By Cait Collins
I love rocks, minerals, crystals, and gemstones. Each one has its own beauty. Even river-tumbled stones possess color, texture, and properties. My interest in rocks began with a good earth science teacher who believed in practical application of classroom lectures. I began searching roadsides and riverbeds for quartz, feldspar, granite, marble, and gold. Never found the gold, but I did have a collection going. One of my favorite pieces was a goods sized rock with varying shades of quartz growing up one side. I carried that rock from Maine to Louisiana to Amarillo, Texas. Over the years, my interest in collecting waned. I developed other interests and rocks fell by the wayside.
I recently began working on a new story with a hero who designs jewelry and his best friend who is a prospector and gem broker. My interest in collecting has reawakened. I’m not referring to gems and jewelry as much as to the science and history of rocks and gems.
Gems are a part of history. The Bible in the book of Exodus describes the breastplate of the High Priest as being set with four rows of stones with three stones in each row. Among the gems are diamond, emerald, sapphire, agate, amethyst, beryl, onyx, and jasper. Zircon is one of the oldest recorded minerals. The diamond mines of South Africa are legendary not only for the quality and size of the stones, but also for the violent history. Faberge eggs are still sought after. The deep blue Hope Diamond is cursed. Opals are bad luck unless they happen to be your birthstone. Columbian emeralds smuggled aboard the Atocha were recovered by Mel Fisher’s crew in the late 20th century.
Crystals and minerals are reported to have healing properties. Verities’ of quartz are said to be beneficial for depression, migraine, insomnia, lupus, blood pressure, and vision. Blue opal is good for panic, phobias, vision, and fatigue. Moonstones help vision, sleepwalking, internal organs, veins, and arteries.
So, if your heroine is Wician, it’s important to know her Zodiac sign and the associated minerals, gems, and rocks. A religious historian would be familiar with gem use in worship ceremonies. The characters will look beyond the origins and science to find a relationship to his namesake. He sees the romance and not just the monetary value.