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The Pietersite – Relatively New To The Gemstone Industry

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was discovered in 1962, making it relatively new to the gemstone industry. It was discovered by a man named Sid Peters while he was prospecting farm land in Namibia, Africa. He registered his find shortly thereafter and named the stone after himself.

What is it?

Pietersite is a pseudomorph variety of Quartz. A pseudomorph is described as a mineral that has the outward appearance of another mineral but its insides have been replaced by something else due to a chemical reaction. In this case, crocidolite (blue asbestos) fibers have been replaced by a colorless variety of quartz.

It is considered a phenomenon gemstone because it displays chatoyancy. The word is taken from the French phrase “oeil de chat”, meaning “cat’s eye”. A chatoyant gemstone will often appear to glow much like a spool of silk. This is caused by one of two things. Either the gemstone’s structure is fibrous, as is the case with quartz, or fibrous cavities and inclusions have formed within the stone, as is the case with cat’s eye chrysoberyl.

The Pietersite   Relatively New To The Gemstone Industry

The Pietersite   Relatively New To The Gemstone Industry

Chatoyancy will cause a glow to appear to move across the surface of a stone as the light moves or as the stone is shifted. While most chatoyant gems show a somewhat even banding, the chatoyancy of Pietersite appears in random strokes across the stone. The reason for this is that the fibers found in this mineral have been bent and fractured by the Earth’s geologic processes.

Colors

This gemstone comes in various shades of blues, reds and golden browns. Blue is considered the rarest, followed by red. The hues in the blue variety vary from almost a baby blue to a dark, midnight blue.

The most common color combination found is a mixture of gold and brown. Some of the golden varieties will be close in appearance to the popular Tiger’s Eye Quartz, while others will be more of a chocolaty brown color.

Mining

Currently, gem material is found in only two places in the world. The first is Namibia, Africa where the first deposit was discovered in 1962. The second is the Henan Province of China. This deposit was discovered in 1993 but was not marketed until 1997.

The Chinese variety is different from the African in that it tends to display incredible combinations of red, gold and blue.

Even though this gem is considered rare and highly collectible, it is priced similarly to cat’s eye and various quartz varieties, making it relatively affordable.

Care

Pietersite ranks between a 6.5 and 7 on the Moh’s scale of hardness and is considered fairly durable, although it can be scratched. It is best to clean your stones with a simple soft cloth. As with most gemstones, you should avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals or extreme temperature changes.