprecious. More...

Article
National Geographic
Scientist Profile: Mineralogist

Scientist Profile: Mineralogist

Mineralogist Elizabeth Arredondo studies the amount of water in garnets and other minerals for clues to how the Earth formed. Watch how she identifies unknown minerals and why she says her job “rocks.” More...

Profile
DragonflyTV/PBS
These Gems Make Their Own Way

These Gems Make Their Own Way

Scientists are creating gemstones that appear similar to those forming deep in the Earth. Discover the scientists' methods and the uses for lab-grown gems beyond jewelry. More...

Article
Science News for Students

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