Gemstones – Charoite

I realized when I wrote the previous post that I hadn’t had a chance to tell you about the gemstone that I set in the pendant.

It is Charoite, which is not a stone you see in jewellery very often.  It is considered a rare mineral and only found in a very specific area in Russia.

charoite cabachon
Posing for a "before" picture - what a lovely cabochon! Look at those great striations!

There seems to be conflicting dates as to when it was discovered and brought to the attention of the “world” – but I can probably safely say it was the late 1970’s.  That in itself seems hard to believe, since we’ve been digging up rocks all over the world for virtually as long as we’ve been walking upright.  Yet, less than 40 years ago a new gemstone was discovered!  Makes me want to go rock-hounding!

Also, to be absolutely correct I should say that charoite is actually a mineral with a specific chemical composition, not a rock.  (A rock is an aggregate of minerals.)  Because it was found by the Charo River, they named it charoite.  It is in the middle of the hardness scale (Mohs hardness 5-6), so it is better used in pieces of jewellery that won’t get knocked or scratched (like rings).  If you have a piece of charoite jewellery you can clean it with warm soapy water, but don’t put it in the ultrasonic!

But really – what I like be is it’s color – which IS natural!!  How great is that lavender/lilac!

charoite cabachon
Another gratuitous stone shot! I think this charoite cabochon has a nice shape and dome.

I like purple.  There are other purple gemstones, such as amethyst, zoisite, or iolite to mention a few.  Often though, their “purple-ness” can be affected by the light they are in, or the angle you are looking at them.  With charoite – it is purple without question!  I also really like the interesting striations.

Rites of spring pendant
The "after" picture! Look at the height on that cabochon!

It’s always fun to use an unusual stone, and learn about it too!

Hope you are well on this 1st day of March…… spring is coming!!

Valerie

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