Friday, April 12, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Lepidolite

(Image of Lepidolite found on gemselect.com)

Lepidolite was named in 1792 by Martin Klaproth.  It's name came from the Greek words lepidos meaning "scale" and lithos meaning "stone."  The name is in reference to how the stone looks in its rough state.  Lepidolite belongs to the Mica group of stones and so most often forms as platy sheets.  It may also from as massives of uniform indistinguishable crystals or as flat foliated plats (think thin mica sheets).  Lepidolite only has a hardness of 2.5-3.5 so great care must be taken to keep from damaging it. However, despite it's low hardness Lepidolite is still used in jewelry although I would not recommend Lepidolite be used in any piece of jewelry that is likely to take a beating (particularly rings) as it will not hold up as well as it would with low-impact risk jewelry (pendants; earrings).  Lepidolite may be transparent to translucent with a sub-vitreous, resinous, greasy, or pearly luster.  In colour it is generally pink, light purple, or light rose red, with other colours possible (gray-white, yellowish-white, colourless, white, and maybe some others) but rare.  Lepidolite is very widespread and may be found in: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma(Myanmar), China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo(Zaire), Ethiopia, France, Finland, French Guinea, Germany, Greenland, India, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, England, Scotland, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe, several provinces in Canada, and all across the U.S.  Cost wise, Lepidolite tends to be rather inexpensive although good quality large stones will be higher.

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