Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Psilomelane

(Image found on

Psilomelane is an unusual gemstone with a natural woodgrain like patterning.  It was discovered in 1747 and named in 1785.  The name "Psilomelane" comes from the Greek words "psilos" meaning "smooth" and  "melas" meaning "black."   In appearance, Psilomelane is very like Hematite except that it has that swirly woodgrain pattern. Psilomelane is a hardness 5-6, is opaque, has a dull sub-metalic luster and is iron-black in colour. You can buy beautiful examples of Psilomelane for pretty reasonable prices.  The number of places where it may be found are quite numerous and include: Slovakia, Ukraine, the U.K., Ireland, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Kosovo, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Afghanistan, Turkey, Jordan,  Cambodia, Japan, Australia, Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Morocco, Kenya,   Madagascar, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Canada, the U.S., Panama, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and Chili.