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Color Change Diaspore Gemstone Information

About Color Change Diaspore - History and Introduction

Color change diaspore is an aluminum oxide hydroxide mineral, and it is one of three major mineral components of bauxite. Bauxite is an important ore of aluminum widely used for many industrial purposes. Gemstone quality diaspore is extremely rare, and as its descriptive name suggests, it has a unique ability to change color when viewed under different lighting conditions. Only a few gem types are known to possess the ability to color change, which also includes alexandrite (chrysoberyl), sapphire, andesine and garnet. On very rare occasion, some diaspore may exhibit chatoyancy (cat's eye) effects. This is referred to as cat's eye diaspore.

The intensity of color shift in color change diaspore is typically very faint in smaller stones, but with larger specimens, the color change can be very pronounced. In addition to the ability to change color, diaspore is also known to exhibit pleochroism. Pleochroism is the ability to display various colors depending on the viewing angle and it is completely separate from the ability to change color. A single stone can appear violet-blue, light green or pink to dark-red, as a result of pleochroism.

Color change diaspore is mined commercially from only one location in the world, the Anatolian Mountains of Mugla, Turkey. Diaspore was actually discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1801, but it wasn't faceted as a gemstone until the early 1980s and it has only recently been mined on a commercial level. When color change diaspore was first introduced it was marketed as 'Zultanite', after the company that owned the mining rights to the Turkish mines. However, the brand name was very short-lived and the gemstone is now referred to mostly by its mineral name.

Color change diaspore
Color Change Diaspore
Identifying Color Change Diaspore Back to Top

Color change diaspore can be easily distinguished from other similar gemstones by the unique presence of pleochroism and its unmistakable color change effect. The excellent hardness and durability of diaspore can also help distinguish color change diaspore from any other similar materials. Diaspore also has a distinct pearly luster which is difficult to replicate. Additionally it has perfect cleavage like diamond and topaz, which is a distinguishing feature. Spodumene is often confused with diaspore, but it does not possess the rare optical properties of color change diaspore.

Color Change Diaspore Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top

Color change diaspore can be found in various locations around the world, but the only major commercial source is Mugla, Turkey. Other smaller, but notable deposits have been found in Russia's Ural Mountain region, at mainly the Saranovskii Mine in Sarany, as well as in South Africa's Wessels and N'Chwaning mines. Deposits of diaspore crystals were discovered at Chester, Massachusetts (USA), but these were not of major commercial value. Other notable sources include New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, UK, China, Arizona and Pennsylvania (USA).

Buying Color Change Diaspore and Determining Color Change Diaspore Gemstone Value Back to Top

Color Change Diaspore Color

Color change diaspore owes its color to manganese. Under natural or fluorescent light, most specimens appear light-olive or kiwi-green with flashes of yellow. Under incandescent lighting, the color shifts to more of a champagne hue. When exposed to subdued lighting (candlelight), a light pinkish-orange to raspberry-red color can be seen. Mixed lighting sources can result in color combinations. Color change diaspore also exhibits pleochroism; a single stone can appear violet-blue, light-green or pink to dark-red, depending on the viewing angle.

Color Change Diaspore Clarity and Luster

Color change diaspore has an extremely attractive, vitreous to pearly luster. High quality specimens have excellent transparency, but inclusions are very common. Eye-clean specimens are extremely rare, especially in larger stones. Some diaspore occurs with translucent material, but top grade faceted stones are very clear and transparent.

Color Change Diaspore Cut and Shape

Color change diaspore is most often faceted into traditional shapes, such as oval facets and rectangular step cuts. Cat's eye diaspore, a rare chatoyant variety, is always cut en cabochon. Since gem quality diaspore is extremely rare, fancy shapes and calibrated gems demand very high premiums.

Color Change Diaspore Treatment

Color change diaspore is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way. It is one of the few gemstones that remains completely untreated throughout production, from the mine to the market.

Color Change Diaspore Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Chemical Formula: AlO(OH) - Aluminum oxide
Crystal Structure: Orthorhombic
Color: Greenish-brown, colorless, white, pink, yellow, bluish
Hardness: 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.702 to 1.750
Density: 3.30 to 3.39
Cleavage: Perfect
Transparency: Transparent to translucent
Double Refraction or Birefringence: 0.048
Luster: Vitreous to pearly
Fluorescence: Light-yellow, beige, bluish

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.

Color Change Diaspore: Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Cat's Eye Diaspore
Cat's Eye Diaspore

Color change diaspore has very few similar gems, particularly due to its combination of rare optical properties. Gibbsite and boehmite are somewhat similar, especially since they are the other two major components of bauxite. Diaspore occurs as an alteration product of corundum, but although they share similar qualities, they are not exactly related.

Possibilities for confusion include chrysoberyl, cat's eye chrysoberyl, alexandrite, cat's eye alexandrite, color change sapphire and color change garnet. Cat's eye diaspore has many unofficial trade names, including Turkish diaspore, cat's eye Zultanite, empholite, kayserite and tanatarite, as well as various spelling variations of these names.

Most Popular Related Trade Names and Mineral Associations:

Chrome diaspore, mangan diaspore, Zultanite, cat's eye diaspore, diaspore and Turkish diaspore are the most common trade names and mineral associations.

Lesser-Known Related Trade Names and Mineral Associations:

Empholite, kayserite, tanatarite, Csarite, ottomanite, kaolinite, chlorite, margarite, pyrophyllite, goethite, gibbsite and boehmite are some of the lesser-known trade names and mineral associations.

Color Change Diaspore Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top

Color change diaspore is not a very well-known gem, and since it is relatively new, there is very little fame, myth or legend associated with the stone. It is not known as an official birthstone for any month, and it has no official place in the scheme of astrology or planetary energies. However, color change diaspore is a gemstone of many colors, and in the metaphysical world of crystal energies, color is very important.

Crystals of green color are known to be strong and nurturing. Green is an earthy color, so green colored cat's eye diaspore can help to encourage new life, growth and development. Olive colored stones are known to help with dedication and focus. They can enhance our hunger for knowledge and increase our yearning for wisdom. All shades of green represent intelligence, so both kiwi-green and olive-green gemstones will help strengthen the ability to learn and absorb knowledge.

The healing powers of gems have been mentioned for centuries by healers, shamans and medicine men from various cultures. Whether the beliefs are true or simply a placebo effect, it truly doesn't matter as long as it helps those who believe and are in need. The best practice for alternative crystal healing is to wear the gemstone in direct contact with the skin, especially near the injured part of the body.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and is not the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.
Color Change Diaspore Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top

Color change diaspore is an excellent jewelry gemstone. Jewelry designers are very much attracted to color change gemstones, making diaspore extremely desirable and highly valuable. It has relatively good hardness (6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale) and a good level of durability, comparable to peridot and tanzanite. Its refractive index of 1.702-1.750 is between that of tanzanite and spinel, which means that it has attractive brilliance and a high level of dispersion.

Owing to its perfect cleavage, diaspore can cleave easily, so extra care should be taken when cutting, polishing and setting gems into jewelry. Color change diaspore is ideal for any type of jewelry, including earrings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces, pins and brooches, but when wearing diaspore as a ring, it is recommended that extra care be taken to prevent hard knocks and blows which can cause the stone to split.

Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamond by weight in comparison.

Color Change Diaspore Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top

How to clean your gemstonesColor change diaspore is considerably hard, but it is still slightly softer than common quartz. Ordinary dust often contains traces of quartz, so simply wiping down your gemstone can eventually lead to a reduction of polish. Color change diaspore has a distinct perfect cleavage, very similar to diamond and topaz, which means a single blow can cause it to fracture. It is recommended that extra care be taken when cutting, polishing and setting the gem. Avoid wearing diaspore jewelry when working with harsh chemicals and cleaners, especially bleach and sulfuric acid. Always remove any gems or jewelry before playing sports, exercising or engaging in household chores.

Do not use ultrasonic cleaners or steamers to clean your gems and avoid extreme heat or temperature fluctuations. To clean your gemstone, simply use warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue. To prevent scratches, always keep your gems and jewelry separately when storing them. It is best to wrap them in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.

  • First Published: September-18-2013
  • Last Updated: January-12-2015
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    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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