A brief view about Sulfides, Oxides, Phosphates and Silicates.

Sulfide minerals are those in which sulfur is combined with one or more metals. Many of the sulfides are brilliantly colored, and most have low hardness and high specific gravity. Examples of sulfides include pyrite, marcasite, and sphalerite.

Minerals of the oxide group consist of oxygen atoms combined with a metal or semimetal. An example of this is aluminum oxide, or corundum—ruby and sapphire. Other gemstone varieties include spinel—often mistaken for ruby— hematite, and rutile.

These minerals are grouped according to the similarity of their crystal structures— phosphate minerals contain phosphorus and oxygen combined in a 1:4 ratio. Some examples of phosphates that occur as gemstones include amblygonite, apatite, and turquoise.

All silicates consist of silicon and oxygen atoms, structured as a central silicon atom with oxygen atoms around it in various configurations. Silicates are divided into subgroups according to the varying structural configurations of their atoms; of these, inosilicates are subdivided into two further groups, as below. Silicates include many gemstones such as quartz and tourmaline.

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