S12E03: Gemstones and Minerals

We’re joined by the brilliant jewellery conservator Bill Hawkes for a dazzling episode about the history of gems, the usefulness of pretty stones, and the intriguing secrets of the jewellery industry. Also tune in for an interview with geological conservator Kate Andrew about the hidden dangers of rock samples and why you should never bin an old label!

01:43 What are minerals?
03:00 Uses of gemstones – light, fading, and lasers!
06:14 Famous diamonds and their history
10:38 Cutting gemstones now and in the past
14:09 More gemstone chemistry
26:27 Hardness vs toughness
33:05 How do you identify gemstones?
41:41 How mucky jewellery gets and cleaning strategies
46:59 What to do if you don’t know what you’ve got
48:43 Pigments and other uses of minerals
52:22 Organic gemstones
56:35 Interview with Kate Andrew

Show Notes:
– S11E02 Metals (Part 2): https://thecword.show/2022/05/18/s11e05-metals-part-2/
– Bill’s website: https://www.williamhawkes.co.uk/
– Lasers and gemstones: https://www.illinoisscience.org/2019/01/surprising-uses-gemstones-ruby-laser/
– Koh-i-Noor diamond: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koh-i-Noor
– Cullinan diamond: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cullinan_Diamond
– Black Prince’s Ruby: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Prince%27s_Ruby
– Mohs scale of hardness: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_scale_of_mineral_hardness
– Gemstone colour chemistry: https://www.compoundchem.com/2014/06/29/what-causes-the-colour-of-gemstones/
– Gemmological Association of Great Britain: https://gem-a.com/
– National Association of Jewellers: https://www.naj.co.uk/
– Gemological Institute of America: https://www.gia.edu/
– Icon’s guidance on geological specimens: http://natsca.org/sites/default/files/publications-full/care-and-conservation-of-geological-specimens.pdf

Reading recommendations from Bill and Kate:
– Gemstones by Cally Hall: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gemstones-Cally-Hall/dp/0241436184/
– The Retail Jeweller’s Guide by Kenneth Blakemore: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retail-Jewellers-Guide-Kenneth-Blakemore/dp/0719800331
– Care and Conservation of Geological Materials by Frank Howie: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Care-Conservation-Geological-Material-Meteorites/dp/0750603712/

Support us on Patreon!

Hosted by Jenny Mathiasson, Kloe Rumsey, and William Hawkes.

Intro and outro music by DDmyzik, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.

A Wooden Dice production, 2022.

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