Minerals have a broad range so much so that they have their own discipline of study called mineralogy. These essential elements often have complex processes that lead to their formation.

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This beautiful pink quartz is found in numerous places throughout the world and is thought to be associated with unconditional love.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

Not all diamonds are found on dry land. Many turn up in sediments below the ocean's surface. You just have to know where to look.

By Mark Mancini

The Mohs hardness scale is used by geologists and gemologists as a way to help identify minerals using a hardness test. How does it work?

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.


This ancient rock, which forms above copper deposits, is beloved for its swirling patterns and vibrant green color. It's dazzled humans for millennia as jewelry and even in décor.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

Tanzanite is so rare, it is sourced from just 8 square miles in Africa. It was first discovered in the late 1960s and it burst onto the jewelry scene thanks to Tiffany & Co.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

This ancient rock adorns King Tut's coffin and the Sistine Chapel. And at one time it was more precious than gold. What is it about this deep blue rock that has drawn us in for centuries?

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

It's found all over Earth — and Mars, too. It's the main source of iron but is also used in jewelry and painting. Get to know the amazing mineral hematite.

By Trevor English


Cultures all over the world have treasured turquoise for its color and rarity for thousands of years — from Native American jewelry and Aztec and Mesoamerican art to King Tutankhamun's death mask.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Cobalt is associated with the color blue, but it's so needed for rechargeable batteries that the U.S. put it on the list of minerals it can't live without.

By Dave Roos

What's as strong as steel but half the weight; able to live in almost any body part and an important part of both airplanes and cake frosting? Would you believe, titanium?

By Dave Roos

This white-hot metal not only makes beautiful jewelry, it's coveted for industrial, medical and military purposes too.

By Alia Hoyt


Twitter was abuzz with reports that pretty green gems were spewing out of the Kiluaea volcano in Hawaii. But the experts took the shine off these speculations.

By Nathan Chandler

From the Hope diamond to the shiny bits in instant coffee, crystals have always held the power to fascinate us humans. Are they more than just a bunch of pretty facets?

By Nicholas Gerbis

Diamonds are some of the most brilliant and expensive natural features Earth has to offer. This collection of images displays diamonds in all their uncut and polished shapes and sizes. Obligatory pictures of very large diamonds are included of course.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors


Whenever people talk about buying diamonds, they keep mentioning the four Cs. What do they have to do with diamonds?

Diamond engagement rings. Diamond anniversary bands. Diamond earrings and necklaces. And now, the right-hand diamond ring! The four Cs -- cut, clarity, carat and color. Find out what the fuss is all about.

By Kevin Bonsor

Diamonds are beautiful and popular - but not everyone can afford these gems. While man-made versions are less expensive, most lack the luster and brilliance of the real thing, except moissanite. See how it compares!

By Melissa Russell-Ausley