We often forget that minerals and rocks, usually simply called stones, are as important part of nature as are animals and plants. The world of stones, however, is more ancient then the world of living creatures; they have had and still have an important role on the development of civilization. And it also must be reminded that the first, the oldest and the longest part of the human history which lasted for many thousands of years, was called the Stone Age.
For primal people stone served as a weapon and an instrument. Our ancient ancestors very well knew its properties – from elastic basalt or jade durable hammers were made but from fragile edged hornstone or pitchstone whose hardness is not far away from that of steel’s – knifes, scrapers, lances and arrowheads were manufactured. Pyrites and hornstone was used to strike fire. Transparent and bright semiprecious stones amazed ancient people’s minds and that’s why magic powers were attributed to them. That’s exactly thanks to the stone that has brought us already niggard information from the Paleolithic Age about the ancient Stone Age human culture and housing.
Stone Age was followed by several Metal ages: copper, bronze, iron, marking the progress of civilization. The main mode of stone utilization also changed. Now it was not only used in its natural way, but also as an ore – source of metals and other chemical elements. The very name “mineral” is derived from Latin word “minera”, which means “metal generative”.
By the appearance of cities, stone was broadly used as a resistant building material, for the creation of castles and churches, which even now amaze us by their longevity. The most beautiful and rarest precious stones like rubies, emeralds and diamonds have become the symbol of quality and wealth and alongside gold have also acquired the function of money, often in small volume comprising enormous value.
The stone – excellent nature created material has become an integral part of human culture development. Even nowadays, in the century of metals and synthetics, it has a bigger role in our lives than we can even imagine. Paradoxically enough - more popular become metal constructions in building, more desirable becomes natural stone as an obverse onlay material.