Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Vesuvianite/Idocrase

(Vesuvianite image found on

Vesuvianite is a really beautiful and rare gemstone.  As you may have guessed, it is named after where it was first found: Mount Vesuvius.  Vesuvianite was discovered in 1795 by Abraham Gottlob Werner.  It tends to be found in areas of contact metamorphic rocks (often limestone) and alpine areas. Vesuvianite is also known as Idocrase, and sometimes I've even seen it referred to as 'Vesonite" although that name is not commonly used.  Vesuvianite is a hardness 6.5, has a vitreous or resinous luster, and may be transparent, translucent, and even opaque. While Vesuvianite is most known for its brilliant almost Peridot green, Vesuvianite actually is found in several colours.  It may be brown, yellow, brown-black, light green, emerald green, white, red, purple, violet, and blue-green to blue.  Of all it's colours, the purplish-red shades are the most rare. An opaque cabochon grade Vesuvianite is found in California and is often marketed as "Californite" or California Jade."  Vesuvianite's value ranges greatly depending on the size, colour, and quality of the stone, however, you can find the current 2013 per carat value chart for Vesuvianite on GemVal's website.  Vesuvianite may be found in: Afghanistan, Antarctica, Argentine, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burma(Myanmar), Cameroon, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iron, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the U.S. Virgin Islands, England, Scotland, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, the Canadian provinces of: British Colombia, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec, and Yukon Territory, and the states of:  Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.