I mean, besides to comic geeks. Even now that we’ve got “stones” in the books, it’s gonna be really hard for me to ever break the “gem” habit. It’s not entirely clear why the nomenclature changed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but geologically speaking, does it matter? And if so, which moniker is more accurate?
You probably have some idea what a “stone” is. Or a rock, anyway. There’s a whole science of rocks, called petrology. A rock is really just a bunch of different minerals, the specific composition of which depends on where and how quickly the rock formed. Igneous rocks forming in lighter, continental crust have different compositions than those from darker, oceanic crusts, for example.
A gem, on the other hand, is usually comprised of one single mineral, with the same chemical composition and crystal structure. Emerald is a form of the mineral beryl, rubies are actually varieties of corundum and diamond is, of course, just a very special way to organize carbon atoms. Gems are polished and modified for appearance, often looking much different from their original, natural presentations.
It gets a little confusing when you realize that some rocks, like lapis lazuli, can themselves be considered gemstones. Amber is a gem, too, and that’s just hardened tree sap. Really, a gem is just anything naturally forming that looks cool and gets processed on its way to being jewelry.
So in that sense, it’s pretty clear that the original characterization of Infinity “Gems” makes a lot more sense. They’re definitely not stones, being that they were created in a time before minerals even existed. They do easily fit into the broad definition of “gem,” though, considering they’re modified from their original forms (especially in the case of the aether/Reality “Stone”) and they are, quite impressively, worn as adornments. Thanos is nothing if not fashionable.
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