This course can be used as a non-lab science or as an elective. It is offered Fall & Spring semesters.
The course gives an overview of gems and focuses not only on the minerals and samples themselves, but also on the gem industry. The goal is to give students a survey of what is going on today in the gem industry, and provide a good historical background. Learning about gems has both aesthetic and practical value for students. Understanding gems and precious stones (including precious metals) will bring a sophistication and appreciation of the finer things in life that are becoming more and more accessible to the average person as globalization makes world wide trade possible.
Though the course is science, it also covers industrial applications from prospecting for valuable minerals to making synthetic gemstones. The course has minimal chemistry and math, neither of which is necessary to do well, but will allow you to understand what you see and why you see it. Science is used to understand the beauty and wonder of gems, and every day you will see beautiful things in class. Slide shows, videos, and samples are used to illustrate a wide variety of phenomena and you’ll learn what the best gems look like.
A trip to the American Museum of Natural History’s Morgan (J. P. Morgan) Memorial Hall of Gems will allow you to see some of the world’s greatest gems in one of the nation’s best collections.
As always, I look forward to seeing you in class soon.
Prof. Roland Scal