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The mineral corundum

  Corundum is best known for its gem varieties. Ruby and Sapphire are scientifically the same mineral, but just differ in color. Ruby is the red variety, and Sapphire is the variety that encompasses all other colors, although the most popular and valued color of Sapphire is blue. Sapphire is also only used to describe the gem variety; otherwise it is simply called Corundum.

  Corundum is a very hard, tough, and stable mineral. For all practical purposes, it is the hardest mineral after Diamond, making it the second hardest mineral. It is also unaffected by acids and most environments. Translucent brown Corundum and Emery are the most common forms of Corundum. These are fairly common forms, and due to their great hardness and prevalence are the most favorable abrasives. The industrial term "emery" describing Corundum abrasives is derived from the variety Emery which is mined specifically for its use as an abrasive. Erosion may cause Emery to crumble and form sand, which are sometimes called "black sands."