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09 May 2008 @ 11:08 am
Gem lesson for the day  
I am busy writing today, but I just had to post pics of the latest bracelet I made last night. I am completely head over heels for this moss amethyst!

I can't remember what I've said here before, but moss amethyst is super rare. Amethyst in general is a variation of quartz that is purple. So is citrine (yellow). When the two matrixes (color variations) mix, that's where ametrine comes from.

"Moss amethyst" is a fancy name for a rutilated amethyst, which is, ultimately, a variation on rutilated quartz (shown left), right? The jewelry industry loves to tack new names onto things as a marketing tool. I've seen the term 'moss amethyst' before online, but only rarely, and always associated with briolettes, never nuggets like what I've found. I was intrigued, but none of the pictures of it I've seen online showed the coloring of the striations clearly. The bead show was my first opportunity to see it up close.

Since then, I've done some research. It looks to me like 'moss amethyst' is a new name for a variation of Lepidocrocite (shown right), a very rare stone in the quartz family called the Sacred Seven or Melody's Stone. The name Sacred Seven comes from the fact that it is actually seven different stones in one: Amethyst, Cacoxenite, Goethite, Lepidocrocite, Clear Quartz, Rutile and Smokey Quartz. But Lepidocrocite generally has striations ranging from brown to red, maybe as dark as hematite. But moss amethyst clearly leans more to the 'amethyst' end of that spectrum of seven stones - it has that darker hematite striation, with flashes of purple iridescence that give the striations a definite purple hue - even the clear portion of the stones often has a very pale lavender tone.

The strands I bought were originally priced at $320 per 16 inch strand. That's not what I paid (obviously - the whole point of a gem show is getting a good deal, right? Still, these were more expensive than I would normally pay for something, if I hadn't fallen completely in love with them), and when the guy running the booth told me about his shop in Monterey CA, and how their designer makes 3 strand necklaces out of this stuff that sell for $1200, I sort of murmured "Wow, interesting" and moved on. I was thinking, a little scornfully, "Wow, he really takes those poor Monterey women for a lot of money."

That was before I went looking for it online. Holy moly! First of all, you almost can't even find this variation of Lepidocrocite, period. And any Lepidocrocite sells for big bucks. Apparently, it is only found in one region of Brazil. (Of course - it's like tanzanite. How is it that I always fall in love with the super rare stuff?) If I had known at the gem show what I know now, I might have waited on the mystic topaz in favor of buying more of this stuff. Because honestly, I don't know where I'm going to find it again. On the other hand, I spent more than enough at that darned gem show, and it's probably for the best that I was mostly ignorant.

In any case, whatever it actually is, I love this moss amethyst. It is, IMO, simply stunning.

It's already listed in my Etsy store, with more pics and info.
(Deleted comment)
rhienelleth: beadingrhienelleth on May 9th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :) And you're welcome! I've been actively selling my jewelry since the end of January. It's still something of a shock to me when people actually buy it, LOL.
Steph: North & Southstephdub on May 9th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
Lovely! I was looking into taking some gemology courses, because if it sparkles, I want it. Sadly the courses were super expensive. So one day, when I magically become independently wealthy it's on the list of things to do.
-peartreealley on May 9th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
That bracelet is stunning!
indie: daisyindiefic on May 9th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC)
I don't make jewelery, but your jewelery posts are so interesting to me. And beautiful!