Andalusite Gemstone Information
About Andalusite - History and Introduction
Andalusite is named after Andalusia, the autonomous community of Spain where it was first discovered. Andalusite is an aluminum silicate, closely related to both silimanite and kyanite. In fact, all three minerals are polymorphs, which means they share the same chemical composition, but possess different crystal structures. Andalusite is a strikingly beautiful gem, but it is largely unknown to the general public and considered one of the lesser-known gem types in the trade.
Andalusite has a very distinct combination of colors, and a very pronounced level of pleochroism, which results in exhibition of different colors when viewed from different angles. Andalusite most often occurs translucent to opaque, with transparent gemstone-quality specimens being very rare. For many years, andalusite has primarily been a collector's stone, but it has recently gained a lot of awareness and appreciation from the eyes of many jewelry designers. It is becoming increasingly more popular in jewelry lines and designs. Andalusite possesses a good level of durability and hardness, making it suitable for any type of jewelry application. The attraction of andalusite is much owed to its play of colors from changes to its viewing angle. Similar effects are also seen when lighting strikes the gem from different directions.
Identifying Andalusite Back to Top
There are only a few gem types that could be mistaken for andalusite, including tourmaline, chrysoberyl, sphene, smoky quartz or idocrase. Pleochroism in gems occur in varying strengths of weak, distinct or strong. Pleochroic effects result through the differing absorption of light rays and the phenomenon can only occur with doubly refractive crystals. Andalusite is considered strongly pleochroic, along with iolite, kyanite, kunzite, sphene and tanzanite. Andalusite has trichrois pleochroism; when light enters the stone, it is parted into three sections, each containing a portion of the visible spectrum. Some pleochroic gems, such as kunzite, possess dichoric pleochroism, which displays only two different colors.
Andalusite Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
Andalusite typically occurs in placers, gneisses, and schists as a result of argillaceous sediment that has been metamorphosed. Andalusite rarely occurs in granite or pegmatites, but when they do, they tend to yield the largest crystals. Andalusite deposits can be found in many locations, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Spain (Andalusia), Sri Lanka, Burma, Madagascar and the USA (California and Colorado).
Buying Andalusite and Determining Andalusite Gemstone Value Back to Top
Andalusite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Andalusite Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Only a few gem types could be mistaken for andalusite, including tourmaline, chrysoberyl, sphene, smoky quartz, idocrase or sinhalite. Due to distinct markings, it is very difficult to imitate because of its pronounced pleochroic properties. The opaque variety of andulusite is not nearly as desirable or popular as transparent, gem-quality andalusite.
Andalusite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
As a lesser-known gemstone, andalusite produces mostly blank pages in the books of myth, history, wisdom, astrology (zodiac) and the relation between planets and mankind. Although there are only a few current myths specific to andalusite, they have been worn in amulet jewelry for quite some time, which suggests that many older cultures believed in its crystal powers. Andalusite was likely used in ceremonial traditions and alternative healing practices.
Andalusite is sometimes referred to as the "Seeing Stone". It earned this name due to its metaphysical ability to calmly see, without bias, various sections of character. Andalusite is sometimes used to encourage its wearer to rationally look at issues and to see problems from all perspectives, without fear or judgment. Andalusite helps realize that self-sacrifices are never required, but are acceptable when needed. Andalusite is believed to help with HIV (AIDS), eye disorders and boost calcium, oxygen and iodine deficiency. Andalusite is able to relieve water retention, enhance memory, bring chivalry, balance and moderation to its wearer. Andalusite is used as a meditation and centering stone. Andalusite is a stone of Virgo and it is primarily associated with the 3rd and 4th Chakras (Solar Plexus and Heart Chakra).
Andalusite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Andalusite possesses a good level of durability and hardness, making it suitable for any type of jewelry application. It has a hardness rating of 7.5 on Mohs scale of hardness, making it harder than quartz. Until recently, andalusite was mostly a collector's stone and rarely found in jewelry. Andalusite crystals are not commonly found in large sizes, so they are most commonly used as accent stones or in cluster designs for colored stone jewelry. They are also ideal as centers for rings, bracelets, necklaces, pins, brooches, cuff-links, tie-tacks and pendants. Due to its pleochroic property, they are best suited for jewelry designs that allow light to strike the stone at many angles. Closed settings will not exhibit or allow andalusite to display its most desirable quality.
Caring for your Andalusite Gemstones and Gemstone Jewelry Back to Top
Andalusite is quite durable. Andalusite can be wiped down using any soft cloth or soft-bristled brush. A mild soap or detergent can be used, but should be rinsed well to remove soapy residue. Andalusite has an uneven fracture and good cleavage, so it is not as sensitive to blows as some other stones, such as tanzanite, topaz and diamond; but regardless, andalusite should be protected from any hard blows to prevent fracturing. As with almost all colored stones, avoid the use of harsh household chemicals. When storing andalusite, it is best to store the jewelry or stone wrapped in a soft cloth or inside a fabric-lined box. To preserve andalusite polish and to prevent surface scratches, always store andalusite separately from other gems.
- First Published: August-14-2006
- Last Updated: February-13-2014
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