People have always adorned themselves with jewelry. From the beginning of recorded time people placed value on certain rocks and minerals, based on how scarce and hard they were to come by, as well as how beautiful they looked.
Jewelry gold and diamonds. Whenever one thinks of jewelry, one usually thinks of gold and diamonds, although of course silver and platinum are also popular metals with which to make jewelry, and along with diamonds there are rubies and emeralds. Diamonds, rubies and emeralds are "precious stones," pearls, also popular, are of course not stones but formed in the shells of various mollusk - as for example the oyster.
But jewelry (gold, diamond, and the like) rules the roost.
The price of gold is really going through the roof right now, although that is not quite as disastrous a fact for the jewelry market as it may be, as gold jewelry is not make from pure gold (24 karat gold) anyway. It can't be - pure gold is too soft and easily bendable. Instead, a percentage of copper is mixed into the gold to create an alloy. 22 karat gold is the most pure gold that can be worked into jewelry, but 10 karat gold jewelry is probably the most common, and of course it still looks beautiful.
Diamonds are a fascinating subject. When diamonds come out of the mines, they look nothing like the diamond you see on a ring or in an earring. Instead, the diamond has to be cut, to reveal its inner brilliance. Most diamonds originate in South Africa and Australia, with much smaller deposits found in only a few other places in the world.
Once the diamonds are removed from the earth, however, they are then sent to Antwerp, where they are cut, ready to be made into jewelry. Interestingly, 80% of the world's diamonds are sold in New York and the rest of the United States.