Jewelry is the general name of the ornaments made of precious stones and mines. Ornaments such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings made of precious metals such as gold and silver as well as precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires are called jewelry.
If you think about the precious metals used in jewelry making, gold and silver come to mind first. Gold is the first metal to be processed, and in the earliest civilizations, it is considered valuable as a symbol of wealth and power. Pure gold is rarely found in nature. It always contains silver and sometimes other metals. The majority of the gold in the world is derived from the yellow metallic mineral in the soil. If the silver ratio is high, the mineral is called Elektrum. This mineral is yellow or white in color.
Although there is no definitive description, minerals and stones used in jewelry and ornament sector except diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, are classified as semi-precious stones. In the construction of gems, minerals, and stones, which are often used together with silver, are defined as semi-precious stones. Special stones (such as onyx and opal), which are used with gold but do not have an important place in the market because they are not commonly used worldwide, are also included in the semi-precious stones group.
Precious Metals Used in Jewelry Making
Gold, which has the oldest history among the precious metals, has been used as jewelry for centuries for being durable, easily shaped, and rare. Its rarity makes the gold valuable. Besides being the foundation of the oldest monetary systems, it plays an important role in world economies. Other than jewelry, gold is used in the electrical/electronics sector, space industry, dentistry, medicine, chemical industry, etc.
Among the features that make the gold a valuable mineral, there are: it’s exceptionality, being resistant to corrosion and formability, its density and weight being higher than other metals, its color, and not being dissolved in high temperatures.
The most important source of gold in nature is the quartz veins with gold content among the aged rocks. These veins are close to the surface due to geological movements and natural conditions in a very long time. The gold particles that are exposed as a result of this decomposition are carried to the flats along the rivers. Since gold particles are heavy, they accumulate in sedimentary gold deposits where flow and the carrying power of the water decrease. Thus, in the valley beds or in the valleys with old stream beds, secondary gold mines emerge.
Gold is superior to other minerals in terms of its ease of processing and its beauty. Very different kind of artifacts and works of art have been made of gold, in all known techniques. In this respect, gold is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to jewelry.
Silver is the second most important item in terms of its value after the gold element. It is an extremely useful and valuable element in terms of its physical properties. Silver, which has a structure between gold and copper in terms of hardness, is the element that is the whitest as the color among the metals extracted from nature. Its reflectivity is very strong when silver is sufficiently bright.
The fineness of silver, as in the gold, shows the silver ratio in jewelry or goods. For example, in 800 fineness jewelry, there is 80% silver and 20% copper. Since the silver metal is very soft, it is mostly used in alloys with other metals. It is mixed with copper, both to facilitate processing and to increase hardness. And, as in the case of gold, the fineness indicates the silver content found in jewelry or goods.
The fineness of the silver used for making jewelry and ornaments is 925. It consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. There is 90% silver and 10% copper in the structure of silverware such as cutlery and spoon. For example, silver coins consist of 90% silver and 10% copper alloy.
In the case of jewelry production, the fineness to be followed in some European countries can vary from 950 (1st degree) to 800 (2nd degree). In addition to this, fineness of home items such as cutlery and some medals can be as low as 750. And as long as the copper content does not exceed 50%, all of these alloys are white.
Gemstones Used in Jewelry Making
Diamond is one of the hardest known materials in the world and has a high financial value. It is one of the modifications of the carbon element. Lavoisier, a French chemist, saw that the gas that was released when the diamond burned was only carbon dioxide and concluded that it was pure carbon. The most prominent feature of the diamond which melts at 3547 degrees Celsius is its hardness. The diamond with a hardness of 10 is the hardest material in the world.
This means that it can scratch all other minerals due to its high hardness. Therefore, it has become an industrial substance. In addition to this, it is one of the most popular jewelry items because of its brightness, hardness, and as it refracts the light perfectly. The diamond is formed at a certain temperature and pressure. The places where the formation takes place are the depths close to the earth’s core. Approximately 1/3 of the diamond is a gemstone, and the rest is used for industrial purposes.
In 500 BC, the diamond was extracted from India and became a good traded by the Romans. When the value of the diamond was noticed in the Middle Ages Europe, the aristocratic people entered into all kinds of work to obtain the diamond. In this period, the best quality of diamonds remained in India, while those of lesser quality were reaching Europe. As a result, the diamond was polished and brought into an eye-catching shape.
Diamonds are produced intensively in Australia, South Africa, Botswana, Russia, Congo, and Canada. Today, it is still one of the most valuable jewelry items. Diamond is found in the rocks of Kimberlite in the world. Diamonds which are formed from other rocks were formed by the alteration of rocks and the erosion of kimberlite rocks. Kimberlite is the name given to volcanic rocks composed of magnesium and iron. Apart from diamond, calcite, olivine, ilmenite, and mica are also found in the kimberlite rocks.
The value of a diamond is determined based on its cut, color, size, and clarity. Whether it is crack or not is a very important value. Because cracks prevent light from entering the diamond. Yellow and brown effect cracks reduce the value of the diamond. On the other hand, pink, violet, and green diamonds are considered very valuable. Another feature of the diamond is its hardness. The Mohs value indicates the hardness of the diamond is 10 which is actually the maximum value.
Diamond shows nonmetal property. It has a melting point around 3.500 degrees. Its density is about 3.5 gr/cm3. In weighing the diamond, the unit of measure is used as carat. 1 carat equals 205 milligrams.
The emerald stone has been used as jewelry for centuries. The ancient emerald mines in Egypt dates back to 1650 BC. Emerald was traditionally considered as the birthstone of May. It is also known as a traditional gift for the 55th anniversary in some cultures.
A kind of beryl mine, Emerald is a perfect stone. It is softer than other precious stones. It doesn’t shine too much like other stones. The color is eye-catching and very impressive. This valuable stone, which is green and transparent, is a precious gem. It is believed to give peace and happiness.
The emerald does not shine much more than the other precious gemstones. Top quality emeralds, including British royal jewels, are exported from Colombia. The emerald is formed in the veins together with calcite and pyrite. Pure emeralds are very rare. Emerald crystals usually contain other minerals and small spots.
Emerald also has many types of cuts such as diamonds. However, the most preferred form of cuts is the “Emerald” type which gives its name to the stone. The care of the Emerald is also important. It must be lubricated to regain its color and recover its smooth surface at regular intervals.
The emerald, which is transparent as glass, is a very hard mineral. According to the Mohs hardness scale, its hardness is between 7.5-8. Emerald can accommodate many shades of green. The most valuable tone is grass green. But it named a color itself which is called Emerald Green. The more light or darker shades of emerald are less valuable than grass green. The most valuable emeralds are extracted in Zambia. There is also emerald production in some other countries such as Colombia, Australia, Brazil, Pakistan, Africa, India, Egypt, Russia, and the USA.
Ruby, one of the most precious stones in terms of beauty and aesthetics, is known as the master of stones in India. Ruby which belongs to the corundum group, is the most precious and hardest stone after Diamond. Ruby has a hardness of 9.0, a melting point of 2050 ° C. It has a range of colors ranging from red to brown or pink to magenta in various shades. It is the element of chromium inside the ruby which gives it the red color.
Ruby was used in the first laser construction. Contrary to popular belief, the production of laser with ruby was not easy. The main reason for the difficulty is that ruby has three energy levels. Although ruby is an unpretentious stone in its natural state, it can be as glamorous as diamond when processed in skilled hands. The most precious ruby is blood red.
Ruby stones are used as precious stones in jewelry such as rings, necklaces, and bracelets. It is among the stones that gem lovers value most. It reflects a wonderful color spectrum that contains shades of red. It is known that the red color increases the body resistance and strengthens the immune system. That is why ruby stone is one of the most popular and preferred stones among the healing stones.
Sapphire, which is one of the most precious stones in the world, is hard, heat-resistant, and often has an eye-catching blue color (the most precious sapphire is the one having a clear and deep blue color). It is from the corundum group and may have other colors except for red (the red one is Ruby). Sapphire can be colorless (white), gray, brown, green, pink, yellow, or orange. It is one of the 4 precious stones and is mostly used on jewelry making.
Sapphire radiates confidence and gives a sense of freedom. Sapphire stone has healing properties. It has a calming effect. It is believed that the Sapphire, which the ladies prefer to use as jewelry, provides loyalty in love. It gives a positive fitness with the great energy of its color. Because it is one of the most expensive stones in the world, it attracts a lot of attention. Its color and glare are eye-catching.
The most valuable and famous sapphires in the world came from India. The biggest sapphire in the world is the Indian star of 563 carat size.
Semi-Precious Stones Used in Jewelry Making
Agate stone is one of the most preferred semi-precious stones. It has many colors. It is generally a healing stone and has many benefits to the body.
The amethyst from the quartz family is one of the first stones that comes to mind when it comes to semi-precious stones. It can be in all shades of purple. One of the most well-known features is that it draws negative electricity and gives positive energy to the person. It’s a meditation stone.
Aquamarine is one of the beryl-group stones. It is also in the group of semi-precious stones, but it is more expensive than other semi-precious stones because of its rarity. It has a light blue color. Used against stress.
Coral is a living stone that lives in the seas. Available in shades of Red, Orange, Pink, and White. Strengthens the heart, gives clearness of mind.
The moonstone is a semi-opaque white stone. It is a stone that provides emotional balance. Moonstone facilitates birth.
- Crystal Quartz
Quartz stone, which is known in white or transparent colors, is one of the most preferred stones among semi-precious stones. It is widely used due to radiation collection.
Amber is actually a stone rather than a fossilized resin. It is formed by petrification of wood resins as a result of the fossilization of thousands of years. It has a honey color and some contain insect fossils. It is quite precious, though, among semi-precious gemstones. It takes pain when placed in the painful area.