From time immemorial, precious stones have been the favoured muse of distinguished authors. The emerald in particular is found referenced in ancient biblical scriptures, in the prolific writings of Pliny the Elder, and generously peppered throughout Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays.
Sapphires are considered precious gemstones, along with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. This is not surprising, considering the amazing range of colours these gems can show, as well as being the third hardest mineral on the Mohs scale.
What is an optical phenomenon? Plainly put, this term embodies the result of the way light interacts with the crystalline structure, inclusions, and/or internal structure of a gemstone. It is, in essence, the reflection, diffraction, absorption, and/or diffusion of that light. Without even knowing, we encounter these phenomena on a daily basis, whether in opal, moonstone, alexandrite, or cat’s eye chrysoberyl—that said, one should be careful not to confuse optical property, such as dispersion in a diamond, with optical phenomena.
Field gemmology and travelling to mines directly is a great learning opportunity: you can see the sites and the people you want to work with, observe the conditions, build relationships and contacts, and meet amazing individuals with infinite stories they can share with you over a good drink.
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