Friday, September 2, 2011

Natural Wonders: Charoite

The lavender hues of charoite are like nothing I've ever seen. Found only in Siberia (Russia), the stone is named for the Charo river. It is a stone so clearly unlike any other known in the market that it can pretty readily be identified by sight. Even a novice, having once seen it, is unlikely to to confuse it with anything else.

The gem has what is often described as a  "pearly" luster. Its coloration is typically what I would call "soft", meaning that it's pastel-y and also a bit muted, unlike the "'hard" bold colors of chrysocolla, for example, with some swirls showing through the stone surface. Discovered in the 1940's, it was not widely known to the rest of the world until thirty years later. It's "said to be opaque and unattractive in the field, a fact that may have contributed to its late recognition" (so says Wikipedia, so take that with a grain of salt). I've never seen it "raw", so to speak, but I can tell you that when it is cut and polished, it is very much the opposite of ugly.  :)

Here's some photographic evidence:

and - my usual disclaimer - the photo cannot show you the real beauty of this stone. It looks a bit "flat" in the picture, but it definitely has that lustrous look in person. The colors are pretty true. ranging from lavender to a deeper purple with a tinge of brown and black mixed in.

It's a fairly soft stone, so best used in necklaces and earrings, rather than rings or bracelets. I think the stone above would make a perfect pendant, with the point hanging down as photographed.

 One more example:

Is it expensive? It's hard to say. The stones pictured above were relatively INexpensive, but I've seen some online for quite a bit...although I don't buy stones on line because I always believe I can find a better value at the gem shows. I bought my stones a few years ago so the price may have increased since then, especially as it's only found in one location worldwide.

Purple tends to be a divisive color - people either love or hate it. I personally love it! And this lavender hue is really unusual.

What do you think? Love or hate it? Indifferent? I'd love to know!

No comments:

Post a Comment