Geologists divide rock types into three groups, depending on how they have formed. Gemstones can be found in all three types: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.
The term igneous is from the Latin word ignis, meaning fire. It is named after the burning red volcanic lavas that cool to form a rock.
Sedimentary rocks are formed by the weathering, erosion and deposition of other rocks, and the evaporation, cooling or transportation of mineral rich fluids.
Metamorphic rocks are formed are formed as rocks are altered by temperature and/or pressure, creating new crystals and minerals. For example, rubies of Myanmar (Burma) were formed as a result of the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia more than 65 million years ago, which pushed up the highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas.
Each rock type is formed as a result of different processes, which together comprise a continuous cycle of events. Rocks progress from their initial formation to their wearing down by wind, rain and ice (weathering), removal and transportation (erosion) and deposition (sedimentation), from which new rocks can be formed, continuing the cycle.
Gemstones are found in the rock in which they have been formed or in sediments and deposits, such as river gravels, created by weathering and erosion of the rock. For example, diamonds are carried by rivers and streams and deposited at river bends, in coastal sands or on the seabed.
Gemstones can also originate from two other natural sources: animals and plants.
Animal origin stones: even though it frequently has mineral components as well, these stones can have an organic origin. A clear example is a pearl, which forms in bivalve mollusk, as a protective reaction to a foreign object.
Plant origin stones: one example is amber, which is fossilized resin through a process of thousands of years.
As crystals, gemstones are structured in such a way that they respond to the inputs of all different energies around them, leading them to oscillate and emit specific vibratory frequencies. The cells in the human body also vibrate at certain frequencies. So when we come into contact with a crystal, its vibration interacts with the vibration of the cells in our body. Lithotherapy is a branch of unconventional medicine using the virtues and energy forces of gemstones and minerals to help patients restore balance to their body. Archeological discoveries have included records noting crystal therapy from ancient Egypt, in India's Ayurvedic records and also in traditional Chinese medicine from around five thousand years ago, all describing the healing properties of crystals and minerals. Three thousand years B.C. the symbolism of gemstones was mainly organized by the Egyptians. Their colors and their application to particular zones on the body gained in meaning and precision. In the Middle Ages they were used daily in China, in India and in France. There are records of the use of crystals and minerals in American Shamanic work and they are also used by Sangomas in Africa . Today lithotherapy is integrated among energetic therapies. It arouses increasing interest mingled with skepticism and cynicism in correlation with the scientific medical improvements of the past century.
Crystals of quartz when cut along certain planes can be made to vibrate, if the right type of electrical energy is applied. For example, cell phones have at least two such crystals in it. Crystals are cut in various sizes, and like bells each size resonates at a different frequency. Typical frequencies are 32,760 cycles per second, used for timekeeping, and 6, 10, 60 and 100 million cycles per second, used in synthesizing the carrier frequencies in cell phones. The crystals get really small and fragile at the higher frequencies, so you rarely see a crystal above 100MHz.
Silicon is used in every single computer and cell phone processor, and liquid crystals comprise the display screens of these devices. Quartz is used in watches and clocks to help them tell time, because it helps stabilize and regulate the flow of energy. Galena and Pyrite can be used to make radio receivers that do not rely on batteries. Ruby crystals were an important part of the first ever laser developed by Bell Laboratories in the 1960’s, and it is still used today for its abilities to focus and concentrate energy (it is used for example as an essential component in the mechanism of automatic watches).
Another intriguing example is the stone called “Shungite”. It is a black, lustrous, non-crystalline mineraloid consisting of more than 98 weight percent of carbon. It was first described from a deposit near Shunga village, in Karelia, Russia, from where it gets its name. Shungite has been reported to contain fullerenes. Shungite has been used for centuries to purify water in Russia. Peter the Great put a spa at the Karelia in the 18th century after experiencing the anti-bacterial properties of the water, and used the stone to provide purified water for his soldiers. Indeed, shungite appears to be an incredibly effective water purifier, removing almost all organic compounds including bacteria (and other microbes), nitrates, heavy metals, pesticides, volatile organics, pharmaceuticals, chlorine, and fluoride. Shungite water has been shown anecdotally to help with a variety of ailments including asthma, anemia, allergies, gastritis, erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, immune system deterioration, and chronic fatigue. Shungite water can be made by allowing the stone to soak in a container of water for up to 72 hours and then drinking 2-3 glasses per day. Modern scientific testing has also confirmed the antibacterial benefits of shungite.
Not only are gemstones ornaments of beauty, they can also contribute to our physical well-being. As such, these gifts from Mother Nature have value and should be respected as legitimate precious stones. The more we learn about nature, the more we learn about ourselves. Jewelry is, after all, a celebration of the beauty of our living planet.