Thirumalayampalayam department of costume design and fashion study material

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A selection of gemstone pebbles made by tumbling rough rock with abrasive grit, in a rotating drum. The biggest pebble here is 40 mm long (1.6 inches).

A gemstone or gem (also called a precious or semi-precious stone, or jewel) is a piece of attractive mineral, which—when cut and polished—is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However certain rocks, (such as lapis lazuli) and organic materials (such as amber or jet) are not minerals, but are still used for jewelry, and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone. Apart from jewelry, from earliest antiquity until the 19th century engraved gems and hard stone carvings such as cups were major luxury art forms; the carvings of Carl Fabergé were the last significant works in this tradition.

Characteristics and classification

Spanish emerald and gold pendant at Victoria and Albert Museum.

The traditional classification in the West, which goes back to the Ancient Greeks, begins with a distinction between precious and semi-precious stones; similar distinctions are made in other cultures. In modern usage the precious stones are diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, with all other gemstones being semi-precious. This distinction is unscientific and reflects the rarity of the respective stones in ancient times, as well as their quality: all are translucent with fine color in their purest forms, except for the colorless diamond, and very hard, with hardnesses of 8-10 on the Mohs scale. Other stones are classified by their color, translucency and hardness. The traditional distinction does not necessarily reflect modern values, for example, while garnets are relatively inexpensive, a green garnet called Tsavorite, can be far more valuable than a mid-quality emerald. Another unscientific term for semi-precious gemstones used in art history and archaeology is hardstone. Use of the terms 'precious' and 'semi-precious' in a commercial context is, arguably, misleading in that it deceptively implies certain stones are intrinsically more valuable than others, which is not the case.

In modern times gemstones are identified by gemologists, who describe gems and their characteristics using technical terminology specific to the field of gemology. The first characteristic a gemologist uses to identify a gemstone is its chemical composition. For example, diamonds are made of carbon (C) and rubies of aluminium oxide (Al2O3). Next, many gems are crystals which are classified by their crystal system such as cubic or trigonal or monoclinic. Another term used is habit, the form the gem is usually found in. For example diamonds, which have a cubic crystal system, are often found as octahedrons.

Gemstones are classified into different groups, species, and varieties. For example, ruby is the red variety of the species corundum, while any other color of corundum is considered sapphire. Emerald (green), aquamarine (blue), red beryl (red), goshenite (colorless), heliodor (yellow), and morganite (pink) are all varieties of the mineral species beryl.

1. DIAMOND  Heera

Diamond is the King of Gems. It is one of the most powerful stones. Diamonds are crystalline forms of carbon and are the hardest stones known. It is supposed to be the most powerful when combined with other gemstones. 

Diamond is the ultimate gemstone, having few weaknesses and much strength. It is well known that Diamond is the hardest substance found in nature, but few people realize that Diamond is four times harder than the next hardest natural mineral, corundum (sapphire and ruby). But even as hard as it is, it is not impervious. It has a broad color range, high refraction, high dispersion or fire, very low reactivity to chemicals, rarity, and of course, extreme hardness and durability. Diamond is a polymorph of the element carbon. 

Usage:  It is said to signify purity and innocence. Has always been associated with strength and good luck. Gives calm sleep and takes away nightmares. Reflects light and thought and will absorb all energies, both positive and negative. It focuses on the brain, takes away blocking and strengthens the brain function. A stone for peace. It can help you achieve material wealth and prestige

2. Ruby : Stone for Lord Sun ( Manik)

This is the gem of Sun, it improves the concentration of mind and gives lusture to the skin. This gem gives all round success in life and is the karka for leadership. This improves the leadership qualities and puts the person in forefront. It gives intellectual capabilities and improves one’s writing and speaking powers.

Overview:          A Trace amount of chromium gives Ruby its bright red color. Ruby is a term for red gemstones derived from the mineral corundum, formed primarily from aluminum oxide. A Ruby is actually a Sapphire of red color. It is an extremely hard and durable gemstone, well suited for all jewelry applications. Top quality Rubies are highly prized, and in larger sizes are frequently valued above all other gemstones, including Diamonds. Rubies over two carats are extremely rare and valuable.

Usage:          Considered one of the most precious and perfect gemstones, Ruby symbolizes the sun, freedom and power. It is a sacred gem to the Buddhists, and is called "tears of Buddha". Increases energy levels and it will stimulate love if worn close to the heart. It protects sensitive natures, health and wealth, controls passions. Stimulates blood circulation, gives calm sleep and takes away nightmares. Will help you if you are suffering from sadness. It's also said to be able to ward off evil spirits, protect against poisons and act as an antidote to snakebite. 

Legend:            During the Middle Ages, the ruby was believed to have an inner fire that could not be concealed. By the time of the Renaissance, only the wealthiest individuals could dream of owning a ruby. Ruby was said to be the most precious of the twelve stones God created when he created all things and a Ruby was placed on Aaron's neck by God's command. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, Ruby is called Ratnaraj, or king of precious stones. Rubies have been highly prized gemstones throughout history.

3. Yellow Sapphire : Stone for Jupiter (PukhRaj)

This gem of Bhrashpati gives one material wealth and prosperity.It is worn to give one comforts and also status. People aspiring for administrative and political positions must wear it to give them the benefit of fate on their side. It also improves the working of liver and thus improves health and gives radiance to skin.

4. Emerald : Stone for Mercury  ( Panna)

This Gem of Lord Ganesha is the favoured Gem of the people seeking intellectual powers as well as for those seeking wealth .This calms down the nervous system and improves the capacity to take decisions. It improves the liquidity and money flow in business and blesses the wearer with liquid assets.

Overview:                Emeralds are a gemstone from the Beryl family of stones. They have a stunning green color. It gets its characteristic emerald green color from traces of chromium in the crystal matrix. Emeralds of excellent quality which exceed a carat frequently are valued above diamonds. Inclusions caused by calcite deposits (jardin) are typical in emeralds and color saturation and hue are a bigger factor in determining the value of an Emerald.

Usage:                  Emerald is a precious gem that promotes creativity and perception. It also acts as a natural tranquilizer when you are worried or your mind is troubled. Emeralds symbolize serenity, success in love, wealth, happiness and peace of mind. Improves the memory, helps insomnia, strengthens the immune system, helps with eye sight, restores youth, aids neurological diseases, heals ear problems, and eases child birth. 

Legend:          Emeralds have been treasured for thousands of years. The infatuation with Emeralds dates back to ancient Egypt and Rome. It is said that Cleopatra was always adorned in Emeralds and that this was her most treasured jewelry. The earliest emeralds date from the Ptolemaic era (320-30 B.C.), but there have been discoveries of mining tools going back to Ramses II (1300 B.C.) or even before. In the middle Ages, deposits were also uncovered near Salzburg, Austria. By the 16th Century, however, Colombia became the most celebrated diamond producer, with the stones being traded throughout South America. To the Romans, emerald was dedicated to Venus, the Goddess of Beauty, and symbolized the reproductive forces of nature. To the early Christians, it represented resurrection.

5. White Sapphire (Saffed Pukhraj) 

This gem of Venus ,it gives one glamour and radiance which makes one stand apart from the crowd .It improves sex appeal , improves the innovative powers and megha shakti , worn by people who want to stand apart and be remembered like actors, models ,players etc. People in public relations can also benefit a lot from it.

6. Red Coral : Stone for Mars  ( Moonga )

Coral: This is the gem of Hanumanjee ,it bestows upon a person courage and strngth. This also improves the muscular system and improve the capability of bone-marrow to produce red blood cells .It improves the process of absorption of oxygen by the lungs and there by gives strength to the entire body and removes my diseases which are not understood by the medical profession. This also removes the effect of tantra and evil spirits. If you have uncomfortable dreams this is a must for you.

7. Blue Sapphire : Stone for Saturn  ( Neelam )

Blue sapphire is the most talked about gem. It gives status and influence in the society. Most of the famous people wear this gem to achieve great benefits in life. It gives rare ideas and skills and enhances the innovative power of mind, said to fight depression and gives serenity to the mind. Must for people in the creative field and those who desire fame .

8. Pearl : Stone for Moon

In the Astrological works the moon is considered as signification of heart (man) and thus wearing a Pearl brings one out of depressions and gives a calm and vibrant feeling.  The memory is also improved and the general interaction with other people is more fruitful. It can cure all diseases arising out of heart. 

The orange cosmic rays emitted by the Pearl helps in splitting and exploding the negative energy in the body. It helps in cleaning and decongesting the negative emotions and negative energy particles in the Aura. It gives a clear complexion and if used as a powder on the face gives unique flow. This is a secret of Ayurveda known to few and used by even fewer people.

9. Gomedh : Stone for Rahu

This is a Gem of Rahu (Dragon’s Head ) Rahu gives mental tensions- unnecessary worries and strained relationships .Wearing its gem gives one mental peace and freedom from worries .rahu is said to give professional excellence and demolishes the enemy power by its strong force.

10. Cats Eye (Lehsuniya) : Stone for Ketu

This is a Gem of Ketu (Dragon’s Tail ) .By wearing this gem one is able to subdue his enemies and is able to remove the effect of any negative forces working on him. This gives one social recognition and sudden spurts of growth. It protects from Erratic income and bestows stability in life. This is the gem of Moksha and frees one from the cycles of life and death

Gems are characterized in terms of refractive index, dispersion, specific gravity, hardness, cleavage, fracture, and luster. They may exhibit pleochroism or double refraction. They may have luminescence and a distinctive absorption spectrum.

Material or flaws within a stone may be present as inclusions.

Gemstones may also be classified in terms of their "water". This is a recognized grading of the gem's luster and/or transparency and/or "brilliance". Very transparent gems are considered "first water", while "second" or "third water" gems are those of a lesser transparency.

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