How Gemstones Were Used

How Gemstones Were Used

Gemstone Usage in History

When it comes to gemstones, it is not unsurprising that there are a lot of odd stories floating around. Some propagate these myths to increase the stone's value, some might stem from old legends, and some might exist just for the sake of having a fun legend to tell.

Garnet

Red garnet is a well-beloved for its beauty. There is no shortage of countries and cultures that found red garnet to be simply gorgeous. However, when it came to usage, ancient Romans fit it into signet rings for sealing wax.

Image of three garnet sterling silver rings

Another peculiar use of garnet was for ammunition. Supposedly, those who resisted British rule in Kashmir decided to lock and load their weapons with garnet, believing it was better than the lead-standard for firearms at the time.

Lapis Lazuli

If you're an artist, you already know where this is headed. In more popular cases, Lapis Lazuli has seen extensive use among artists. This is due to the fact that Lapis's deep blue hue is a much desired color. Lapis Lazuli was hard to come across for many, but turning that fine stone into ultramarine is what made it even less accessible to most artists.

The process to turn Lapis Lazuli into the pigment known as ultramarine was extremely laborious and time-consuming. Thus, very few people had the money to afford it, though legend has it that a few artists even went into debt over their covetous nature when it came to ultramarine.

Set of Six Lapis Lazuli Pendants in Sterling Silver

Since ultramarine cost an arm and a leg, any artist wanted to make sure they got their moneys worth out of it. Thus, projects and paintings that used it often involved holy figures, especially Mother Mary. Ultramarine's rarity persisted for centuries. Only when a synthetic alternative was found in the 1800s did it become readily available for any artist.

Cinnabarite

Ready for more art? If you are an artist, then you can probably guess this one, too. Cinnabarite is another stone used to create a pigment. This time, however, it's vermillion.

Unlike ultramarine, a synthetic vermillion was generally accessible to people. But, like ultramarine, natural vermillion was expensive and costly to make. Despite this, it did persist as a common red pigment for many artists.

Image of a Cinnabarite Collection

Unfortunately, there was another reason as to why people really had to stop working with natural vermillion from cinnabarite. That was because working with it could result in mercury poisoning. 

Diamonds

Diamonds have many uses. Since they are the hardest mineral, they are often used for industrial purposes. Luckily, a lot of these are obviously not nearly as gorgeous as those in rings. Still, a good industry-grade diamond can really cut stuff up.

10k Rose Gold Diamond Ring

There are other uses that people don't generally think of when they hear "diamond." They are often used as heat-sinks due to their high thermal conductivity. This same quality is a reason why diamonds are also used in certain audio devices, along with its rigid structure that can handle vibrations.

 

Crystals and gemstones are nature's true beauties, but they are not a substitute for seeking professional medical, legal, health, or financial advice.  Crystals and gemstones are to be used in conjunction with any professional care you are receiving and do not provide healing, cures, or other remedies modern medicine can provide.  The information provided in our listings with regard to the powers of crystals and gemstones are all derived from personal & professional experience with crystals & gems as well as ancient wisdom and texts documenting knowledge gained from civilizations around the world.  They are not backed by the FDA or scientific/government resources.  Our crystals & gemstones are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or malady.  Our crystals and gemstones are also not a replacement for seeking professional legal advice, financial advising, or any other field of professional expertise.  Crystals and gemstones are intended to be appreciated for their natural power and beauty, and used alongside modern, professional methods.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/57978/57978-h/57978-h.htm#VII

https://www.gia.edu/garnet-history-lore

https://geology.com/minerals/diamond.shtml




Also in Welcome to Our Gem Blog

Best Gemstones for Beginners
Best Gemstones for Beginners

Truthfully, there is no real go-to beginner for some people. They just follow their heart and look into the stones they think call them best. But, for a lot of people, quartz, jasper, amethyst, and others are common choices. 

Read More

Mindfulness & Meditation - For Beginners
Mindfulness & Meditation - For Beginners

Meditation is and has been one of the most common practices in human history. Various cultures and societies have performed meditation in one way or another, though whether or not they called it such is irrelevant.

Read More

Opal's Bad Luck - Dangerous and Beautiful?
Opal's Bad Luck - Dangerous and Beautiful?

Though much of the bad luck myths with opal are modern, as we will see, it turns out that there was a squabble over such a stone in Roman times. One Senator, Nonius, had in possession a fine opal ring, where the stone was supposedly as large as a hazelnut. Marcus Antonius coveted the ring and sought to purchase it from the Senator so he may gift it to Cleopatra. Nonius adamantly refused.

Read More