Friday, May 11, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Spodumene

(Image from "The Mineral & Gemstone Kingdom" website)

Spodumene is a very interesting and beautiful gemstone.  It also has two other distinct varieties: Kunzite (pink Spodumene) and Hiddenite (green Spodumene).  Spodumene was discovered in 1877 but it was not until 1879 that it was realized that both Kunzite and Hiddenite were actually the same mineral as Spodumene.  Mineralogically, Spodumene belongs to the pyroxene group and is a lithium aluminosilicate.  Spodumene can be gray, white to green, pink, or colourless. It is because of this tendancy to be gray that it gets its name "Spodumene" which comes from the Greek word spodumenos meaning "reduced to ash."  Spodumene is rather widespread in its occurrence, although the varieties of of Kunzite and Hiddenite are much more rare, with its major sources being many locations in the U.S., as well as, Brazil, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.