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Gemology - GEMS DESCRIBED IN BRIHAT SANHITA
 
Apart from brilliance, hardness is the second distinguishing feature of the gemstones. Hardness of one gemstone differs from that of the other. On the hardness scale, talc represents the softest substance while diamond is the hardest material known to mankind.

Following is a hardness scale to compare the hardness of gemstones with one another.

Sequence of Hardness Material/Gems
1 Talc
2 Gypsum
3 Calcite
4 Spar
5 Apatite
6 Foldspar
7 Rock Crystal
8 Topaz (Yellow)
9 ( Sapphire)
10 Blue Sapphire
  Diamond

All the gemstones have some amount of latent electricity which can be experienced in different ways. This latent form of electricity is basically of static in nature and an be produced in three different ways:

1) Friction
2) Heat
3) Pressure

1) Electricity produced by friction or Frictional Electricity: When a gemstone is rubbed with a cotton or woolen cloth, some electric charge is produced in the gem. In some stones the charge is so intense that it can even burn the cloth that causes it to appear. Diamond is such a stone that produces intense electric charge on rubbing. Besides diamond, topaz, Shobha Mani, Trinakant Mani etc are some other jewels that produce intense electric charge.

2) Thermal Electricity: Heating a gemstone also produces some electric charge in it. But there is a threshold limit below which heating does not produce any charge in the stone. Rock crystal is the prominent gemstone that produces intense charge upon heating.

3) Piezo Electricity or charge due to pressure: If a certain amount of pressure is applied on a crystal, it begins to act like a battery cell and produces electric charge. With the removal of pressure, the crystal regains its original state. Rock crystal is again an efficient gemstone to produce electric charge under pressure.

Alexandrite: It is an extremely beautiful gem and like Opal it is also very sensitive to light. It glows like a rainbow of colours. Hence it is also known as colour changing stone. It is found in Sri Lanka and Africa. Mostly, Alexandrites with deep indigo colour are available with the jewellers. It is regarded as a potential substitute for blue sapphire.

Katiala: It belongs to crystal category and is found in deep and light voilet colours. In common parlance and the jewellers terms it is called as Jamuniya (amethyst). It is used as a substitute for blue sapphire. It is mostly found in Hamp

 
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