If you’re buying for small people this Christmas, here’s a tip – get your kids into gemmology and you’ll be giving them a gift, not just for Christmas but for life.
Visit any natural history museum and you’re guaranteed to find a bunch of children with their noses pressed against the glass cabinets of the gemstone section. It’s not hard to get your kids into gemmology. Kids are like magpies – they love the shiny stuff! In fact I was one of those kids myself. As my readers will know, my fascination with gemstones started early on in life and the 7-year-old me once even quizzed Princess Alexandra on the whereabouts of her sparkly crown (but that’s a story for another day).
The fascination gems hold for children is reflected in how often they appear in children’s literature, films and TV. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone anyone? Or how about the cult Cartoon Network show Steven Universe, in which gems take human form to protect the earth?
Apart from the emotional pull of gemstones, there are some sound practical reasons why gemmology makes a great hobby for your kids.
For a start, it’s great if you want to stem the tide of plastic tat making its way into your home. Gemstone and mineral samples are not only pretty to look at, for the most part they’re small enough to display on a bedroom shelf or bedside table. Just steer your children away from the monster-sized geodes…
A beginner’s gemstone and mineral collection is also reasonably easy on the wallet. Look in the gift shop in many museums and you’ll find a small selection of samples available from as little as two or three pounds. Chunks of rose quartz, amethyst, labradorite, iron pyrite can all be purchased with pocket money and certainly work out cheaper than the latest collectable toy craze.
Get your kids into gemmology and you’ll teach them science by stealth. Just by finding out about the different minerals and gemstones in their collection they’ll learn about gemstone formation, chemical structure, light and colour, the way different materials behave… the list goes on. Gemmology won’t simply give them a scientific education either – there’s plenty of history, geography and politics to be found in a collection of gems and minerals, too.
For those kids who are really bitten by the gemstone bug, gemmology can lead to a range of exciting careers in the scientific, business and artistic worlds. Take me for example. Who’d have thought that the little girl fascinated by gems would end up qualifying as a gemmologist, travelling the world and writing a series of books?
To start off your child’s gemmology journey, why not slip this Gemstone Holiday starter kit underneath the tree this Christmas?
Kim Rix, GG GIA
Be sure | Be smart | Buy with confidence