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NOVA: Treasures Of The Earth: Gems

Airs Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 10 p.m. & Sunday, July 15 at 2 p.m. on KPBS TV + July 15 at 10 p.m. on KPBS 2

Tiffany and Company workshop where highly trained craftsmen create prized jew...

Credit: Courtesy of Doug Hamilton

Above: Tiffany and Company workshop where highly trained craftsmen create prized jewelry.

How have Earth’s most extraordinary natural resources driven the rise of civilization?

They grace the crowns of royalty, sharpen weapons of war, and both power and pollute our cities. They are Earth’s natural resources: treasures in the forms of stunning gems that we hold dear, metals that have altered the course of civilizations, and fuels that drive our modern world.

TREASURES OF EARTH, "Gems" (July 11), "Metals" (July 18), and "Power" (July 25), is a three-part series that will take us on a journey deep inside Earth to uncover the mysteries of how these treasures were created, and to explore how they have allowed humankind to progress and build our great civilizations.

But even as that quest continues... we are discovering that some of our treasures may soon run out or have unintended consequences that bring new perils. Can our ancient treasures reveal new secrets that will help us solve the problems we face today?

TREASURES OF THE EARTH: Gems: Preview

What processes in the depths of the Earth forge beautiful and precious stones?

Episode 1: “Gems” repeats Wednesday, July 11 at 10 p.m. - Their beauty has captivated us for millennia. Their cost can be extraordinary – some are even considered priceless.

Precious gems like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, opal, and jade are the ultimate treasures of the earth, and each one is made from a specific — and often torturous — recipe of chemistry, pressure, and heat.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Doug Hamilton

Opal from Lightening Ridge Australia in the collection of Mike Scott.

The secrets to their sparkle, color, and even strength lie deep inside the gems themselves… but could they also hold clues to one of the most enduring mysteries in the field of geology?

From Tiffany’s workshop in New York to the sapphire mines of Sri Lanka, from North Carolina’s emerald fields to the jade-laden Forbidden City of China, join NOVA as we explore the fascinating science of gems.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Doug Hamilton

Collection of sapphires and rubies of Mike Scott, fomer CEO of Apple computers.

WATCH ON YOUR SCHEDULE:

All three episodes from this series are available for streaming on demand!

TREASURES OF THE EARTH: Metals: Preview

What is it about the nature of metals that have made them a pillar of human civilization?

TREASURES OF THE EARTH: Power: Preview

Drill underground to see the treasures that power our world—today and into the future.

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