Mining Paper 2 May/June 2015

Question 14

  1. (a)       Define gemology.
    (b)       Highlight any two criteria used in identifying gemstones.
    (c)       List the four characteristics of gemstones.
    (d)       State any three importance of gemstones.


This question was not popular among the candidates and the performance of those who answered it was poor.
Gemology is the study of gemstones, both natural and otherwise. The criteria used in identifying gemstones are refractive index, specific gravity, spectroscopy, hardness, cleavage, fracture, streak, ability to conduct electricity and magnetic properties.
The characteristics of gemstones are beauty, hardness, rarity, toughness, appearance, colour and durability.
The importance of gemstones stated by the candidates were:

  • serve as means of exchange;
  • article of trade;
  • used in jewelries;
  • used for decoration;
  • income to miners;
  • revenue to government;
  • foreign exchange earnings;
  • job creation;
  • used as a hedge;
  • crystal therapy in alternative medicine.