Talc: the Softest Known Mineral

Talc Mineral
Talc is the softest mineral on earth

Most of us are introduced to the mineral talc through ‘talcum powder’. This powder is the crushed form of talc, which is used to absorb moisture, oil, and odor. It also has contraction effects on the human skin. Due to all these properties, talcum powder has become an important constituent of baby powders, first aid powders, and a range of other cosmetic products.

However, talc is not just limited to making talcum powder and other cosmetic products. There are many other uses of this mineral, which will be discussed in this article.

Talc: a composition of magnesium and silicon

Talc is made of two different minerals with water trapped in their structure. Chemically, talc is called magnesium silicate hydroxide. Usually, talc remains close to this composition, however, sometimes minor amounts of iron, aluminum, calcium, and manganese can be part of talc in place of magnesium. If large amounts of iron substitute magnesium, then talc is transformed into another mineral called minnesotaite, and if this substitute is aluminum then the transformed mineral is called pyrophyllite.

Naturally occurring talc is usually found colorless with a pearly sheen. Talc with green, gray, and brown tinges are also mined. It is one of the softest minerals known and has been given a hardness measure of 1 on the Mohs Hardness scale.

Why talc is soft?

Other minerals such as limestone can also take the shape of powder, but their touch is not as soft as talc. Indeed there is no other mineral in its amorphous form that can replicate the texture of talc. The softness of talc is credited to its physical and chemical properties. Talc is composed of sheet structures with perfect bond cleavages and very weak bond forces between the sheets. Due to these structural traits, talc sheets can easily slip on one another. This characteristic of talc gives it extreme softness.

How talc is formed beneath the Earth

Talc is usually found in metamorphic rocks. Two geological processes form talc in the earth’s crust.

  • When water carrying the deposits of magnesium and silicon reacts with dolomite stones under extreme temperatures
  • When igneous rocks such as serpentinite and dunite undergo alteration due to high temperature in the presence of chemically reactive fluids

The mining of talc

Drilling, blasting, and crushing of the rocks usually highlight the mining process of talc. Extraction of higher-grade ores of talc is carried out through selective mining. To avoid the mixing of other rock minerals in talc, the mining process is done with great care. The contamination of talc can change its color and most importantly, the level of softness for which it is required in many industries.

Crushed rocks from mines are further reduced to particle size and then treated to remove impurities. Froth floatation is usually used to extract the purest form of talc from its ore.

Apart from the cosmetic industry, there is a range of uses of talc in different manufacturing processes due to its different properties.

Talc in ceramic products

Talc is widely used in the making of different ceramic products such as tiles, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, dinnerware, and other pottery items. Due to its high-temperature resistance, it is used as a filler in ceramic, which enhances the firing ability of greenware (unfired pottery) resulting in durable quality products.

Talc in the plastic industry

Many polymer products such as polypropylene, polyethylene, nylon, and polyester get their stiffness reinforced with the inclusion of talc particles. The addition of talc in plastic products also reduces their temperature vulnerability.

There is another reason why plastic industries prefer talc over other mineral fillers. During the process of extrusion, talc’s very low hardness produces less equipment abrasion as compared to other harder mineral fillers.

Talc in the making of paper

Talc is also used in paper production. As we know paper is made from different organic pulps, which are then mixed with talc fillers. The presence of talc in the mixture provides paper with the following characteristics.

  • Smoother surface
  • Increased opacity and whiteness
  • Improves ink absorption

Talc is also used in roofing material to increase its weather-resistant quality. The paint industry also uses talc to improve the suspension of liquid paint.


Blue Flames and Acid Lake: A Geological Marvel Around Indonesia’s Kawah Ijen Volcano

Kawah Ijen,volcano, Indonesia
A geological marvel of blue sulfur gases at the  Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia

The volcano of Kawah Ijen, situated on the island of Java, is known for two distinctive geological phenomena. It is a shallow volcanic crater emitting hot and combustible sulfurous gases. These gases burst into electric blue flames when they enter Earth’s atmosphere due to the abundance of oxygen. A portion of the emitting gases also gets condensed in the atmosphere to take the shape of molten sulfur. The blue ambiance created by burning sulfur produces a striking view, especially at night.

The second geological phenomenon is a one-kilometer wide caldera lake of turquoise blue water. This unusual color of the water is due to high acidity and high concentration of dissolved metals in the reservoir.

This caldera reservoir is the most acidic lake with a measured pH of as low as 0.3. These high levels of acidity are caused due to the fact that hydrothermal waters inflowing in the lake is charged with gases from a hot magma chamber.

History of the Volcano

According to geological findings, volcanic activity in the area began 300,000 years ago with the buildup of a humongous stratovolcano which is now known as Old Ijen. A stratovolcano is a high, conical buildup of layers of hardened lava and volcanic ash. The volcano grew to the height of about 1000 feet over thousands of years with repeated eruptions.

The caldera lake was formed about 50,000 years ago with a cascade of intense volcanic eruption. During the last 50000 years, many small stratovolcanoes within this Caldera including Kawah Ijen have been formed. Kawah Ijen is located in the eastern part of the Caldera.

The volcano is still active but hasn’t experienced magmatic eruptions since 1817. However phreatic eruptions have been happening till today. The last phreatic activity occurred as recently as 2011.

Lake Also Produces Sulfur Deposits

The opening of the volcano at the lake-side produces a continuous stream of sulfur enriched gases. These gases usually flow underground in the absence of oxygen. If the gas is hot enough at the time of eruption, then sulfur will ignite into blue flames, but usually, the temperature of the mixture is not that high, which results in the condensation of molten sulfur when it comes out on the surface. This molten sulfur then travels a short distance before ending up in solidified form.  Local people collect those deposits of sulfur and sell them to a local sugar refinery.

Kawah Ijen Volcano: One of the Few Sites of Artisanal Mining in the World

Most of the sulfur produced around the world is the byproduct of natural gas processing and oil refining. This site is one of the few ones where sulfur was mined, even though the process is a dangerous one. Miners have to walk up to the top of the mountain and then descend down the dangerously steep and rocky paths of the crater. They use metal objects; usually steel bars to break solidified sulfur from the outcrops. They fill up their baskets with soft sulfur rocks travel back to the sugar refinery. Miners are paid according to the weight of the sulfur.

Recently, miners have installed numerous pipes along the mountain. This network of pipes is created to collect the sulfur-laden gases from various vents and openings of the volcano and direct them to those areas from where gathering sulfur deposits is easy. This development has made the process of collection more efficient and less harmful for the miners.  

Kawah Ijen Volcano: A Tourist Site

Many adventurous people have made this place a tourist site. The area around possesses a beautiful landscape with fauna that can only flourish in these highlands. With an elevation of more than 2,000 meters, atmospheric temperature around the volcano is usually low. The fusion of different air temperatures — cold ambient air merging with the heat escaping from the volcanic openings, creates a very peculiar sensation that can’t be felt anywhere else.

A moderate 3-km track, which traverses through Casuarinas forest, leads up to the volcanic rim. From here the journey gets arduous with 2 km more of a relatively steep trail and ends up giving you a breathtaking panoramic view of Ijen Caldera. A slightly pungent smell of sulfur fumes rising from the acid lake will welcome you. For safety purposes, it is better to wear a gas mask.


Infinity stones: Gemstones of Marvel’s Fantasy Universe

We humans have been fascinated by the gemstones since time immemorial. From millennia, before branching into different civilizations, we had become fond of the rare stones that look different from the regular ones.

This obsession with gems doesn’t stop here and we have incorporated them into literature and art well. From the fantasy world of Star Wars to the universe of Marvel comics, ‘gemstones’ have important part in the story lines. In this article, we will try to look how Marvel Comic strips incorporate the fascination of gemstones on its vast canvas of stories.

The six infinity stones of Marvel Universe

Many of us have heard a about infinity stones in the marvel cinematic universe. But before that they were called soul gems. All of these fantasy gems, in their color and texture, resemble the real-world gems.

There were total infinity or soul gems in Marvel’s universe and according to the present day timeline all of them are in different places. However, history of this universe tells us that these infinity gems possess infinite and unparalleled powers and that is why they even become the bone of contention among different powerful entities of the universe.

The power of infinity stones can be gauged by two different anecdotes from the comic strip:

  • Thanos, one of the super villains of Marvel Universe tired to use all the six gems in unison to destroy the stars but Avengers stopped him from using the power of infinity gems.
  • Elders of the universe, the oldest and survivor of their respective species used the combined energy of the stones to energize the barren planets.

Let’s look into the qualities and capabilities of each stone that has been important part of Marvel universe since the beginning.

Space gem (Tesseract)

The purple soul stone inspired by the color of real earth gem of amethyst is famous for its teleportation capabilities. Its blue rays are teleporting objects from one place of the other throughout the universe. It is also able to interfere in the movement of moving objects. Another use of space gem apparently is being used as a part of advanced weapon systems.

You can see this stone in the movie Captain America being used by Red Skull and in The Avengers by Loki.

Reality gem (Aether)

This gem yellow in its color is used to alter the reality, logic and bend the law of physics. The stone has a range of different wonders that are differs in their scale. The stone can be used to resurrect the dead. It can be used to distort and change the reality around any individual.

If used with more power, it can used to create the whole new desired reality. Its power gets exponentially high when it is used with other infinity stones and then it can alter the reality on a universal level. It is inspired by citrine and yellow sapphire.

Mind gem

It was lastly seen in the hands of Loki. This blue stone sapphire-like gem has infinite psychic abilities like telepathy, empathy and moving physical objects with the sheer mind power. When used with other infinity stones, it can connect the user’s mind with all the other minds of the universe in the same moment of time.

Power gem

Seen as the reddish ruby-like stone in the comic stripes, this infinity stone can grant all the power to its possessor that has ever exist or will exist in the universe. It increases the strength and stamina of any human to superman levels. The stone also helps other stones to produce their own powers and energy.

Soul gem

As the name suggests, it can be used to observe, attack or control the soul of any living being. It also protects the user with external magic attacks on his soul. Soul stone can also be used to revert back the mutated beings to their natural state. Soul gem resembles the real word emerald.

Time gem

Resembles with garnet or coral, this infinity stone is capable of playing with time as a physical object. It can stop, slow, speed up the time flow. Wielder of this stone can time travel and can see through the past and future. It can also used to alter the aging process.

The popularity of Marvel’s comic has a significant contribution from these fictional infinity stones and all them are inspired by one or the other real gems.

Mining History of Diamonds

Sunrise open-pit Australia
Sunrise open-pit Australia

Diamonds have always possessed a treasured place in the human conscious. The history of diamonds stretches back to the pre-BC era. It has been mentioned in ancient Sanskrit and Greek literature and reference can be found in even earlier scripts. To this day, diamonds continue to set the human fancy on fire.  

For the most part of the history, diamonds remained a rare stone and the mining process has always been tedious. It begins some 100 miles underground where heat and pressure crystallize carbon into rough diamonds (diamonds that haven’t gone through the polished cut, faceted process, also called natural diamonds). These diamonds reside in kimberlite rocks via kimberlite pipes – vertical structures that contain the kimberlite rocks. Volcanic eruptions, which has occurred millions of years ago brought up these rocks much closer to the earth’s service. 

Bucket Wheel-Excavator open pit-mining

To extract these rocks from the kimberlite pipes, a process called open pit-mining is used, which is a surface mining technique that removes material from an open pit or borrow, with respect to tunneling into the earth, such as longwall mining. Aside from diamond excavation, open-pit mines are also popular for removal of construction material and these mines are commonly known as quarries.

Heavy machinery and hydraulic shovels are required for kimberlite extraction from these open pits and the process of facet checking, cutting, smoothing and polishing begins.

When Did it All Start?

In the early years, wealthy people who can afford everything expensive couldn’t get their hands on diamonds because the stone was so short in supply. However, things changed after 1300 AD when it began to be used as an ornamental stone in medieval Europe.

The real transition, AKA ‘the diamond rush’ occurred in the 19th century, when diamond mines were discovered in different parts of Africa. The gemstone once so rare became available for elites as they were still considered precious and very expensive.

So here we will discuss how the mining of diamonds in different parts of the world has taken its shape from previous millennium to contemporary times.  

India: The earliest diamond producer

India was considered to be the place where mining and trading of diamonds started in the 4th century BC. At that time there was no mass scale mining and usually, diamonds were retrieved from rivers, streams and other sedimentary rock formations.  

The demand of those Indian diamonds increased in 13 AD when they were introduced in markets of medieval Europe by trade caravans of the time, who were mesmerizing Western Europe with exotic Indian commodities.

Brazil succeeds India

Due to the increased utilization of diamonds by the elites of Europe during the rise of the colonial era, the Indian supply of diamonds began to deplete during the early 16th century. By the same time, Brazil appeared as the major supplier of diamonds along with its already rich resources of gold.  

18th century: Africa takes the reins

The dynamics of diamond mining and trade witnessed dynamic changes in the 18th century, when mines were discovered in Africa, including mines in Kimberley and South Africa, the annual production of diamonds increased exponentially in the following years. In the 1870s, the annual yield of diamonds was well under a million carats, but in 50 years, this production reached the mark of 50 million carats. Almost 90% of those mined rough diamonds were coming out of the mines in Africa.

World Mining Map
World Mining Map. Pink box represents diamond mines.

Through the first half of 20th century, South Africa and The Republic of Congo (then Zaire) were responsible for more than 90% supply of diamonds in the world. In the latter half of the century, the Soviet Union also became a big player in the diamond market. The year 1982 became a fortunate year for Botswana, as they became the third largest contributors to the world’s diamond supply, with newly discovered mines. Additionally, mines in Australia and Northern Canada were discovered; thus, making this once fairly unknown mineral a world commodity.  

The Ugly side of diamond mining and trade

Sierra Leone Miners
Sierra Leone Miners

The symbol of love, luxury and passion can also transform into the manifestation of blood and gore due to the shortcomings of human greed.

In recent decades, the presence of diamond mines in underdeveloped countries in Africa, such as The Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Angola, and Liberia have become the reason for civil wars and unrest. Warlords and guerrilla leaders used rough diamonds to finance their rebel movements and to feed their militias, and miners often work in terrible conditions. The diamonds that serve this purpose are called ‘blood diamonds’ or ‘conflict diamonds’. 

Angola was a primary source of the illegal diamond trade and was responsible for 20% of the total world production in the 1980s. In order to get a handle on the illegal diamond trade, the UN-appointed Canadian ambassador Robert Fowler to investigate it and in 2000, he produced the Fowler Report, which mentioned the countries involved.

Present status of diamond mining

Apart from some pockets of trouble in those countries mentioned, the supply of the diamond is stable and in safe hands. According to the forecasted figures of 2017, around 142 million carats of diamonds worth $15.6 billion will be mined worldwide. This production volume would be 11% more than the previous year. It is interesting to note that even with these huge volumes of diamond mining as compared to the 19th or 20th century, only 10 mines in the whole world are producing around 60% of global supply of these precious stones.

The largest mine is located in Botswana with the name of Jwaneng, which independently produces 15% value of the world’s diamonds.

No matter how technology-savvy we become, with each passing generation, it may be in our human DNA that we still get spell bounded by the beauty and delicacy of this gem. It seems as if we are far from getting over this obsession. Moreover, this slogan might be true after all that ‘A diamond is forever’.

Rose Quartz – The Love Stone

Rose Quartz Crystal
Rose Quartz

Rose quartz was discovered in Mesopotamia back in 7000 BC in the form of beads. Assyrians used to create jewelry out of rose quartz somewhere around 700BC. Romans and Assyrians might be among the first ones to use the rose quartz.

People in ancient times held the belief that quartz naturally posses magical powers. Romans, Greeks and ancient Egyptians used rose quartz as protective talisman. Women used to posses the stone, as they believed it stopped aging. Rose quartz represented fifth wedding anniversary, holding the idea that the love is still young and growing.

Rose quartz is the name given to the delicate looking pink colored mineral quartz. It is known to be found abundantly in the areas where magma has cooled down and pegmatite is formed. The pink shade of rose quartz is credited to microscopic addition of a pink mixture of the mineral dumortierite. These inclusions are normally enough to give a translucent appearance to rose quartz, rather than making it entirely transparent. Very rarely, it happens those rose quartz are transparent in the form of pink euhedral crystals. These are normally formed in the later stages of mineralization in pegmatite.

Physical properties

Rose quartz or pink quartz belongs to the family of quartz. It is more of a mineral than a gemstone. It belongs to the hexagonal crystal system. It is chemically composed of (SiO2) Silicon Dioxide, and possesses titanium and iron impurities in it. With the hardness level of 7, it comes in colors ranging from pale pink to the deepest lavender shade. It is commonly found in Brazil, Madagascar, India, and South Africa. In fact, rose quartz is commonly found almost everywhere.


Factors of quality

Color: Rose quartz is known for its light pink color that ranges till medium pink.

Clarity: – The smoky, translucent appearance of rose quartz is because of the mineral impurities in the stone.

Cut: They are not faceted, they have irregular shape and when cut, they give the appearance of asterism pattern.

Carat: Rose quartz is available in large, suitable for making jewelry out of it. The larger sizes of rose quartz give out more intense shade of pink.


Healing Properties of Rose Quartz

It is associated with the heart chakra and it is the birthstone of Taurus and Libra. Rose Quartz represents unconditional love, and is known to be an important stone to open one’s heart to compassion and love. It induces love for family, love for one’s self and a sense of peace. Even though rose quartz has the vibration frequency of 7, it still has more of a soothing and relaxing effect.

Rose Quartz opens the heart to generosity toward others and also towards one’s self. It aids in dealing with guilt and harmonizes the emotional imbalances. It has an effect that lowers stress and instills a sense of serenity. It wipes off jealousy, envy and malice from the heart and helps in controlling anger.  



Gold Currency: How History is Backed by Modern Day Rationale

Gold Bars Stacked Up in a PyramidGeologists suggest that gold has always been the most sought-after element to be mined, as compared to other metals and minerals. This indicates that the preciousness of this mineral was recognized since the beginning of human existence, which eventually resulted in gold becoming a premium currency.

From the Beginning to 2024

There is no doubt that gold has increased in value substantially. Records going back to just 1973 up to today visually depict this.

In this article, we will follow the historical track of gold being used as a currency. We will also provide you with a modern rationale as to why gold has become the most suitable element for the backing of paper currency.

Historical Traces of Gold Being Used as Currency

In 300 BC, the ancient Egyptians began using gold as a commodity. Before that, trading goods, such as food and clothing was the preferred method of exchange.

In 50 BC, ancient Romans issued the first gold coin, which used the element as currency, replacing the barter system. After that, gold was used by different kingdoms and civilizations around the world. In 1284 AD, gold currency was issued in different major European countries.

In 1792 AD, the United States adopted the silver-gold standard monetary system. This system established the value of the dollar concerning the amount of gold and silver available.

Four Chemical Qualifications for an Element to Become Suitable as Currency

Four chemical characteristics should be possessed by an element to stand as an option for currency. It will be interesting to see how gold has constantly been favored as currency, because it meets all of those four chemical qualities, while others fail to do so.

Should Have a Definite Shape

Many elements naturally occur in the gaseous and liquid state of matter. Their indefinite shape and volume make them unfeasible to be exchanged as currency, which means that plenty of elements become unfit for the purpose due to their criteria alone.

Should Not be Reactive and Corrosive

Many elemental metals are knocked out due to this criterion. Most of them are reactive as well as prone to corrosion. For instance, lithium ignites when it is exposed to the external environment. Iron and copper are subject to severe corrosion. 38 elements become ineligible to be used as currency due to these characteristics.

Gold, on the other hand, doesn’t corrode and it is way less reactive to other elements or nature.

Can’t be Radioactive

To be used as currency, elements possessing radioactive characteristics can’t be selected. There are two major reasons for this.

  • Radioactive elements radiate away, which means they lose their mass with time. They can’t be retained in their actual form if placed openly.
  • Radiations emitted by these elements are harmful to human life.

There is no way that something that depreciates so fast, or something that can harm people can ever be used as currency, irrespective of their value. Plutonium, for instance, is very expensive but equally dangerous. Two rows of the periodic table get out of the currency race because they are radioactive.


We are left with nearly 30 elements that pass the above three measures. These 30 elements are stable enough to represent money. However, almost all of them except three fail to meet the fourth qualification of being rare.

An element needs to be rare so that it can be valued as currency, otherwise, everyone would have it, and valuing currency would become impossible.

So which three elements are left in the end? Silver, platinum, and gold!

  • Silver has been used as currency but it couldn’t sustain its position for long because it tarnishes easily
  • Platinum on the other hand has a melting point of 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. It can’t be melted in traditional furnaces which were used by ancient civilizations to make coins.

As you can see, we are eventually left with only one element which is the most suitable among all the 115 known elements.

Apart from these chemical properties, some other characteristics of gold made it popular throughout history as currency.

  • It can easily be tested for its purity anywhere in the world without much hassle.
  • The production of gold throughout history has remained stable. This means gold has succeeded in remaining available while maintaining its status of being rare.
  • Unlike other valuable items like oil and diamonds, gold only comes in one grade which makes it convenient to use as currency.
  • Gold doesn’t have industrial and commercial uses like other metals and minerals which makes it suitable to be used as currency.
Graph of gold on the rise
Expect gold to rise during unexpected world events

Where is the World’s Gold Kept?

You may be surprised that the largest volume of gold is not kept at Fort Knox, although this facility does contain quite a lot of it. The location where the largest amount of gold is stored is at the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan, NYC, and is considered one of the most secure buildings in the world. The United States owns 2% to 5% and the rest by other countries around the world.

Photo of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY
Federal Reserve Bank of NY

International trading is done here, as gold is moved around the vault continuously. The barter process is as follows: Canada is buying something from Germany for a certain price. To complete the transaction, that agreed-upon amount of gold is physically moved from Canadian ownership to German ownership. No human touches these precious stones. They are moved around by robots. Of course, this example is simplified, but you get the picture.


Gold is a primary commodity in the trade market. The prices fluctuate a few dollars each day but remain stable. In the event of a world incident, such as a war, gold may skyrocket to new heights or the opposite may occur, should the dollar gain substantial new strength, but when instability occurs, you can count on the mineral gold to strengthen in price. Gold remains to be the strongest and healthiest commodity for trading and safe keeping. Many people buy gold as a buffer, should a world event occur that may threaten the global economy.

Formation of Gemstones

Valuable gemstones are extracted from the earth’s core and include mineral rocks, diamonds and stones in a variety of colors;, for example, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. While the diamond is still the world’s most precious and well-sought after stone among all, we can see a rise in demand for various other gemstones as well. Not that they were not valued any time before, but in recent times, people have shifted their interests towards gemstones other than diamond, and in fact, most of the engagement and wedding rings now hold a semi precious gemstone in center.  However, just as their demand and value has been on the rise, so is the need to authenticate their originality.

Almost all gemstones are found in the crust of earth. However, there are two which are found deep below in earth’s mantle: Peridot and diamond. There are kimberlitic pipes below the earth which is the main passage for diamonds to surface up. Through these pipes, molten magma flows and as it reaches the surface, it collects foreign rocks known as xenoliths on its passage. Diamond is one of the rocks, which are assimilated on the way and brought up the surface through volcanic eruptions.

Igneous rocks

Igneous rocks are those that are formed when the molten magma beneath the earth cools down and starts to crystallize. Igneous rocks include two further types further: intrusive, which are formed beneath the surface when the magma cools down, and extrusive, which are formed when lava cools down above the surface of earth.

At the time of cooling, there are many minerals present which starts to combine and form a crystallized structure. This is how gemstones are formed. Environment, cooling time, pressure, temperature – all these factors play an important role in forming each of the gemstone. Larger gemstones will be formed if the cooling process is slower. Diamonds, spinel, Peridot, quartz, moonstone, topaz, tourmaline, zircon, citrine, and amethyst – these all are the most common types of igneous rocks.

Sedimentary cycle

Sedimentary cycle is the second most important process in the rock formation. Rocks formed through this cycle are not actually formed, but rather found. Due to the process of weathering over the time, many rocks are washed down with rain, wind and river and deposited into the sea or riverbanks. There, they keep accumulating along with other organic and inorganic material mixing into it, such as plants, mud, shells. As the time passes, these mixtures are compressed and compacted to form hard rocks. Most of the time, those rocks will be found in sedimentary rocks that have been originally weathered from their parent rocks, which then can be igneous or metamorphic in nature. Common rock minerals found in these sedimentary deposits include Beryl, Opal, Turquoise, Malachite, Azurite, Chrysoprase, Chrysocolla.

Third source of gemstones are the metamorphic rocks. As the name suggests, these rocks are formed when already existing rocks goes through a change process due to pressure changes or changes in temperature. The process is called recrystallization, since during this process, molecular structure of these rocks is broken down and restructured, forming a completely new rock, with same basic composition but different structure. Some of the common metamorphic rocks are garnet, tanzanite, sapphire, ruby, kyanite and emerald.

Pearls of Healing – Do Pearls Have Any Health Benefits?

Pearls are associated with elegance and sophistication. Throughout centuries, they have had an important position with different cultures, and are the only gemstones made by living animals! Cleopatra famously dissolved pearls into her drinks and drank them.

These gorgeous, delicate beads are used for creating stunning necklaces, rings and bracelets. These beautiful gemstones also come in different sizes and colors! For example, if the inside shell of the oyster is purple, the color of the stone will also be purple. Some of the other are white, gold, purple and even black!

Do Pearls Have Health Benefits?

Some people believe that pearls have calming effects and healing properties. But there hasn’t been proof of that. Regardless, pearls are very popular as they are associated with elegance and beauty.

Howard Fensterman, an expert in minerals, says that pearls are simple and have been used throughout the centuries because of their minimalistic and pleasant look. They’re great for gifting to loved ones and even as an anniversary gift if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly present.

Where Do Pearls Come From?

Mr.  Fensterman also says that, “People often don’t know where pearls come from. They know that they come from the sea, but some believe that they come from clams; however, clams are rather small and cannot produce these gems.”

He explained the process of collecting pearls. Some pearl farmers insert mussel seeds into oysters to create the gemstones.

After the pearls are extracted, the oysters are sent back into the water so they can create more pearls.

Howard Fensterman also highlighted that no damage is done to the oysters and caution is taken when extracting the mineral or inserting mussel seeds.

Pearls—The Perfect Gemstone Collection!

While pearls don’t have any healing properties or health benefits, one thing is certain: they make an excellent collection. You can use them in decoration pieces or just simply create a nice, simple dress by adding pearls.

A few decades ago, women often wore pearls in their hats. People even decorate their wedding bouquet with these precious, timeless jewels! There are various ways to get creative with pearls. Today, you can find online projects detailing creative ways to use pearls in decoration, jewelry and even clothing!

If you want to learn more about these gorgeous gemstones and other minerals, follow Howard Fensterman Minerals, a renowned expert in minerals and discover a world of glittering, fabulous marvels!

Gemstones and Their Significance in Ancient History


Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash

Known for its purple hues, amethyst is believed to be a stone that can cure the drunkenness of whoever owns it. Amethyst has been used by ancient Egyptians and Greeks to engrave their goblets with it, as it was perceived to be a cure for intoxication. The deep purple color, which occurs because of irradiation, represents royalty.

Amethyst is thought to have its roots in Rome, however, in reality, it originates from ancient Egypt where it was used in the crowns and bracelets worn by the goddesses. In Buddhist culture, prayer beads are made with amethyst as it holds a sacred status there. Amethysts were once thought to be among the most precious gemstones until large reserves of them were discovered in Brazil.


Malachite Gemstone

Malachite has been used in making pigments throughout the history. Ancient Egyptians thought of it to protect from evil spirits and black magic. The green color represents growth and fertility. It was commonly found in the headdresses of the pharaohs to bring condition their prophetic visions.


Set of realistic green emeralds with rectangle cuts isolated on white background.
Photo: iStock

Famously known as the gemstone adored by Queen Cleopatra, the earliest occurrence of emeralds can be traced back to Egypt where they were found near the Red Sea. Not just in Egyptian history, but also in Iranian, catholic, and Islamic culture, emeralds have been a status symbol. In ancient Hindu scriptures, it is referred to as the stone that brings light and luck.  

Red Jasper

Photo of a red jasper stone
Natural red jasper gemstone. iStock

This stone is known to possess astral properties and it was believed to help the dead have safe passage from here to the afterlife. It was often called the bloodstone due to its red color which represents fertility and the blood of Mother Earth. It was used to make amulets and breastplates. It was believed to protect against evil and enforce endurance, which is why it was engraved in the handle of a sword belonging to the Viking king.

Lapis Lazuli

This stone holds both mystical and cosmic importance. In ancient times, it was used by royals for its majestic looks. Priests used it because of the belief that it holds water elements to purify one from the negative influences of the lower self. It was seen as the symbol of power, mystery, and respect. The presence of gold flakes in the gem is perceived to add a touch of wealth, royalty, and wisdom.


The gem was first found in the tomb of Queen Zar, dating back to the second ruler of Egypt. It was engraved in a bracelet. Egypt is often called the “land of turquoise” because the gemstone is found abundantly over there.


Because of its fiery red-orange color, it is also known as the stone of fire. Associated with the sun god, Ra was believed to ward off evil spirits and bad dreams.