Did you know that gems can be either organic or inorganic? Organic gems are those whose formation involves living organisms and inorganic gems cover everything else.
Two organic gems are ambers and pearls which I will tell you a little bit more about so that you can fall in love with them just like I did.
All You Need to Know About Amber
Amber consists of a fossilized tree resin and has been used for hundreds of years for decorating. It has also been used for jewelry since the Stone Age, about 13,000 years ago!
Amber is formed due to “molecular polymerization whichresults from high pressure and temperature produced by overlying sediment, which, as Wikipedia explains, initially transforms the resin into copal and then “sustained heat and pressure drives off terpenes and results in the formation of amber”.
For Amber to finally form, the resin must resist decay. Most of the resin produced by trees eventually breaks down by physical and biological processes. Also, exposure to sunlight, rain, microorganisms, and extreme temperatures can affect it.
Sometimes you can find fossilized organisms inside amber such as insects and plants which are usually kept untouched even when used as jewelry because it simply looks amazingly beautiful! Also, isn’t it somewhat original to wear a pendant with a fossilized beetle or spider in it?
You should also know that there are five types of amber that are distinguished from each other based on chemical composition. It can also come in assorted colors. The most common is the yellow-orange-brown that is associated with the color “amber”, but it can range from white, pale lemon yellow, brown, and black.
You can also find amber in a red color known as cherry amber or in green and blue which is fluorescent and can be found in the Dominican Republic.
The Pearl: The Ocean Jewel
Now that we’ve covered amber, let me tell you a bit about pearls.
A pearl is also an organic gem produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk. It is composed of calcium carbonate in a crystalline form that has been deposited in concentric layers.
Pearls have been considered as gems for centuries during which they adorned royal crowns and jewels. Since the ideal pearl is supposed to be round and smooth, which is very rare, they have been valued as a gemstone.
Pearls can be either natural or cultured. Yes, pearls can be “grown” from a tiny piece of mantle tissue - also known as a graft - from a donor shell that is transplanted into a recipient shell. “This causes the pearl sac to form into which the tissue precipitates calcium carbonate”, as Wikipedia states.
The rounder and larger the pearl is, the more valuable it is. Its luster, color, size, symmetry, and lack of surface flaw also determine the cost of this organic gem.
But also teardrop-shaped pearls are valued. They are often used in pendants. Among other shapes you can find are semi-round, button, drop, pear, oval, baroque, circled, and double bouldered.
The semi-round pearls are used mostly in necklaces as well as button ones. These pearls are often used in single pendants or earrings too.
Please let me know if you have a favorite organic gemstones and if so then, why? Are you attracted to the fossilized amber or the sea jewel? Or do you prefer inorganic gemstones like diamonds, quartz, rubies, and moonstones? Leave your comment below!