Rainbow Calsilica Stone
Rainbow Calsilica | Man-Made Stone
Rainbow calsilica is a unique and colourful material that was audaciously introduced to mineral collectors from around the world at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in 2002. It quickly attracted huge amounts of attention but many were suspicious about whether it was really a natural stone.
The world's only supplier stated he imported it in large slabs from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico and it was 100% natural but not everyone was convinced. He even distributed corporate-type catalogues which included photographs of the stone apparently being mined and large quantities of newly mined rough material. When geologists asked to carry out an inspection of the mine their requests were repeatedly declined. The supplier gave the reason as being the owners of the land want to protect rainbow calsilica from exploitation.
An initial inspection of material that had been purchased led some experts to believe it was a cryptocrystalline calcite with various clay minerals that were acting as bonding agents but another group of geologists who examined it said it was definitely man-made and had been coloured with synthetic colouring agents. The supplier claimed it had been stabilised with an epoxy in order to increase the stone's durability and that's what's likely to be showing up in tests. Rocks and minerals are often stabilised in order to prevent them from eroding or crumbling and the process involves filling holes and gaps with a resin or other substance. The process is also used for carrying out repairs to gem-grade material before it goes on to be cut and polished.
Despite growing speculation over the authenticity of rainbow calsilica the world's only supplier continued to deny access to the mine but the story about wanting to protect it from exploitation didn't ring true. Were this stone to be natural it would have been an incredible discovery with the potential to make the people behind it plenty of money so denying access to it didn't make any sense.
As the supply of rainbow calsilica increased it began appearing at mineral fairs around the world but having finally come to the attention of a group of scientists, the truth finally began to emerge. Having inspected a number of samples they concluded that man-made colouring pigments had been found in some of the layers along with the minerals hematite, celestine and calcite. They also revealed that many of the particles seemed to be bonded together using a soft plastic-like material similar to paraffin wax.
This colourful and unique material appeared out of the blue and baffled many. It attracted a huge amount of attention but is now known to be man-made. We have never found out for certain who was behind its production and exactly how or where it was being produced.
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