Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Purpurite

(Purpurite image found on
(Purpurite image found on

Purpurite is a beautiful mineral that was discovered in 1905 and has a kinda funny sounding name.  Every time I see its name I have to stop myself from misreading it as 'purpleite.'  However, there is actually a logical reason for that, the name 'Purppurite' comes from the Latin word purpura which is an allusion to the stones colour: purple. Purpurite may be purple, purple-red, pinkish purple, pink, brownish-black, violet, dark pink, and dark red.  It has a hardness of 4-5, which is comparable to Flourite and Apatite, and has a dull or earthy luster.  Purpurite may be subtranslucent or opaque and never forms as crystals, but as granular massives. Some examples I've seen also appear to have somewhat of a chatoyancy on flat polished surfaces; this is likely due to the fact that the luster may actually appear satiny on fresh fractures, while dull on altered surfaces. You should be cautious of samples of Purpurite that are overly bright in colour, as it has the colour is frequently enhanced to that bright shade by acid treatment.   Purpurite may be found in: Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Madagascar, Namibia, Portugal, Rwanda, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the Canadian provinces of: Manitoba, Ontario, and the Northwest territories, and the states of Arizona, Colorado, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisoncsin.

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