Whether you love or hate Valentine's Day, it does at least give us an excuse to talk about shiny things! I've written about gemstones a few times before. Today seems like a good day for a reprise - plus some huggable geology!

First, a bit o' a love story (which you can skip if you're all Bah Humbug about this holiday, but it really does mostly focus on the gemstones!):

The Real Heart of the Ocean

One hundred years ago, a ship sideswiped an iceberg on its way across the ocean, and the Titanic legend was born. Speaking of legend, James Cameron's film was so sweeping and dramatic that some folks think it must have been entirely fictional. But it was based on a true story, right down to the Heart of the Ocean.

Only, the real Heart of the Ocean wasn't a blue diamond. It wasn't heart-shaped. It wasn't ever owned by Louis XVI. And it wasn't called the Heart of the Ocean, although it's now known as The Love of the Sea. There's definitely a love story involved, though. Not to mention, geology.

Image shows a rectangular pendant with a deep blue sapphire outlined with diamonds.
The Love of the Sea. Sapphire and diamonds set in platinum. Photo reproduced here with the kind permission of the Nomadic Preservation Society.

Next, we'll talk about where the elements that make our gemstones came from. Okay, it's in the context of Super Bowl rings, not twue wuv, but the point still stands.

Forged in Cosmic Furnaces: The Geology of the Seahawks Super Bowl Rings (Prologue)

Diamonds! Sapphires! Tsavorite! White gold! That ring is made of geology. It wouldn’t be there without geology. Heck, it is geology! And there’s a geologic story behind those stones. I’ve decided to tell it.*

Only… it’s more complicated than I thought.

It begins with the birth of the Universe.

It gets pretty explosive at times, in more ways than I knew.

And it finishes with a rare form of my birthstone, and a fantastic bit of geologic detective work, and a tragedy.

And, of course, diamonds are a great big deal when it comes to this holiday, amirite? Let's go find out how they're made:

Grown in Hot Rock Depths: The Geology of the Seahawks Super Bowl Rings Part I

The 184 diamonds in the Seahawks Super Bowl Championship rings can tell us a thing or three about Earth's inner self. We're still interrogating those valuable, shiny rocks (which aren't actually forever). Here's the story so far:

You need just a few things for diamonds to form. For one, you need carbon. That's a diamond, yeah? Chemical formula C. Simple, right? We learnt the last time how that carbon came to be. But it turns out the simple story has a few plot twists.

(And I swear that one day, I'll return to tell you about how they got to the surface, and all the other awesome things about those rings. I got sidetracked and delayed, and ever since, I've been waiting for the Hawks to win another Super Bowl so I'd have an excuse... we may have to carry on without them at this rate.)

Finally, where you've got love, you've probably also got hugs, and what's better for hugging than a place with spectacular scenery called Hug Point?

Celebrate [Valentine's] Day with the Geology of Hug Point!

Hug Point State Park in Oregon could use a hug. Pioneers certainly weren't very affectionate with it: they blew bits of it up. Millions of years before that, massive amounts of flood basalt intruded a nice, calm delta, which also made things pretty explosive. Despite that rather hazardous history, it's a super-lovely place that is eminently hugable, so that's where we're going on this national day of hugging people and things.

So there you are: things that hopefully aren't terrible sappy with which to entertain yourselves on this holiday you may or may not be celebrating.