Andalusite and some of its Properties.
Andalusite holds the everlasting colours of the season of Autumn. It varies in colour from a pale yellowish brown to a dark bottle-green, dark brown or the most popular, greenish red.
It has a very strong and distinctive pleochroism, so that, when turned, the stone may appear yellow, green and red. A true mimic of the beautiful colours of Autumn.
Large crystals may be vertically striated prisms with a square cross section and pyramidal ends. These are rare. More usual are opaque, rod-like aggregates of crystals or waterworn pebbles. It is these pebbles that are usually cut as gemstones.
Andalusite is an aluminium silicate. It was discovered at Almeria in the southern Spanish province of Andalusia, from where it gets its name.
It is heated to form mullite, a refractory material with industrial uses such as spark plugs.
Some crystals have carbonaceous inclusions, arranged so that in cross section they form a dark cross. This variety is called chiastolite, named after the Greek for “cross”. Chiastolite existed in schists near the town of Santiago de Compostela, northern Spain. Many amulets of the “cross-stone” were sold to pilgrims. This variety is also found in Australia, China, Siberia, Russia, France, England and United States to name a few.
Transparent green Andalusite is a gemstone of top quality. Unlike other pleochoric gemstones, such as Iolite and Zoisite, where gem-cutters try to reduce the pleochroism and highlight the single best colour, cutters of Andalusite attempt to get a good mix of the many colours in the stone.
Andalusite is one of the lesser known gemstones and has been rare in the trade until a few years ago and it is becoming more popular today. Formerly appreciated by collectors, they are today made into jewelry and worn just like any of the other better-known gemstones.
The most popular cut for this gemstone is round cut or chubby ovals, where all of the gems glorious colours blend into one and dance and hop around the crown facets.
It is now fashioned into all jewelry, rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets. It can be found also in “bead” necklaces, and often used in gents rings.
Whilst the initial discovery was in Spain, the finest qualities that have been found over recent years have been from the mines of Gouveia and Espirito Santo in Brazil. From these locations, whilst the gems are fairly small in carat weight, the colourful light shown from within is one of the most beautiful events your eyes will ever see in a gemstone.
Because Andalusite is a fairly recent find in relation to other gemstones, it does not appear on any of the Birthstones, Zodiacal birthstones or wedding anniversary lists. It is however the recognised birthstone for females with the name of Adelaide and the male name of Adrian.
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