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Name: Kayla
Status: Student
Age: 15
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: December 7, 2004


Question:
What is the difference between a gem and a mineral?



Replies:
A mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic solid with a certain structure and chemical composition. Some are considered gems, but most are not. Gems are typically materials, which may be minerals, that people decided are beautiful enough to use in applications like jewelry and often have an increased value because of their aesthetics. Some minerals can be both industrial/economic and gem, such as diamond. Many diamonds cannot be cut into gems, and may be used in industrial processes. There are classifications of gems, such as precious and semi-precious, that you could find out more about in books and on the Internet.

Pat Rowe


There is some overlap in the use of the terms, but strictly speaking a "mineral" is a crystalline substance that has been "mined" -- dug out of the earth. A "gem" is a crystalline substance that has substantial monetary value. A mineral may or may not be a gem. In common usage the terms are often loosely used interchangeably.

Vince Calder



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