Where Did My Gemstone Come From?
Shopping for jewellery? That diamond or coloured stone embarked on a long journey to get to where it is today.
The old saying ‘diamonds are forever’ rings true as stones such as these are older than any dinosaur, animal and most land plants. That’s pretty old – billions are years old in fact.
Where are gemstones found?
Russia is believed to have the largest and richest source of diamonds found anywhere in the world, followed by Botswana, The Congo, Australia and Canada.
Rubies are found in many countries including Thailand, Nepal, Taiwan, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan and East Africa.
Sapphires are found in a few countries with the dominant ones being Sri Lanka, Kashmir and Burma. When you consider the location rarity and the fact that sapphires are second only to diamonds in durability, it explains the value.
Most of the world’s opals are mined in remote parts of Western Australia. Australia also produces the finest yellow diamonds and contribute a healthy percentage of pink, purple and red diamonds too.
But not all gemstones are found underground. Some are transported hundreds of kilometres from where they form, ending up in riverbeds, the sea and some even transported by wind. These are known as secondary deposits and are easier and cheaper to mine because the gem has already been separated from the host rock.
How are they formed?
This is the clever part. There are four main ways gemstones come about:
Metamorphic – form due to intense heat and pressure.
Hydrothermal – when bodies of mineral-rich water cool.
Igneous – stones created deep within the earth.
Sedimentary – created due to water depositing sediments.
Diamonds are the purest form of transparent carbon and crafted about 150 kilometres below ground before being brought close to the earth’s surface during volcanic eruptions. Diamonds are very difficult to find, and geologists spend a great deal of time searching for a commercially viable diamond mine. Once a diamond area has been found, here begins the second process of understanding the grade, carat and diamond value.
What do they need?
A crystal needs a combination of temperature, pressure, time, ingredients and space to turn into a magnificent gemstone.