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Gemstone Colors and Transition Metals

Colors of Gemstones

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Gemstones are minerals that can be polished or cut for use as an ornament or jewelry. The color of a gemstone comes from the presence of trace amounts of transition metals. Take a look at the colors of common gemstones and the metals responsible for their color.

Amethyst

Amethyst
Jon Zander
Amethyst is a colored form of quartz that gets its purple color from the presence of iron.

Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a translucent pale blue or turquoise variety of beryl.
Wela49, Wikipedia Commons
Aquamarine is a blue variety of the mineral beryl. The pale blue color comes from iron.

Emerald

Colombian emerald crystals.
Productos Digitales Moviles
Emerald is another form of beryl, this time in a green color due to the presence of both iron and titanium.

Garnet

This is a faceted garnet.
Wela49, Wikipedia Commons
Garnet gets its deep red color from iron.

Peridot

Gemstone-quality olivine (chrysolite) is called peridot.
S Kitahashi, wikipedia.org
Peridot is the gemstone form of olivine, a mineral formed in volcanoes. The yellow-green color comes from iron.

Ruby

1.41-carat faceted oval ruby.
Brian Kell
Ruby is the name given to gemstone-quality corundum that is pink to red in color. The color comes from the presence of chromium.

Sapphire

Star Sapphire
Lestatdelc, Wikipedia Commons
Corundum is any color besides red is called sapphire. Blue sapphires are colored by iron and titanium.

Spinel

Spinels are a class of minerals that crystallize in the cubic system.
S. Kitahashi
Spinel most often appears as colorless, red or black gem. Any of several elements may contribute to their color.

Turquoise

Turquoise pebble that has been smoothed by tumbling.
Adrian Pingstone
Turquoise is an opaque mineral that gets its blue to green color from copper.
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