Diamonds Are Not The Only Rare Rocks You Can Give For Valentine's Day
Scientists have inventoried 2,550 minerals that are rarer than diamonds. Despite their rarity, scientists argue that they are not practical for accessorizing and cosmetic use.
A new study notes that most of the minerals would likely melt, evaporate, dehydrate, or decompose when exposed to sunlight. So what makes these minerals so precious?
"Diamond, ruby, emerald, and other precious gems are found at numerous localities and are sold in commercial quantities, and thus are not rare in the sense used in this contribution," said the authors of a new paper describing the minerals, in a news release. "Uses of the word 'rare' in the context of 'rare earth elements' or 'rare metals' are similarly misleading, as many thousands of tons of these commodities are produced annually."
Furthermore, there is a total of 5,090 minerals discovered by scientists, with only 2,550 being categorized as rare. Fewer than 100 of those minerals make up 99 percent of Earth's crust.
One rare element is ichnusaite, a mineral made of molybdenum and radioactive thorium. There are still about 1,500 minerals still to be found, according to the scientists, and it would not be surprising if jewelers jumped at the opportunity to work with rare minerals.
Some minerals are considered rare because they are developed in places where humans rarely go to, like the slopes of erupting volcanoes, regions of Antarctica, or the deep parts of the ocean.
Fingerite is a rare mineral only found near the summit of the Izalco volcano in El Salvador. They develop under extremely special conditions and dissolve when exposed to rainfall. The Los Angeles Times wrote that the mineral would only be ideal for jewelry if protection from water were guaranteed.
The study noted that, "We live on a planet with remarkable mineralogical diversity, featuring countless variations of color and form, richly varied geochemical niches and captivating compositional and structural complexities."
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