There are more than 4000 minerals that occur naturally on Earth – inorganic solids which have a specific crystal structure and chemical composition. They are made up of individual elements or simple molecules arranged in repetitive sheets, chains or 3-D arrays.
Typically, minerals are formed when magma or molten rock cools down or by separating from water in underground caverns that are rich in minerals. Mineral particles are generally small, having been formed in confined areas between grains of sediments or lava flows. Large crystals found in rocks and geodes are relatively rare. The actual rocks are made of mixtures or clusters of minerals, which affect land form development and create resources such as granite, marble, iron, tin and gold.
Silicates – including olivine, mica, quartz and precious minerals like emeralds – are the most common class of natural gem stones, as well as other components of rocks. Halides, carbonates, sulfates, sulfides and oxides are other mineral classes, many of which form beautiful crystals. However, natural gem stones are the most prized of all. When they are uncut, they look fairly ordinary; it’s only when they are cut and polished that they take on the luster and brilliance that makes them so valued.
Historically, natural gem stones have been divided into semiprecious and precious classes. While there are a number of beautiful semiprecious stones, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies are classed as precious.
At Mosteller American Gemstones in Hickory, NC, we carry natural birthstones and gemstones to create rings, necklaces and earrings. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to place an order, contact us. We can ship anywhere in the world!