This many-colored mineral, composed of nearly pure alumina, produces gems which is some cases are more valuable even than diamonds. The ruby, sapphire, Oriental emerald, Oriental topaz, Oriental amethyst, Oriental aquamarine, Oriental chrysolite, Oriental hyacinth, star ruby, star sapphire, star topaz, and ruby and sapphire cat's-eyes are all corundums of different colors. The ruby is a red sapphire, and the Oriental topaz a yellow sapphire, while the Oriental emerald is a green sapphire, etc., etc.
In hardness corundum ranks next to the diamond, ranking No. 9 in Moh's scale.
The specific gravity is 3.9 to 4.1, the crystallization rhombohedral, and cleavage basal, the crystals breaking across the prism with nearly a flat surface.
In lustre, the corundum is vitreous, its refraction double but not to a high degree, and it is susceptible of electricity by friction, which the polished specimens especially retain for a considerable time.
Corundum is unaffected by chemicals, and is infusible alone, but in combination with a flux it melts with difficulty into a clear glass.
The chemical composition of precious corundum is:
Oxide of iron, 1.0
Thus it will be seen that corundum is composed almost wholly of alumina--one of the constituents of common clay, which, when colored by traces of metallic oxides, chrome, etc., produces a greater variety of precious stones of a high rank than any other mineral.
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Precious Stones Guide Vol 1
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