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APATITE, MORGANITE AND KUNZITE

APATITE

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Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals which includes hydroxyl-apatite, fluor-apatite and chlor-apatite. Apatite is the most common type of phosphate in the world and it is the main source for phosphorus, a chemical essential to bioenergetics and photosynthesis. Apatite is composed of calcium phosphate, which is the same material that makes up teeth and bones.

Although apatite is a very common mineral, transparent gemstone-quality apatite is extremely rare. Despite apatite being the defining mineral for 5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, it remains virtually unknown to most consumers and is seldom found in jewelry stores. However, because apatite occurs in such a wide variety of attractive colors and forms, it is a favorite among gemstone collectors. Connoisseurs often seek out rare colors such as Paraiba-like blue-green apatite or leek-green apatite, which is known as 'asparagus stone'. Deep purple, violet and reddish specimens are also sought after. There is an additional blue variety known as 'moroxite', but this is typically heat-treated to enhance color.

The word 'apatite' was derived from a Greek word meaning 'cheat'. The name was given to apatite because of its close resemblance to several other precious gemstones. As a result of many people being 'cheated', apatite became unfairly labeled as the 'deceitful stone'. Amblygonite, andalusite, brazilianite, precious beryl, sphene, topaz and tourmaline can all be confused with apatite.

Apatite Chatoyancy
Apatite that exhibits chatoyancy, or a cat's eye effect, is extremely rare. Cat's eye apatite gemstones are always cut en cabochon. Chatoyancy is a rare optical phenomenon existing only in a handful of different gem types. It is distinguished by a unique light reflection that resembles the slit eye of a cat. It is caused by light reflected off parallel inclusions within a gemstone, typically rutile needles, fibers or channels. Cat's eye reflections are best viewed in direct light; when the stone is rotated, the cat's eye will appear to glide across the surface.

Apatite Mineralogy
Apatite develops as crystals within granite pegmatites, metamorphic rocks and igneous environments. Apatite crystal can vary in composition based on the level of hydroxide, fluorine or chlorine ions. Apatite-rich rocks are one of the most important sources for phosphorus. Not only is phosphorus required by plants, but it is also an essential chemical commonly used in fertilizers, explosives, fireworks, pesticides, toothpaste, detergents and pharmaceutical products.

Apatite is a lesser-known gemstone with very little fame, myth or legend attached to it. However, since apatite is actually part of our composition and is produced and used by the human body, it is believed to have some extremely powerful healing abilities. Many gemstone lovers are fascinated by the lore and powers of gemstones, especially those with relation to the human body.

Apatite is thought to be a stone of learning and inspiration. It is a fire element stone that is thought to be helpful for overcoming fear and turning thought into physical manifestations. It is associated with the solar plexus chakra. Apatite is commonly used for its metaphysical ability to encourage extroversion. It is able to draw out negative energy and stimulate creativity. Physically, apatite is said to heal bones, cartilage, teeth and boost calcium absorption. It is also believed to relieve pain caused by arthritis and other joint-related health problems.

MORGANITE

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Alongside emerald and aquamarine, morganite is certainly the best known gemstone from the colourful group of the beryls. Women the world over love morganite for its fine pink tones which radiate charm, esprit and tenderness.

Although this gemstone came into being millions of years ago, it has only been known by the name of morganite for less than a hundred years. To be precise, in fact, since 1911, since before that the gemological world simply viewed the 'pink beryl' as a variety of beryl, not as a gemstone in its own right. But it is not only people that change their name. Gemstones sometimes do it too. And so it was that in 1911, on the suggestion of the New York gemologist G. F. Kunz, the pink variety of beryl was ennobled to the status of a gemstone in its own right. In honour of the banker and mineral collector John Pierpont Morgan, it was given the name under which it is known today: morganite.

Beryls are beryllium aluminum silicates rich in minerals. Pure beryl is colourless. However, on account of its structure, it is in a position to intercalate foreign elements such as iron, manganese, chrome or vanadium. If manganese is intercalated in beryl, the rather plain, colourless gemstone turns into an enchanting pink treasure: morganite. Today, this gemstone mainly comes from deposits in Brazil, Madagascar, Afghanistan and California. Its good hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale is the reason for its excellent wearing qualities.

There are morganites in many fine pink hues. Some are decidedly pink, whilst others tend more to lilac or light violet. Or there may be a hint of orange - when all's said and done, Mother Nature has provided the right gemstone colour for each type and each skin colour. The colour of morganite always emanates charm, esprit and a touch of tenderness. This gemstone has a wonderful gift: even in stressful times, it shows up the brighter aspects of life. Try it out yourself and you'll see: the sight of a morganite will put you in a good mood. A person who chooses this gemstone opts for 'la vie en rose' even in the greyness of everyday life. So it's easy to see why morganite is typically used in gemstone therapy for stress-related problems, radiating as it does a pleasant feeling of relaxation, calm and joie de vivre.

When determining the quality of a morganite, the colour is the most important criterion. Note that this gemstone should be selected in as large a size as possible, for it is only above a certain size that the beauty of its colour really comes into its own. The rule which says 'the more transparent, the more valuable' only applies to a certain extent, for there are plenty of women who would prefer a morganite with fine inclusions like pure silk. What is certain is that the cut really is a decisive factor, for only a high-quality cut will allow the subtle colour of the morganite to shine out.

KUNZITE

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Millions of years ago, deep in the bowels of our Earth, gemstones were created in innumerable variations. We are familiar with most of them, and indeed we have been so in most cases for thousands of years. Yet every now and again a previously unknown variant of a gem comes to light. One of these 'young' gemstones is kunzite, with its delicate pink hues, a gem which is seen more and more often nowadays, making an attractive eye-catcher in jewelry. Yes, kunzite has only been known for a little more than a hundred years, and yet it is now going through something like a second renaissance.

As we have already said, kunzite is still a very young gemstone. It was not until 1902 that the New York jeweler and gemstone specialist George Frederick Kunz (1856 – 1932) became the first person to give a comprehensive description of this stone, which had just been discovered in California. And since newly discovered gemstones are usually given the name of their discoverer or patron, this new pale pink discovery was called 'kunzite'.

Above all, the appeal of this gemstone lies in its clarity and its fine delicate pink nuances which often display a hint of violet. These are delicate, tender hues, feminine and seductive. In order to make sure that the fine color is shown to its full advantage, the cutter must align the raw crystal very precisely during his work. The reason is that depending on the angle from which you look at a kunzite, it can appear violet, pink or even colorless. Indeed some kunzites from finds in Afghanistan display a rich, strong violet, a light violet and a light green depending on the angle of observation. In gemology, this phenomenon is known as pleochroism, the meaning of which equates to 'multi-coloredness'. This property is particularly well developed in kunzite. If you have the opportunity to look at a kunzite from close up, watch out for it. In a well cut stone, the most beautiful color nuance will always be visible from above, experienced cutters working the raw crystal in perfect accord with its material properties. Most kunzites, however, have a fairly light color. Strongly colored kunzite is rare and thus correspondingly valuable.

This gemstone is the youngest member of the spodumen family, to which the green or yellowish-green hiddenite, discovered about a quarter of a century earlier, also belongs. Hiddenite too bears the name of its discoverer, W. E. Hidden. Those who are interested in gemology will know that, together with diopside, jadeite and three other kinds of mineral, the spodumens make up the pyroxene group, the word pyroxene being derived from the Greek words pyr (fire) and xenos (stranger).

Pale pink kunzite was discovered in 1902 in the Pala District of San Diego County in California. Today, the prism-shaped crystals with their typical vertical striations are mainly found in Afghanistan, Madagascar, Brazil and the USA. The crystals, or fragments of crystals, often badly eaten away, can attain sizes of up to several kilograms.

As a variety of spodumen, kunzite belongs to the class of the chain silicates. It has minute traces of manganese to thank for its fine lilac color. However, the color can fade in direct sunlight. For that reason, jeweler with kunzite should never be worn while sunbathing or on the beach.

Its hardness is fairly good, between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs scale. To the chagrin of the cutters, however, this gem has perfect cleavage and is thus extremely difficult to cut. Having said that, once it has been given its final shape, it becomes uncomplicated. But it is very difficult to re-cut. Cut kunzite surprises even experts again and again with its brilliance. The silvery gloss on its facets forms a beautiful contrast to the fine violet-pink of the gemstone.

In the trade, kunzite is available in many beautiful cuts. It is one of the gems which are available in relatively large sizes at affordable prices. When making a purchase, however, you should remember that it is first the color and then the clarity which determines its value. The more intense the color, the more valuable the kunzite. The question of whether the color should tend more or less strongly towards violet will depend on your personal preference and skin type.

This gemstone with its fine, delicate pink is not only an ideal precious stone for lovers; it is also popular as a healing stone. Kunzite is said to enhance a person's capacity for devotion and understanding and to bestow inner peace and joie de vivre on its wearer. And since it is also said to activate the mind and liberate us from worry and anxiety, it is an excellent gemstone for those suffering from strain or exam nerves. Whether or not one actually believes in these positive effects, one thing is certain: its fine pink with a hint of violet radiates a serene composure and keeps moods of depression and anxiety at bay right from the outset. Try it for yourself!