Thulite is a pink variety of zoisite. Coloured by impurities of manganese, its crystal habit is mostly massive meaning crystals are tightly intergrown. It can also be found as small prismatic crystals. These shapes tend to be elongated with faces of a similar width and length.
These thulite crystals exhibit a subtle shade of purple. This is the first time we've seen thulite in this colour. Prior to finding these stones we knew this mineral for its pinkish red colour. The white is opaque quartz.
Thulite was first described by Englishman Henry James Brooke in 1823. In 1845 details about the deposit in Sauland Southern Norway were published by German Norwegian mineralogist Theodor Scheerer.
During his travels between 330 and 320 BC, Ancient Greek explorer Pytheas mapped the coastline of what is now the British Isles. Having then travelled much further north into unchartered territory he entered an area which he later described as;
"neither earth nor sea but instead a sort of mixture of these similar to a marine lung, in which the earth and the sea and all things together are suspended, and this mixture is impassable by foot or ship."
Pytheas landed on an island which he understood to be called Thule (TOO~lee). Upon his return he wrote an influential account of his voyage and discoveries. The works known as "On the Ocean" were kept in the The Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt.
One of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world, many important works are believed to have been lost in a fire in started by soldiers loyal to Julius Caesar in 48 BC.
With Pytheas' works having been destroyed, all that was known about the location of Thule came from word of mouth from later geographers and explorers.
Finding the island's location became an obsession for many and led to extensive exploration. By the 1st century AD the mysticism associated with Thule led to it having an almost mythological status.
Its exact location has been debated for thousands of years. A recent recent school of thought suggests the tiny Norwegian island of Smøla could be the island described by Pytheas.
Although thulite can be found in a few countries the vast majority comes from Norway.
Weights and sizes of our thulite crystals varies slightly from piece to piece. They're classed as a medium to large sized stone.