Treasures of the Earth ( Minerals, Rocks Gems etc)

Minerals

Most gems are cut crystals of minerals. A mineral is defined as a naturally occurring solid with a specific chemical composition and a distinctive crystal structure. Each mineral has a unique name based on these two criteria. If either of these changes, it becomes a different mineral with a different name.


Rocks

The Earth’s rocks are made up of naturally occurring aggregates of one or more minerals, although there are a few rocks made from organic substances, such as decayed vegetation, which is the source of coal.



Crystal

A crystal is a solid, the component atoms of which are arranged in a particular, repeating, three-dimensional pattern. When these internal patterns produce a series of external, flat faces arranged geometrically, a crystal, such as the rhodochrosite above, is created.


Native Element

These are chemical elements that occur in nature uncombined with other elements including gold, silver, and diamond (carbon). With the exception of platinum and gold, most metals are extracted from minerals that contain them.


Organic Gems

Created through organic processes, organic gems are not commonly crystalline. Jet is a form of coal, derived from plant matter; coral and shell are the secreted skeletons of marine animals, while pearls are formed by shelled mollusks; and amber and copal are tree resins, fossilized and semifossilized. Organic gems are generally softer than minerals and easier to work.


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