What is a Gem?

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What is a Gem? 
Introductory ideas:
    • Gems have been part of human history for over 20,000 years. 
    • very early gems were generally of organic materials.

    • most gems used today are inorganic minerals.
    • early crystal gems were probably derived from alluvial sources.
    • as found, gems are rather ordinary-looking, unlike cut gemstones:

    • there are many different kinds of gems, and most come in many colors
    • gems can be synthesized
    • gems can be enhanced (and most commonly are)
    • simulants are different from synthetics
    • names: trade or commercial names obscure the true identity of a gemstone or simulant material
In this course we will consider what gems are, the factors that affect their value, where gems form, how gems are identified, why gems are colored, and other important gemology concepts such as simulants, synthetics, gemstone enhancement, and related issues.

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