International Gem Society
Dedicated to bringing quality information and educational services to everyone interested in gemstones.
French, German, Italian, Portugese and Spanish speakers click here.
Most Abundant Elements* |
Least Abundant Elements*
*Figures are a percentage
of the earth by weight.
The X Factor
... The science of geology has taught us much about how gems are created. It also explains why some gems are more common than others.
by Don Clark CSM
... Quartz is composed of silicon and oxygen, SiO2. Silicon and oxygen compose 74% of earth. So, you can see why quartz is one of our most common minerals.
... On the other hand, Spodumene is silicon and oxygen, with the addition of lithium and aluminum LiAl(SiO2). Lithium and aluminum are much less common, with aluminum only composing 8% of the earth by weight and lithium just a tiny 1/100%
... Kunzite, pink spodumene, needs the addition of manganese to achieve its color. Manganese is also exceptionally rare, being only .095% of the earth.
... Corundum consists of aluminum and oxygen, Al2O3. These are common elements and corundum itself is quite common. The emery on your sandpaper or nail file is corundum. However, it takes the addition of chromium to make a ruby. Chromium is one of the rarest elements in the earth.
... The least common of the elements is beryllium, a primary ingredient in beryl. Needless to say, beryl is quite rare. However, to make a beryl an emerald takes the addition of chromium, another extremely rare element.
Return to the Index