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Friday, November 25, 2016

The Corundum Conundrum: Sapphires, Rubies, and Padparadscha


      Ah! The Corundum Conundrum; isn't that a perfect mineralogical riddle for this age of the Dum-Dum?! Corundum, as well as the lollipop, occurs in a wide variety of colors.




      Corundum is the crystalline form of aluminium oxide, Al2O3, generally containing traces of iron, titanium, vanadium and/or chromium. The blue, green, orange, yellow, purple and clear gem varieties are all sapphires.


        The red, gemmy varieties of corundum are called rubies.






      And, new to me, the pink-orange exotic gem variety is named padparadscha. The word is derived from the Sanskrit or Sinhalese padma raga, meaning “lotus color” and refers to the pink-orange color, similar to the lotus flower. Natural padparadscha is among the rarest and most highly prized varieties of corundum.



     The word "corundum" is derived from the Tamil word Kurundam which originates from the Sanskrit word kuruvinda meaning ruby.





     Because of corundum's hardness (corundum has a hardness of 9.0 on Mohs hardness scale), it can scratch almost every other mineral, except diamond. The hardness of corundum is 1/400 that of diamond.




       Corundum is used as an abrasive in sandpaper and in machining metals, plastics, and woods.

      Corundum belongs to the hexagonal crystal group (Recall the PEOTS post on Sapphire of the Sea).





      In addition to its hardness, corundum is very dense at 4.02 g/cm^3, which is very high for a transparent mineral composed of the low-atomic mass elements of aluminium and oxygen.







      Atomic numbers of 13 for aluminum and 8 for oxygen, both Fibonacci numbers, can't be a corundrum conundrum coincidence, can it?






      Let's see, hard, very dense, and colorful: where have we heard that corundum conundrum before? Riddle me Ruby? Dumped on by the Dum-Dums? 

     Happy Colorful (not Black) Friday from the wonderful colors of ZoĆ« and friends in Ethiopia!

Very Thankfully,
Steph








50 comments:

  1. Perhaps you could explain to this Dum-Dum a note from Wikipedia's article on corundum:

    "Alters to: May alter to mica on surfaces causing a decrease in hardness."

    How does a silicate alter to an aluminum oxide? And what's meant by "altering" in this context? Sounds like alchemy.

    BTW, a month ago, on that other blog, you linked to this map of Halloween candy popularity by state. I can say, based on an unscientific study, that Dum-dums are the least popular candy in NJ. Two weeks after Halloween, the only candies left in the bowl in our ambulance squad's ready room were a dozen or so forlorn Dum-dums.

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  2. The alteration goes the other way around from corundum, Al2O3, to muscovite mica, which is KAl3Si3O10(OH)2. The alteration of minerals can occur with addition of heat, pressure, and/or water. In this case, the surficial alteration of corundum into muscovite mica is most likely due to simple weathering, including the addition of H2O and other chemicals.

    The Dum-Dums do look rather forlorn. Wonder who named them. There's gotta be a Duck Duck (Go) answer for the Dum-Dums.

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    Replies
    1. I think Jack Webb named Dum-Dums:

      Dum de Dum-Dum. Dum de Dum-Dum Daaa!

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    2. Paul, and on a Friday to boot!

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    3. Did you use DuckDuckGo to find a Webb-footed flatfoot?

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  3. Reblogged by link on Top of JC's Mind https://topofjcsmind.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/socs-stephs-blog/. It is part of another blog friend's Stream of Consciousness Saturdays series. This week's prompt was "pretty" and the gems were so pretty I had to share! Thanks, Steph!

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    Replies
    1. Joanne, thanks for reblogging! You are a gem.

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  4. Padparadscha! A wonderful new word, to me anyway. It is not, not surprisingly, in my Merriam Webster's Collegiate Tenth Edition.
    Pronunciation? I suspect the stresses are on the the first and third syllables. The fourth syllable, of course, is a... schwa.

    LegoThatDefDumDumAndBlindLemonBoy

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    Replies
    1. Yes, such a lovely, lilting word.

      Your hunch is correct, Lego. The first pronunciation here seems closest to the proper pronunciation for padparadscha.

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  5. As to the origin of the word sapphire: mid-13c., from Old French saphir (12c.) and directly from Latin sapphirus (source also of Spanish zafir, Italian zaffiro), from Greek sappheiros "blue stone" (the gem meant apparently was not the one that now has the name, but perhaps rather "lapis lazuli," the modern sapphire being perhaps signified by Greek hyakinthos), from a Semitic source (compare Hebrew sappir "sapphire"), but probably not ultimately from Semitic. Some linguists propose an origin in Sanskrit sanipriya, a dark precious stone (perhaps sapphire or emerald), literally "sacred to Saturn," from Sani "Saturn" + priyah "precious." In Renaissance lapidaries, it was said to cure anger and stupidity..

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    Replies
    1. Curing stupidity with stones sounds pretty stupid to me. Oh, well, let he who is without cast the first one, I guess...

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    2. I thought it odd that those two things were both "cured" by sapphires.

      I think the anger might be helped by throwing a stone or two? Carefully, and not from your glass house, of course.

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    3. Orange and blue are complementary colors. Just sayin'.

      You may have triggered a Billy Joel binge; which I do not consider a bad thing.

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    4. And the colors of Syracuse U and the Denver Broncos.

      I heartily agree about Billy Joel, Paul.

      Though I do wish the shattered glass was above, of late.

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  6. On a blog about writing and science, hosted by a woman from Denver, how about a shout-out to Connie Willis? Browsing in the library yesterday, I picked up her new novel, Crosstalk. Just getting started with it, but it seems pretty typical of hers: light, comic, maybe not a blockbuster like Doomsday Book, but a fun read. I hadn't read her recently, and somehow missed her big two-part Blackout / All Clear, but I plan to get back to that. If you think you're not into sci-fi, try Bellwether. Any other Willis fans here?

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    Replies
    1. "Crosstalk" looks great, jan; I'm on the list at the library. I had not heard of Connie Willis before but I believe I met her husband, Dr. Courtney Willis, a physics professor at UNC, when I did a day-long Visiting Petroleum Geologist visit there. I remember he was named Courtney, a bit unusual for a guy.

      Wish I knew about his connection to Connie then.

      Her maiden name is Trimmer and that is ringing a bell also. One of my colleague's daughters married a Trimmer here in CO. Wonder if there's a connection there also.

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  7. Hi WW, sorry to blog jump, but I have been helplessly following the comments at Blaine's since now I can't get my "comment as" block to open over there.
    I do use IE, but it seems to work just fine here, leading me to think the problem is on Blainesworld.

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    Replies
    1. Mendo Jim, have you tried opening Blainesville in either Chrome or Firefox? See if that works...

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  8. Maybe my scientific reasoning ain't what it used to be, but the fact that things work as they should here and not there means the problem is not in my browsing program.
    I will not be surprised, however, if Google (i.e. Blogger) manages to ease IE out of its business.
    Maybe I will try a change when I can't even read the goings-on Puzwise.

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    Replies
    1. Not necessarily. Blogger just did a big overhaul re: browsers and ads which we bloggers were asked to agree to. Perhaps Blaine didn't agree to that.

      Try Chrome, Mendo Jim. It's worth switching because IE is an antiquated dinosaur and you may run into more problems going forward.

      Plus, if you switch over, you can be Chrome for the holidays!

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  9. Replies
    1. It's not just pollen. Thunderstorms can also produce locally increased levels of ozone, another asthma trigger.

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    2. Pollen? The pollen' was wrong, I tell you! (With both apologies to and appreciation for Emily Litella/Gilda Radner.)

      Interesting about the ozone, jan. Have you seen a rise in ozone- and/or pollen-related asthma?

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    3. Can't say that I've seen an increase in cases, but allergen-triggered bronchospasm is pretty common. Lot of people come in with a cough without fever or other signs of infection, looking for a Z-pack, when the cause is really allergy.

      Delete
  10. I read an article about the Australian outbreak just before your post.
    Any idea how much filtration is necessary? Dust mask? Super fine?
    you know what rye brings to mind.

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    Replies
    1. No clue, Mendo Jim. And it's so odd, the medical community may not yet know.

      Yeah, climate change: nothing to it.

      My attempt at rye humour that we all know isn't even close to wryness.

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    2. Any luck over at Blaine's, MJ?

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  11. Same-o
    Main comment box opens then closes.
    Reply comment box opens but is DOA. It will allow entries in the field but will not allow entries in the "comment as" box, nor will it take the notify me check (kind of nice for a change).
    May try Chrome this afternoon.

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  12. Chernobyl capped. (What should the cap say? "Make USSR Great Again"? "Let It Glow"?)

    Between Challenger and Chernobyl, 1986 was a great year for technology, wasn't it?

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  13. OK, besides being able to post at Blaine's, what other benefits of Chrome over IE am I supposed to enjoy?

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    1. MJ, that's not enough?!

      You should see blog backgrounds in all their full glory, not black infill backgrounds as someone pointed out on Blaine's (for the header over there).

      Delete
    2. Plus, with Google Chrome, there's nothing to come between Big Brother and your innermost thoughts. Like, on Saturday, we were streaming something online, and talked about what we'd need to be able to watch it on the larger screen of our TV. So, I was about to Google "device to connect computer to tv" or something like that, when I noticed an ad on the screen (on the New York Times homepage, not that it matters) for Google's Chromecast, a little dongle that plugs into your TV's HDMI port and uses your WiFi network to do just that, marked down from $35 to $25 until Monday only. Well, I can take a hint, so I clicked on it, learned that it was just what I wanted, made the only decision I needed to make (Black? Blue? Yellow?), found the order form already filled in with my name, address, phone, email, and credit card number. What I don't understand is why it doesn't arrive until Thursday? You mean, they waited until I clicked before shipping?

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    3. Not crazy about the big brother aspect. I do use Duck Duck Go whenever possible to thwart the information-gathering lords.

      Here's another good thing about Chrome, Mendo Jim.

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  14. I hate to be obtuse, but I don't see anything especially different or worthwhile about that page.
    What should I be looking for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every instance of "alt right" is replaced with "white supremacy" which is what it is.

      The Associated Press has also changed their style guide to reflect white supremacy as the preferred term.

      Words matter, especially these days.

      Delete
  15. I love autocorrect. Just received an email from my ambulance squad's maintenance officer, telling us that one of the rigs will be out of service until further notice due to maniacal problems.

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    Replies
    1. Were they talking about you? ;-)

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    2. Or perhaps the rig went to Maine. . .

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  16. New post on "Blue-Leaved Begonias and Fibonacci Golden Spirals" is now up.

    ReplyDelete