Sabrina Cusson

Artisane joaillière

Where do gemstones come from?

Sabrina Cusson

Do you know how gemstones are formed? A few more questions need to be raised. Where do these gemstones come from and how can we explain the extraction process in non-scientific language?

The history behind gemstones is fascinating. It’s in the East that gemstones are valued for their true worth. More specifically, people living in Egypt, India and Insulinde were quick to notice the dazzling effects of gemstones by pre-Homeric times. By comparison, the Western world remained unaware of gemstones for many decades, apart from Neolithic tribes living in the Gaul region. These tribes uncovered turquoise, a gemstone that has been revered by Native Americans over centuries for two reasons: its positive energy and its ability to eliminate negativity.

Why did the Eastern world value gemstones, whereas the Western world seemed oblivious to the charm of these stones for so long? We’re still left in the dark.

That being said, it is important to understand that the title “gemstone” brings together four gems: diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds.

Let us take the extraction process into due consideration. According to experts, most gemstones are formed in the top layer of the Earth’s crust, with a depth ranging from 3 to 25 miles. Although all gems are mined in the crust, a few gemstones form in the mantle. The crust in question is composed of three different types of rock: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. As you probably know, magma plays an essential role in the formation process. If magmatic mass cools slowly in the crust, it can crystallize and form minerals. The list of gemstones formed from igneous rock is long: the chrysoberyl group, all quartz, beryl, garnet, moonstone, apatite, diamond, spinel, tanzanite, tourmaline, topaz and zircon. As for gemstones formed from sedimentary rock, they include jasper, malachite, opal and zircon. Finally, gemstones associated with metamorphic rock include beryl, lapis lazuli, turquoise, spinel, ruby, sapphire and zircon.

As such, it’s easy to see why it takes time and patience to find gemstones because the extraction process can be lengthy. But the reward is sure worth the effort!