Charoite | Information and Photos

 

 

charoite mineral museum specimen

 

Charoite is a rock forming mineral discovered in 1947 in Yakutia also known as the Republic of Sakha, an area of more than three million square kilometres in Russia's Far East (Siberia). This opaque purple coloured mineral is found close to the Chara River Valley after which it was named and it's the only location in the world where charoite has been found.

Unique and wonderfully distinctive, charoite was virtually unknown outside of Russia until 1978.  Stones take on a high polish and exhibit beautiful swirling patterns and its rich purple colour makes it a relatively easy stone to identify.  Black, white and orange may also be present and these colours are associated with minerals such as augite, feldspar and tinaksite. Despite being more readily available now than it once was, charoite is still considered to be relatively rare and sourcing larger quantities and finer grade material is no easy task.

Once it became known to the outside world charoite quickly captured the attention of mineral enthusiasts and crystal healers and polished gemstones became highly sought after for use in jewellery.

square piece of the mineral charoite Charoite is mostly opaque and gemstones tend to be cut as cabochons.  Being graded 5 to 6 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness means that it needs to be handled carefully and as with all crystals rocks and minerals which exhibit strong colours, it should not be positioned or left in direct sunlight for long periods of time.

The charoite at the top of this page is on display in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington D.C.  The second piece is in London's Natural History Museum.  Both photographs were taken by Stone Mania ¬©.

 

 

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