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The Formation Of Gemstones & Organic Gems

True and beautiful natural gemstones owe their development to wonderful natural causes of the world, of which there are many varieties; mineral origin found in rocks, in gem gravels from these rocks, or organic gems from plants and animals – all with no intervention or production from man. For natural mineral gemstones to occur, a combination of temperature, pressure, oxygen, chemical elements and time are all needed for their formation. Different environments and processes produce a variety of gemstones with varying chemical structures and crystal structures which produce such diverse attributes of hardness, colours and optical qualities.

Organic gems have been adored for hundreds of years and are from living things such as plants and animals. Amber is an organic gem of hardened and fossilised tree resin from pine trees, typically from hundreds of years ago. Amber can have inclusions such as insects that were trapped inside the resin as it was forming – such inclusions of insects can increase the amber’s worth. Pearls are another divine and organic gem from the produce of molluscs, either fresh water or salt-water. Starting with a foreign body entering and becoming an irritatant to the mollusc, this causes it to protect itself by producing a layer of nacre to coat the foreign body – this ultimately produces the pearl. Other organic gems include coral, shells, ivory, jet and even tortoise shell.

Mineral gemstones are formed from rocks, of which there are three main types: Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic rocks. These processes form the rock cycle as they are all in a constant state of change, as well as interlinking with sub cycles and cross interactions. The varying types of rocks have their own processes which can change a rock or gemstone’s chemical and physical properties. The earth has several layers that were formed 4.5 billion years ago; the crust, which makes up 1% of the Earth’s volume, is from 3 miles to 25 miles deep, the mantle is said to make up 80% of the earth’s volume, and finally the core which has a solid inner and liquid outer layer – all of these layers and processes produce the stunning gemstones that are found.

  • Igneous rocks – the solidification of magma, the magma rises through the cracks of the earth’s crust and dependent on whether or not the magma reaches the surface, ultimately leads to intrusive or extrusive igneous rocks. Intrusive igneous rocks are formed through the cracks of the earth’s crust or volcanic pipes which are able to cool slowly under the earth’s surface giving, with time and perfect environmental factors allow the magma to form large crystals. If the magma erupts onto the earth’s surface it is then deemed as lava and depending on the rate of cooling, the extrusive rocks can produce medium to very small crystals. Igneous rock gemstones include amethyst, citrine, emeralds, aquamarine, garnets, moonstone, diamond, topaz and zircon.
  • Sedimentary rocks – the consolidation of layered sediments, with igneous rocks on the earths surface and due to factors of erosion and weathering can mean that they are broken down into smaller pieces which are then transported by the wind or water and deposited into pockets. Eventually these pockets are built up into layers through continuous cycles of erosion and deposited on top. Eventually with the layers building over time, pressure begins to build up on the bottom layers causing them to become compact, producing chemical and physical changes, altering its state, and producing new rock formations. An example of a sedimentary rock gemstone would be opal or zircon.
  • Metamorphic rocks – these can be either igneous or sedimentary rocks under tremendous heat and pressure. This happens within the earth’s crust, over time or from direct contact with magma, and can result in the change of the crystal structure. This forms new rocks and minerals, producing new gemstones such as Jade, Turquoise, Ruby, and Sapphire.

The time and effort Mother Nature puts in to create these magnificent gems, what better way to show these gemstones off, than by using them in elegant pieces of fine jewellery…

We have access to over 1.5 million different loose diamonds worldwide. Loose diamonds as the term infers means that the diamond is not in a setting.

There are a great many reasons to buy a loose diamond. Some people like to give loose diamonds as a present so that the recipient can build a ring around the diamond. Loose diamonds can like any other diamond be certified or uncertified but we at International prefer to sell certified stones.

One might ask is there anything wrong with an uncertified loose diamond. The answer is sometimes no as the diamond can look on the face of it as good as any other diamond but often the mine will have decided that it is not going to make certain criteria and that these stones will be sold off at a discount. Sometimes an uncertified loose diamond can be available at a very substantial discount so do not rule them out. Most reputable dealers offering loose diamonds will offer to upgrade them to loose diamond later on when the finances improve.

Some people prefer to sacrifice quality for size and the trick is to find a happy medium when buying your loose diamond certified or not.

In the modern world diamonds can be transported quickly and we can get a diamond from most parts of the earth within days! Once a loose diamond has been found we can build a setting to fit around it and this is done by creating a CAD. CADS or Computer aided designs often look unattractive because of their sheer size. Do not let this put you off the designs have to be of scale in order for the cad operator to be able to see them properly.

Good luck with finding your loose diamond. We supply both loose diamonds and the complete ring and are happy to supply either.




People often think that diamond mines must make a fortune from the loose diamonds they mine. They think that the profits from uncut diamonds must be massive. The reality is more different.

Did you know that 85 per cent of the diamonds that are mined are only suitable for Industry. This leaves us with 15 per cent available for the jewellery industry and imagine refining that into colour grades cut grades and clarity and you will have an idea as to how imperfect the average diamond is. It is only the really good quality stones that make it into the top dealers and suppliers and this is a tiny percentage.

Only one diamond in a million is a carat or more. A one carat diamond can often cost 3-5 times the price of a half carat diamond. The average mine costs about 1 billion to identify and a further 1 billion to develop. Some of the stones are up to 5 miles below the earth’s surface.

The young diamonds are 100 million years old and some of the older ones up to 200 million years old-so the next time you see a diamond show some respect! Your diamond will significantly in your new bespoke ring – wouldn’t you, having been in the dark for 100 million years or more!



We thought you might be interested in some of the following facts about diamonds:

  1. It takes approximately 250 tonnes of earth to obtain a 1 carat diamond!
  2. Only 1 diamond in a million is a weighs a carat or more.
  3. 85 per cent of diamonds mined are not suitable to be used in jewellery.
  4. Only a diamond can scratch or polish another diamond.
  5. Most diamonds are over three billion years old-some of the youngsters are 100 million years old!
  6. Most diamonds are formed more than 100 miles beneath the earth’s surface.
  7. At one time diamond colours were referred to only as A and B. As cutting equipment got better and it became easier to grade diamonds the range was expanded. In order to avoid any confusion with the old scale colours were started with D being the best are running all the way to Z.

We hope you enjoy some of these facts!