write a short essay describing the colour-causing mechanism for a specific mineral or gemstone.

In this assignment, you will write a short essay describing the colour-causing mechanism for a specific mineral or gemstone. The exact topic depends on the last digit of your student number.

This is my student number: 214915706

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Directions for essay:

• length: 3.5-4 (maximum) pages of written text, double spaced, 11 or 12-point

• references: on the additional page, in a standard format (APA, MLA, etc. – your choice)

• image: include 1 image of your mineral/gem (with a citation in the caption, max size 1/4 page)

•structure: (no title page – put your name, student number on the top line)

– introduction and general overview (1 paragraph)

– mention where and how mineral/gem is found/mined, can also include any historical context (1-2 paragraphs)

– the colour producing mechanism, and if there are variations in colour – physically how these variations are produced (2-4 paragraphs)

– discussion and/or diagram of the molecular composition & crystal structure

– specific uses for that mineral/gem (1-2 paragraphs) (note – these should not be any ‘spiritual’ or ’healing’ properties

– conclusion (1 paragraph)

– References and in-text citations in the proper format (Eg APA or MLA)




Note: You should use in-text citations for any facts you give and collect all of your references in a section at the end of your essay. If you use class notes as a reference – they must be cited



Topic Assignments:

(based on the last digit of student number) Make sure to name your essay: TOPIC_YourLastName

0, 1: corundum-based gems (includes the ruby, sapphire)

2, 3: diamond (includes coloured diamonds)

4, 5: amethyst & citrine

6, 7: beryl-based gems

8, 9: opal or lapis lazuli




How to Write an Essay About a Scientific Topic (for NATS courses)

The goal for writing essays in NATS courses is to research a particular scientific topic and communicate to your professor that you have understood that topic. In most instances, you are not required to have a thesis statement and prove a particular point. Rather, you are demonstrating your comprehension and communication abilities. A recommended technique for writing your essay would be to read up from various sources, take notes (not word for word copying, or cutting and pasting directly from the source), and then sit down and write your essay from your notes. In this way, you will have a better understanding of the material because you have taken notes and put them into your own words. This technique will help you avoid plagiarism. You should avoid long quotations from sources (as is more common in humanities essays). Use quoted material sparingly – for very important points that you cannot express in your own words.


General Guidelines

1. Choose your general topic


2. Read, read, read (books, web, magazines)

• use Library website search engines rather than google

• use NATS subject guides • take notes as you go: by hand, on your computer, but don’t copy word for word – instead re-formulate the ideas in your own words

• consider talking to an expert, going to a museum


3. Choose (probably just 1, depending on the length of essay) subtopic that interests you most

• focus is important – go back to step 2


4. Write your essay about that topic from your notes. Include:

• Introduction (1/2 – 1 p)

▪ captures reader ▪ contains the essence of why you were attracted to that topic

▪ sets stage for what is contained in an essay (may or may not include “This essay discusses ABC in Sections 123”, etc.)

▪ don’t start abruptly and discuss technical details immediately


• Body (several paragraphs – don’t need to stick to the ‘5-paragraph essay’)

▪ may or may not contain subheadings ▪ move from general discussion to specific

▪generally, should discuss at least 1 example in detail

▪ explain all relevant underlying physics concepts (to your ability)

▪ discuss the process at the atomic/molecular level (if applicable)

▪ don’t discuss scientific ideas you don’t comprehend – if you are having difficulty understanding concepts, ask your professor

▪ avoid personal comments (using ‘I’’ e.g ‘I read this and found it confusing…’) in a research essay


• Conclusion (~1/2p) ▪ summarize essay ▪ link back to something in the introduction ▪ don’t end essay abruptly


6. Figures/Diagrams – make sure you give citation under each figure used in your essay

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