Nigeria, West Africa is not an exception when it comes to gemstones, the country is richly blessed with one of the world’s most sought after semi-precious and precious stones.
Paraiba tourmalines is the most common type of gemstones found in Nigeria particularly in Oyo state, other states with these deposits include: Benue, Kaduna, Ondo, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun, Bauchi and Plateau States.
There are gemstones that are in small quantities and some that are deposited in large quantity, such that are available in large quantities includes aquamarine, emerald, sapphire, ruby, amethyst, zircon, tourmaline, topaz, garnet and others.
Gemstones are of precious or semi-precious stone, it is a piece of mineral crystal and are of various kinds, colour and grades, examples of gem stones are turquoise, emerald, diamond, labradorite, Kyanite, sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, topaz, garnet, amethyst, ammolite, benitoite, zircon and many more.
There are certain rocks like lapis lazuli that are not minerals like amber but are all considered to be gemstones and can still be used for jewellery.
Gemstones are generally hard and before use especially for jewellery are cut and polished, but no matter what it is used for, gemstones are always admired and valued because of its rare characteristics.
Irrespective of gemstones being found in nature, it can also be produced as synthetic or simulated gemstones.
Synthetic gemstones are alike to the natural stone in all appearances and chemical properties, it is created in controlled conditions in the laboratory but still can’t be regarded as imitation, some of these gems such as emeralds, diamonds, and sapphires have been manufactured in labs to resemble the natural ones by making it to possess similar chemical and physical characteristics.
Simulated gemstones call be called imitationsgemstones, as it is made of resins, plastic and glass, an example of these is cubic zirconia, a diamond simulants which is composed of both simulated moissanite and zirconium oxide, even though the imitation gemstone have the same look and colour like the real stone, it does not possess either their chemical nor physical characteristics.
Gemstones in Nigeria alone can sustain the country for years, but because of the distraction of crude oil, the places with gemstones deposit have been left to be mined illegally and unguided without minding the health and environmental impact of their action.
Uses of Gemstones