November 10, 2015
An opaque Andalusite crystal, Ronda
A mineralogist or gemmologist might refer to the gemstone we refer to Andalusite as Al2Si03 an Aluminium Silicate from the orthorhombic crystal system. So it comes as a welcome relief that science has adopted the name Andalusite and as its name suggests it is named after Andalucía, where it was first discovered in the mountains near Ronda in 1789. This strikingly beautiful gemstone is mostly unknown to the general public and considered one of the lesser-known gem types, in a trade where diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald and opal are more familiar names.
Andalusite & Diamond ring set in 18ct white gold, Manchester, UK
Characterised by very distinct combination of colours normally sherry brown, green and red, Andalusite displays a very pronounced level of pleochroism, which results in its ability when cut and polished to exhibit a range of different colours when viewed from different angles. Andalucite most often occurs as a translucent to opaque stone, with transparent gemstone-quality specimens being incredibly rare and this is generally reflected in the value. For many years, Andalusite has primarily been a collector’s stone, but it has recently gained a lot of awareness and appreciation from the eyes of many modern jewellery designers.
Andalucite typically occurs in gneisses and schists as a result of argillaceous sediment that has been metamorphosed, there easy way of described this otherwise. Gem quality Andalusite deposits can be found in many locations, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Sri Lanka, Burma, Madagascar, USA and of course here in Andalucía, Spain. As a lesser-known gemstone, Andalucite produces mostly blank pages in the books of myth and historically there’s not that much written about it.
Images & Words the copyright of Geoff Simpson
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