It's Old Rock Day! Play a Gemstone or Classic Rock trivia quiz to celebrate
Since the beginning of times, humans have been attracted to beauty and mystery. They attributed magical properties to rare or precious stones and used them for decorative, protective and even medicinal purposes. Here are a few interesting facts about precious and semi-precious stones:
- Ruby’s red color results from the presence of chromium in it. Rubies can have various shades, from the most expensive rich dark red to cheaper pinkish. The largest ruby in the world belongs to a jewelry company in China. It weighs 8184 g and has the size of 5.11x5.43x5.70 inches.
- Jade stone is very hard; in order to ascertain that a stone is really jade you have to strike it with a hammer and see if it rebounds. If it does, a small window is cut into the jade for experts to estimate the quality and value hiding within. But it is easy to make a mistake. For example, once a Burmese taxi driver purchased a jade stone for $23, and then sold it for $5000 to a dealer. The latter resold the stone at the price of $23,000. Once the largest possible artifact is carved out from a jade stone, the rest is cut into smaller pieces and used for jewelry making or even ground and combined with other ingredients in order to get construction materials that are believed to support a calm and peaceful environment for a home or an office.
- Emerald got its name from a Greek word “smaragdus,” which means green. Usually emeralds used in jewelry are cut into a rectangular shape.
- Another green stone, malachite, got its name from a Greek word “μαλακός” meaning “soft.” This word also served as the derivative basis for the name of the flower Malvaceae, or simply mallow. Malachite is indeed a very soft stone that requires gentle treatment. People of ancient Egypt used malachite to make amulets and jewelry. It was also used as a decorative element in carvings of churches and cathedrals and a pigment for paint in Egyptian tomb paintings and European art of later centuries.
- Opals are most often found in white, but there also are black, fire and crystal opals. The most beautiful quality of opals is their ability to reveal new colors depending on the angle you look at them. And in 2008, NASA discovered opal deposits on Mars! This discovery is truly important, because opals are mostly made of water, which means there may have been lots of water on Mars that supported life!
- Jasper is a semi-precious stone found in all colors from red to green and even to shades of purple and blue. It often has organic material in its structure, as well as mineral oxides. Basically, jasper is mud that got into a gas pocket in liquid lava, became superheated and then petrified. This combination gives jasper its banded patterns that resemble landscapes, hence the well-known nickname “picture.”
- Agates have been known since ancient times because of their hardness and various colors. It was believed that agate can make its wearer friendly and truthful and broaden his/her outlook on life. Agate was also used to prevent storms, to protect the wearer and to cure certain skin diseases, insomnia, allergies and more.
Test you knowledge of fossils, gemstones or classic rock - play our Old Rocks quiz or answer the Classic Rock quiz questions online, earn WisePoints, raise your score and get to the top of the weekly rating!