Friday, January 4, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Charoite

(Charoite image found on

Charoite is an absolutely gorgeous and fairly rare stone being found in only one location in the isolated Eastern-Siberian region of Russia.  It is a hardness 5-6, and is a translucent gemstone.  However, this gem has some unusual characteristics, it tends to have slight to moderate chatoyancy.  This chatoyancy is due to clusters of asbestos fibers so it must be cut wet and a mask should be worn when cutting it.  Charoite may be violet, deep lilac, or light brown, but is most known for the violet and lilac colours.  It forms in fibrous massives and has a silky or vitreous luster.  Despite its rarity Charoite is a pretty modestly priced.