Technological and Industrial Gems
When we think of gems and precious stones, our thoughts immediately turn towards lavish jewelry; an extravagant stone worn on an iconic broach, a pair of priceless earrings, or perhaps a luxurious gemstone ring. Today, gems are sought after for their beauty by cultures around the world and some individuals dedicate their lives to gems and the science of gemology. Expensive and famous stones are bought and sold in auction houses scattered across the world, fetching incredible prices; and historical gemstones are put on display in museums and exhibitions for all to see, baring stories of curses, love and betrayal.
As well as being sought after for their beauty, gems have also been used for their healing powers and other metaphysical properties. Many gem varieties are believed to be able to help cure certain diseases and illnesses, and carry positive effects on our health and well-being. Although many regard this as simply an over exemplified superstition, many believers are still using gems today as alternative treatments for health and therapy, and for their powers and effects over both the body and mind.
The importance, usage and admiration of some specific gem types, such as sapphire, diamond or ruby, goes far beyond aesthetic beauty or mythical power. In fact, many of these gems play vital industrial roles and are paramount assets utilized within today's modern technological forefront.
Diamonds are considered a girl's best friend for their immensely treasured beauty, and let's not forget the classic symbolization of modern wealth and success that they burden as well. There are diamond color varieties that are among the rarest and most valuable of gems on earth, and they are also held in extremely high regard throughout certain industries, due to their excellent resilience and incredible hardness.
Diamonds are one of the toughest materials known to man; they have an incredible tolerance to heat and possess a level of durability which makes them seem nearly indestructible. Because of their natural strength, diamonds are perfect for technological use, as well as industrial processes, such as drilling, cutting and even polishing.
In the technological world, diamonds are known to produce extremely accurate rays of light, which makes them ideal for use in high quality laser equipment, and particularly surgical lasers which demand extreme perfection, precision and durability.
Meanwhile, as industrial tools, diamonds are commonly used as drill tips, especially in drills where high level of heat are reached. Other cutting tools, such as high-powered saws and knives, will often have 'diamond teeth', enabling them to cut through the toughest materials, such as slate, stone, granite and even marble. Diamond is so precise, that it is also used to cut glass, and more often than not, diamond is the preferred blade for precision cuts when engraving.
When diamond is crushed into a fine powder or paste, it can be used as a polish, particularly on hard surfaces. and it is not uncommon for diamonds to be used in polishing other gems and highly valued precious stones. Fortunately synthetic diamonds are of a high enough quality to complete many of these tasks, leaving the more exquisite stones to the fashion and beauty industry.
The brilliant blue sapphires of Myanmar and Kashmir are world renown for their stunningly intense and velvety appearance. Through the ages sapphire has been seen as a symbol of sincerity and loyalty, believed to bring their owners great peace and wisdom. In ancient times star sapphire was worn to protect travelers and adventures, even believing it could protect against evil spirits.
Today, synthetic sapphires can be found being used in more practical ways, as a key part in various machines, technologies and industrial processes, including complex circuit boards and high frequency lasers. Sapphire has the ability to form electrical insulations without the risk of overheating, making it perfect for technologies which demand high heat conductivity and low electrical conductivity. Sapphire can be commonly found in circuits used in cell phones, CB radios, and even out towards the stars, used in hi-tech satellite communication systems.
Sapphires are also made into something called as sapphire glass, known for its strength, durability and resistance to scratches. Windows made of sapphire glass can be found in military vehicles or in the visors of body armor and industrial suits. Sapphire glass is also commonly used in high pressured chambers, in the barcode scanners at your local supermarket, and on the faces of more expensive watches.
Rubies have long been a favorite amongst the rich and famous, often fetching extravagant prices at auction and being worn by iconic figures such as Elizabeth Taylor and Jaqueline Kennedy, as well as numerous members of royalty and nobility around the world, and commonly used to celebrate 15th and 40th year wedding anniversaries in Western culture.
In industry, ruby is famous for being used in the first lasers. Ruby continues to be used in lasers today, although as with diamonds, synthetic rubies are now able to do the same job as the more valuable natural ruby. Rubies produce the common red light laser beams which we see in supermarket scanners and laser pointers. Ruby is also incredibly hard and plays a part in the mechanics of certain clocks and machine parts which need a great durability.