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Gemstones
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The terms "gem" and "gemstone" mean any mineral or organic material (e.g., pearl and petrified wood) used for personal adornment, display, or object of art because it possesses beauty, rarity, and durability.   Of the 2,700 mineral species, only about 100 possess all these attributes.   Silicates compose the largest group of gemstones; oxides and quartz compose the second largest.

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URL: http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/gemstones/index.html
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Page Last Modified: Monday, 10-Mar-2014 14:22:55 EDT