Whether they are formed as minerals within the rocks themselves or as the products of hydrothermal processes at far lower temperatures, gemstones require intense pressure and heat to develop. As they create as derivative or accessory minerals to rocks, gemstones' occurrence is tied to the composition of those rocks; in other words, the chemical make-up of a rock determines what kinds of gems can form within it.
When lava or molten rock begins to cool, some elements separate from the central mass to form crystals or independent entities, such as the minerals and gemstones in the rock. The bed of a creek is made up of both locally sourced materials and those washed down from higher up the stream. Creek pebbles, thus, reflect the local geology.
Since the first diamond was discovered in 1871, people worldwide have been trying to mine for these brilliant stones in the hopes of amassing big and small fortunes.
You might associate gemstones with exotic locations or the creation of expert jewellers. However, some common gems in your backyard may be hiding in plain sight.
How Old Are The Oldest Diamonds?
In a nutshell, the earliest diamonds date back to the distant past. It is estimated that the earliest dated gems are between one and three and a half billion years old. Nonetheless, one may claim that hidden caches of the ancient stones are older than 4.5 billion years.
Even though they've been here for a long time, people didn't find out about them until much later. The mineral may be buried deeply, making it necessary to excavate extensively.
Another reason is that uncut and unpolished diamonds are often misunderstood as pieces of glass or quartz due to their lack of distinguishing characteristics.
How Is A Diamond Formed?
Carbon, a naturally occurring chemical element, is used in the formation of diamonds. How much time is required to create a diamond? To the best of the scientific community's knowledge, diamonds have been buried underground for around 3.3 billion years, making them nearly as old as the Earth itself.
Diamonds were formed hundreds of kilometres below the Earth's surface when carbon was subjected to extremely high temperatures and pressure.
Carbon was subjected to pressures almost 50,000 times higher than those of Earth's atmosphere, and as a result, carbon atoms linked together securely to form diamond crystals. Due to the extreme conditions under which they are created, diamonds rank among the most complicated minerals on Earth.
Common Gemstones In Backyard
The reddish or brown colouration and marbled aspect of this gemstone have made it famous. There are various colours, such as green, but this is the most typical one you'll see in your yard. Agate is most commonly found in the backyards of people who reside in the Western United States. It's also more likely that you'll come across some Agate if you live close to some old lava beds.
Like many other gems, garnet has a long history. This was a staple in Ancient Roman culture discovered in Egyptian tombs. The minerals are known as garnets. Garnets are often deep red, although they come in orange, yellow, pink, and even black.
Almandine, pyrope, and rhodolite are all types of garnets that are relatively common. With its rich red colour, Almandine is a popular gemstone choice for jewellery. The orange garnet is known as spessartite. The use of garnets in jewellery is widespread due to their low cost and overall appeal.
Garnets' hardness varies with each variety. But it is hard enough to be a suitable abrasive, and it has many industrial applications, including steel cutting.
You may verify the authenticity of your ostensible Jade gemstone in a few different methods. One of the first things to do is inspect for problems. It may seem contradictory, but microscopic examination of colour or texture faults, especially vein-like inclusions, may reveal a natural stone. However, if your jade is examined under a microscope and shows signs of bubbles, it is most likely a fake.
Although green jade is the most prevalent colour, other shades, including purple and white, exist—both nephrite and jadeite, the two minerals that make up jade, are unique. Jewellery and sculptures made of jade date back thousands of years, and jade beads are still a popular jewellery accessory today. In ancient times, it served as a practical instrument as well. It's dull green in its raw state and has a rough texture.
This gemstone stands out due to its dark green colour and unique ring structure. The fact that it is not the most robust gemstone does not stop it from being widely used because some believe it has curative capabilities. On average, it grows inside of limestone. It is commonly used to create beads and elaborate carvings, and up until the 16th century, it was frequently employed as a pigment for painting.
Ophidian is a type of igneous rock. It is a mineraloid that crystallises out of cooling magma. It can be found floating in the atmosphere and resembles glass. Though most obsidian is black, it also occurs in green and brown varieties. Ancient peoples who only had access to stone tools made use of it as a blade.
Obsidian has modern uses as a surgical blade. It's also commonly used in jewellery since it can be cut into beautiful gemstone beads. Due to its fragility, this stone is typically set in earrings and pendants.
Precious opal, composed of silica, has an iridescent characteristic that makes it stand out. The rarest opals can fetch prices that rival the most coveted diamonds. Colour options include white, black, purple, pink, brown, and green. As the name implies, black opals are the most sought-after variety of opal. The more unusual opals, such as white opals and fire opals, are also sought. Even though they are most commonly used in jewellery, common opals can be carved into exciting shapes.
Because of their iridescent quality, rough opals are not hard to find.
Olivine is a mineral transformed into the beautiful gemstone known as peridot. Because the high concentration of iron in the olivine is almost always seen in various shades of green. Igneous rocks are typically where you'll find olivine. The peridot is a relatively gentle gemstone in terms of its hardness. It is simple to scratch and has the potential to explode under strain. It may be purchased at a low cost and is commonly used in the manufacture of beads, necklaces, and bracelets.
Quartz is readily available and is a common building material. Quartz comes in many different types, some of which are used as gemstones. Gemstone colours are not inherent to quartz but result from imperfections in the material. Quartz is commonly inexpensive and can be fashioned into jewellery, spheres, and sculptures. Quartz in any shade of purple, known as amethyst, is the rarest and most expensive type of quartz.
The quartz variation chalcedony, a subtype of agate, is also known as agate. In its uncut form, agate isn't the most visually appealing gemstone. The polished stone, however, is a rainbow of colours, including white, blue, red, purple, and more. Agate is a beautiful stone that can be utilised for various purposes, including decorative slabs, beads, and other jewellery components.
Topaz is a tough gemstone that can be found in some different colours. It can be purchased for a low price and can be obtained in the form of giant crystals. It is one of the minerals with the highest hardness and is formed within igneous rocks. Streams are another common place to look for it. Topaz that has been treated to remove its colour can be used to imitate diamonds. Natural topaz has an ashen yellow hue. Topaz can be found in a wide variety of jewellery, from earrings to pendants.
The gemstone Tourmaline is found in many different hues. Tourmaline is the name for a group of connected minerals, and the value of tourmaline gemstones depends on their colour and size.
Tourmaline is a common gemstone in Maine and California, yet it is readily mistaken for more expensive stones. Although not the most precious stone, it is often used in jewellery because of its wide range of colours and low prices. Tourmaline's paint appears to shift ever-so-slightly depending on your viewing angle. Natural black tourmaline is opaque and glossy, making it stand out.
Tourmalines can be found in various colours, and the colour you see may change based on how the stone is lit or how you hold it. The unique dark, opaque, and glossy appearance of black tourmaline is easily recognisable. Bracelets and necklaces can be made from tourmaline, and huge stones can be sculpted into exciting designs. Tourmaline is found predominantly in the states of California and Maine. Coloured tourmaline is easily mistaken for other gemstones; however, a gemologist can verify your find.
For thousands of years, people have crafted beautiful jewellery, tools, and art out of turquoise. Its striking hue is a critical factor in the product's widespread appeal. Its natural habitat is southwestern. Beads and other small jewellery components can be made from it.
Also, if you do locate some, don't try to clean it with anything besides water because of how porous it is. It's also photosensitive, so keep it out of the light. This is because the colour of rough turquoise is identical to that of polished turquoise.
FAQs About Gemstones
Agate. This precious stone is known for having a surface patterned like marbling and colour that can range from brown to scarlet. Its colour can also vary from stone to stone. Although it can also be found in other colours, such as green, this is the shade most likely to be seen in your backyard.
Different colours, such as green, can also be found in it. It is also the colour that is most commonly seen. The rock known as agate is the kind of rock that is most likely to be discovered in the backyards of individuals living in western regions.
Tools And Methods
If you are fortunate enough, you might find a gemstone lying on the ground, but other stones might require a bit more work to dig out of the Earth. Here are some essential resources that you might find helpful:
- Use a pickaxe to break up hard dirt or chip away at a rock.
- Dig into the ground with a trowel or (just in case) a shovel.
- A sorting device for sifting out the precious stones (commonly used in finding gold). It's possible that you, too, will be the lucky one who discovers a treasure trove of jewels of varying sizes while gardening. A classifier is necessary to separate the tiny gemstone bits from the larger stones and undesired detritus. If you want to avoid losing any little, expensive pieces, sift them above a large container.
- Tweezers. Gems that are difficult to reach with bare fingers can be easily extracted using one.
Where To Look
Gems can be found anywhere on your property, but you must first discover where to look for them. Some of the most familiar locales for finding precious stones are as follows:
Cat's eye, rhodochrosite, and opal are all examples of sedimentary rock jewels. Natural sedimentary rock is formed when organic matter becomes entombed in a porous medium like clay or mud. Minerals and sediments accumulate around decomposing organic materials.
Sedimentary rocks are a common source of gemstones like opal, rhodochrosite, and cat's eye. The organic content is preserved in the mud or clay, hardening into sedimentary rock. Sediments and minerals accumulate around the decomposing organic materials.
Examining metamorphic rocks will yield a plethora of precious stones. Garnet, olivine, staurolite, and topaz are all examples of such jewels. Metamorphism describes the process by which forms change. The innards of mountains are often where you'll find metamorphic rocks. Intense heat and pressure from tectonic plate collisions are what induce metamorphism.
Gemstones abound in metamorphic rocks. Gemstones such as garnet, olivine, staurolite, and topaz are in this category. Metamorphism describes the process by which forms change. The innards of mountains are often where you'll find metamorphic rocks. Intense heat and pressure from tectonic plate collisions are what induce metamorphism.
Gemstones including aquamarine, axinite, peridot, garnet, ruby, and zircon can be mined from igneous rocks, typically found in volcanic locations. The solidification of molten rock into igneous rock occurs when the rock cools and contracts. Magma and lava are two typical examples of such materials.
How Do You Know If You Found A Diamond?
The discovery of actual diamonds is commonly thought to be the result of pure luck; a recent story about a youngster who was 14 years old when he discovered brown diamonds at The Crater Of Diamonds State Park worth 15,000 dollars is a testament to this.
On the other hand, if you also had a sharp eye, that would be helpful because raw, uncut diamonds don't look like the advertised polished jewels. One can use a few different diamond tests if they are unsure whether or not one has discovered diamonds.
Real Diamonds Shimmer
Do natural diamonds retain their lustre when viewed in the dark? Natural diamonds don't dazzle in the dark since they require light for that phenomenon to occur, but they give off a bright glow when the conditions are just right.
Put the rock up against other shiny stones, and if it shines brighter than the others, you should congratulate yourself because you may have found a sparkling diamond.
Rough Diamonds Are Transparent But Not Entirely Translucent
Is it possible to see through an actual diamond? If the item is see-through, you likely picked up the glass by mistake or bought a knockoff instead of the real thing.
A diamond's strength is tested and measured. It is made of materials so strict that only another diamond could scratch its surface.
But, can genuine diamonds break a window pane? Glass can be damaged by a wide variety of more robust materials. Hence the answer is "yes." Remember that you may not have actually found glass, but something that only looks like it, such as quartz.
Drip water over the stone and watch to see whether it runs off the surface. You might be holding a genuine diamond in your hands if it does.
Is the shape of the stone you discovered similar to that of a jelly bean? Rough diamonds are triangular and have rounded corners.
Whatever you've found, if the edges are rough, it's probably not a diamond.
You might associate gemstones with exotic locations or the creation of expert jewellers. Whether viewed from inside or out, your backyard may be transformed into a serene retreat with minimal effort. However, some common gemstones may be hiding in plain sight in your backyard. Who knows what treasures lie just below the surface!