Diamonds, gems, and fine metals are associated with fine jewelry, but what about our work space? The workplace is a hidden mine of geological wonders that use these minerals and metals for the everyday grind. We interact with precious metals and stones at random in commonly visited places like hardware stores, medical offices, and music shops. Diamonds, gems, and precious metals don’t just hold value for their stunning aesthetics but in creative, essential and meaningful work that shapes our world.
The Builder’s Grind
Construction and automotive specialists use cutting tools made with high-quality diamonds and minerals to cut hard building materials like concrete, brick, and steel. Diamonds are the hardest natural substances composed of carbon atoms tightly held by chemical bonds. It is the perfect rock for heavy duty and endurance demanding work. Walk into any Home Depot and you’ll find diamond blades in power tool accessories. For the newbie or DIY builder, diamond blades are not made with real diamonds, but lab created diamonds that have been created to contain the same chemical properties you’d find in the center of a diamond engagement ring.
Diamond blades are composed of steel and synthetic diamonds to make these tools both affordable and predictable. The diamonds are encrusted into the edge of the blade segments, where exposed diamond crystals grind abrasive surfaces to perfection. There are three types of diamond blades: continuous rim blade, segmented rim blade, and turbo rim blade. Each blade increases in price based on the quality, number and size of diamonds used to construct the blade. In other words, the tougher the material needing to be cut the higher the price tag. The synthetic diamonds give blades more control in the manufacturing process. According to Norton, natural diamonds in power tools are harder to predict consistent form, speed, and strength.
Always on the Cutting Edge
There are people far and few in between that actually enjoy visiting the dentist. Doctors of oral health use extremely tough tools known as dental burs, to grind away tooth tissue and prepare cavity fillings. With good reason too, enamel is the hardest substance in the human body--yes even harder than bone. Sink your teeth into that factoid. Tooth enamel ranks 5 on the Mohr’s Hardness scale, meaning only durable stones and metals will make the cut in the world of dentistry.
Dental burs may be small but they are mighty in speed, rotating up to 500,000 revolutions per minute. There are two types of burs: single and multi use made from carbonite or diamonds. So yes, it’s no wonder that cosmetic and general dentistry is not always a pleasant experience for our wallets. Dental professionals work with high grade steel and diamonds to provide quality dental care. The exposed diamond surface of a bur allows for extreme precision and polished cuts that gives a patient their diamond worthy smile.
For Pearl Jammin’ Purposes
Let’s take a break from tough work and explore the craftsmanship of making guitars. Inlays are part of the exterior wood of both acoustic and electric guitars. In beginner guitars inlays have dots to help the user develop their technical guitar playing skills. However, for the seasoned musicians, the inlay is where makers will add unique and attractive elements to make an instrument desirable.
The saying goes, “they don’t make them quite like they used to,” and that for the most part is a good thing, but in certain aspects of the music industry it’s a total heartbreak. The 60’s was the era of soul, love, and rock n’ roll. Greats like Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and many more inspired a generation of musical enthusiasts and artists. Pretty diamonds and gemstones weren’t just for costume, but also for instruments. Fender and Gibson, loved by guitar players and enthusiasts alike began creating inlays in the late 60’s with delicate gold and pearl materials. A beautiful example is Jimi Hendrix’s 1967 Les Paul Custom with mahogany wood and neck finished in white. The guitar had a pearl block fretboard inlay and gold plated hardware. A considerable piece of art that came with all the bells and whistles, perfect for a rockstar. The inlay style became known as “mother of pearl”. Today guitar inlays can be customized with evermore luxurious materials including precious metals & rare gemstones, budget permitting of course. However, in recent years it’s most common to see high-priced designs replicated with cheaper plastic materials to reduce cost. So if you’re in the market actively looking to acquire a high-caliber instrument like the one the great Jimi Hendrix would have played, hunting down a used vintage guitar is likely your best option.
Similar to your most precious jewelry like wedding & engagement rings, quality guitars with real pearls and gemstones hold their value over time and definitely should be insured.
Gemstones and precious metals hold a significant value to our most important and creative work. We’d like to think that every pearl, piece of gold or diamond in the rough has its place in the world. These geological gifts may not always be turned into fine jewelry, but they do make the cut for many other aspects of our life.