Have you run out of ideas what to buy your significant other for Valentine’s Day? Have you considered giving your wife a rare gem? You can never go wrong with that, so have a pick out of the list of all 2,500 known minerals that a pair of scientists has put together.
The authors of the report comprising all the known minerals on Earth are Prof. Jesse Ausubel of The Rockefeller University, New York, and Dr. Robert Hazen, from the Carnegie Institution in Washington DC; their analysis also explains the reason why some of them are so unbelievably rare.
For example, cobaltomenite, a pinkish mineral, can be found in only four places across God’s green Earth: Congo, Argentina, Bolivia, and Utah. But researchers also have an explanation for the extreme rarity of this gem and others tend to be so difficult to find.
The analysis was featured in the American Mineralogist and represents the very first system for classifying rare minerals. Some minerals, such as cobaltomenite, need specific temperatures and pressures in order to start forming, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Other gems require a specific set of elements, and it’s a rare occasion when they are all found in the same place. And even if the formation of others isn’t as complicated, they are often too soft and become degraded by the sun or dissolved in the rain.
Still other minerals are especially difficult to discover because of the remote areas where they form; it’s tough to look for them at the edge of volcanoes or deep below the ocean’s waves.
And there are some gems that combine some of the aforementioned features. Fingerite, for example, has only ever been found in El Salvador, near the summit of Izalco volcano; but at the same time, it also dissolves in the rain and it’s made of a rare combination of elements.
However, researchers are interested in rare minerals not just because they represent a curiosity; they can also give scientists a precious insight in the geology of our planet.
On the other hand, the paper titled “On the Nature and Significance of Rarity in Mineralogy” observes that a lot of the gems we perceive as precious are actually quite commonly found.
In the sense described in the study, emeralds, diamonds, and rubies are not nearly as rare, because they are found in numerous places and are sold in commercial quantities.
Image Source: Jewels And Diamonds