Where Do Our Gemstones Come From?

Do you ever wonder where your gemstones come from? Or how they are made in the first place? Gems are such fascinating objects: Not only do they look beautiful, they can often tell very interesting stories about themselves. Where they’ve come from, how they came to be: They are world travelers, and most of them are older than you can possibly imagine. When you wear a gemstone, you’re wearing a piece of Earth’s history!

At Hamra Jewelers, we’re fascinated by the origins of gemstones. If you wonder how gemstones are formed and where they come from, wonder no longer: We have the answers.

Related: 6 Popular Misconceptions About Diamonds

How Are They Formed?

Most precious gemstones are formed in the Earth’s crust. The crust lies approximately 3 to 25 miles beneath the Earth’s surface. Some stones, like diamonds and peridot, can be found in even deeper regions of the Earth. Most stones are formed in one of three types of rocks, which are:

  • Igneous Rock

  • Sedimentary Rock

  • Metamorphic Rock

Igneous rock is formed by the cooling and crystallization of molten magma. As the magma cools, crystals interact and interlock, occasionally forming gemstones. The type of stones depends on the elements present in the magma, the cooling time, and the environment it takes place in. Usually the slower the cooling time, the larger the gemstone.

Gemstones found in igneous rock include:

  • Garnet

  • Moonstone

  • Apatite

  • Diamond

  • Tanzanite

  • Amethyst

  • Quartz

  • Topaz

  • Tourmaline

  • Zircon

Sedimentary rocks are formed when rock gets worn down and the fragments are carried by water or wind, compressing them together over time. Gemstones that are found in sedimentary rocks include:

  • Jasper

  • Malachite

  • Opal

  • Zircon

The third type of rock, metamorphic rock, is created when intense pressure or underground heat transforms existing rocks. Gemstones that form in metamorphic rock include:

  • Sapphire

  • Lapis Lazuli

  • Turquoise

  • Ruby

  • Emerald

  • Aquamarine

  • Morganite

  • Spinel

How Are They Found?

It’s actually a lot harder to find colored gemstones than it is to find diamonds. Diamonds are much easier to mine in large quantities. Colored stones can’t be pit mined in the way that diamonds are. They tend to be found in much smaller quantities than diamonds and are often scattered farther apart, which makes recovering them a longer and more complicated process.

Where Are They Mined?

Gemstones can be found all over the world. There are certain regions where they can be found in greater numbers, though. What we have is a brief overview of some of the world’s top gem-producing countries. It is by no means a comprehensive list: There are many, many other nations that aren’t listed who also help supply the world with these gorgeous stones.

  • Colombia: Emerald

  • Madagascar: Sapphire, Tourmaline, Tsavorite and Aquamarine

  • Sri Lanka: Ruby, Sapphire, Topaz, Quartz, Peridot, Zircon, Garnet, Alexandrite

  • Myanmar: Ruby, Sapphire, Jade

  • Australia: Opal, Sapphire

  • Tanzania: Tanzanite, Aquamarine, Tsavorite, Ruby, Sapphire, Tourmaline

  • Brazil: Amethyst, Citrine, Topaz, Cat’s Eye, Tourmaline, Aquamarine, Emerald

  • China: Peridot, Sapphire, Turquoise, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Topaz, Tourmaline

  • India: Ruby, Citrine, Emerald, Sapphire, Topaz, Tourmaline, Garnet, Iolite

  • Nepal: Ruby, Sapphire, Tourmaline

  • Russia: Alexandrite, Ruby, Sapphire, Garnet, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Emerald, Citrine, Jade, Lapis Lazuli, Peridot, Topaz, Tourmaline, Zircon

Most gemstones that are mined in these locales eventually end up in either Thailand, India, Hong Kong or Switzerland. They are the four primary trade centers in the colored gemstone industry. If you’ve bought a piece of colored gemstone jewelry over the last few decades, odds are very good that the stone in your piece passed through one of these four regions before ending up in your collection.

Related: 3 Ways New Jewelry Can Boost Your Confidence 

Looking to add a beautiful new gemstone to your jewelry collection? Come visit the showroom at Hamra Jewelers and see all the amazing stones that we have in our collection. For more information, give us a call at 480-946-5110.