Author: David Causey, USA (Ret.)

iraq. Photo by U.S. Army is licensed under CC By 2.0

What are gemstones made of?

The chemical composition of gems can be quite complex. For instance, the Emerald consists of aluminum beryllium silicate—Al2Be3 (Si6O18). On the Mohs scale, it has a hardness of 7 ½–8. The Opal (Quartz) consists of silicon dioxide, with a number of water molecules (SiO2·nH2O) and has a hardness of 5 ½–6 ½. Tanzanite (Red, blue, or silver Corundum) consists of calcium aluminum silicate Ca2Al3(O/OH/SiO4/Si2O7) and has a hardness of 9. And the chemical formula of Lapis Lazuli includes lazurite–a feldspathoid silicate mineral consisting of sodium, aluminum, silicon, oxygen, sulfur, and chloride (Na,Ca)8(Al,Si)12O24(S,S)4—and has a hardness of 5–5 ½.

In contrast, none is as simple, or as hard, as Diamond. Its composition consists of one simple element: carbon (C). Yet it is the hardest (it measures 10 on the Mohs Scale) and the most precious of all gemstones. Only Ruby can attain a higher value. How can something as simple and common as carbon become something so precious, strong, and commercially valuable as a diamond? It is this. The diamond is the product of time, heat, and extreme pressure inflicted on a common and simple element.

Fashioning the Human Race

There’s a parallel to this in the human race. When God finds us we may possess few apparent talents, gifts, or impressive components. For instance, like a piece of carbon, by all appearances, we seem simple and undistinguished. But God takes us on a journey of development–a long journey pained by heat, stress, and discipline. And, as the Scripture says, “no discipline for the moment is pleasurable, but painful” (Heb. 12:11). Therefore, this life won’t demonstrate the characterization of all blessings and no trouble.

For a life of ease and pleasure produces nothing. Without heat and stress, a piece of coal will remain a piece of coal—something of minimal value. But when Nature subjects it to adverse conditions, a diamond may result. So when God, in His infinite wisdom and love, subjects His children to discipline, He creates a sparkling gem. In other words, He fashions a person’s character, faith, and whole being into Christ’s image.

Harry Emerson Fosdick once wrote, “No horse gets anywhere till he is harnessed. No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined.”
The Scripture says, “My child, don’t reject the LORD’s discipline, and don’t get upset when he corrects you. For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects the child in whom he delights” (Prov. 3:11–12).


Dear Father in heaven, I entrust myself to You. By Your infinite wisdom, power, and love make me into the person You created me to be. Make me more like Christ. Amen.

In article photo: Heave, Ho! by U.S. Marines licensed under U.S. Gov Works

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