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Gemstones have fascinated people for thousands of years because of their beauty, rarity, and monetary value. However, a true understanding of gemstones and their properties has only come about in the past two centuries resulting from the developing science of geology and mineralogy and an increasing need to distinguish natural gemstones from those that are treated or grown in the laboratory. Numerous books describe minerals, and a number of them report on the distinctive properties of gemstones, but there are almost no books that present a more detailed mineralogical description of the gem minerals, along with a clear explanation of basic concepts of interest from both mineralogy and geology. Understanding the Gem Minerals: A Practical Guide bridges this gap.