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Hiddenite Gemstone Information

About Hiddenite - History and Introduction

Hiddenite was named after W.E. Hidden, who discovered it in 1879 in North Carolina. Hidden travelled to North Carolina to find platinum for Thomas Edison's electric light bulb. Hidden leased Warren Farm to mine emeralds, and found hiddenite. Hiddenite is a green type of spodumene. Spodumene is green, pinkish or lilac and is used as a source of lithium. Hiddenite can appear green-yellow, yellow-green or a striking emerald-green. In fact, hiddenite was also referred to as the "lithia emerald" when mining of it reached its peak in the 1800s. This is because of its vivid green colour. In fact, hiddenite was described in a newspaper in 1892, by Kunz, as being having a "peculiar brilliancy which is wanting in true emerald". Hiddenite is popular with collectors and museums.

Hiddenite Gemstone
Hiddenite
Identifying Hiddenite Back to Top

Hiddenite's pleochroism can help to distinguish it from other gems. A combination of this, its perfect cleavage, hardness, monoclinic crystal system, transparency and colour can distinguish hiddenite from other gems.

Hiddenite; Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top

The mining area of North Carolina, USA, where hiddenite was discovered, has been named Hiddenite, after the gem. The Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite is open to the public. Deposits of hiddenite have also been found in Afghanistan, Myanmar (Burma), Brazil, Madagascar and California.

Buying Hiddenite and Determining Hiddenite Gemstone Value Back to Top

Hiddenite Colour

Hiddenite is coloured by chromium; the chromium oxide gives it a green colour. This is why some of it appears bottle green, since chromium oxide is added to glass to create green glass bottles. Hiddenite varies in colour from an almost imperceptible and almost clear light-green to yellow-green and at its darkest, deep bottle (emerald) green. It is yellow-green, green-yellow or emerald-green in colour. Hiddenite is pleochroic, which means that it displays different colours when seen at different angles. Therefore, a single piece of hiddenite can appear to be blue-green, emerald green or yellow-green. The most valuable hiddenite is an intense emerald green.

Hiddenite Clarity and Lustre

Hiddenite is transparent with a vitreous (glassy) lustre. Good quality hiddenite gemstones are usually eye-clean with no visible inclusions.

Hiddenite Cut and Shape

Hiddenite has perfect cleavage, which means that it is difficult to cut. It needs to be carefully cut, so that it is less vulnerable to breakage. It is usually emerald cut (also known as step cut), though some lapidarists will cut it en cabochon rather than risk damaging the stone. Also, settings should be considered. Gems with perfect cleavage are usually mounted in protective settings or set in earrings or pendants that are not likely to be struck by force. It forms as monoclinic crystals; in the shape of tabular prisms. Due to hiddenite's cleavage, splintery fracture and strong pleochroism, it is considered a real gem cutter's challenge. Hiddenite gemstones that are expertly faceted are quite rare, so they are also very valuable.

Hiddenite Treatment

Hiddenite is not usually exposed to treatment, however, lighter spodumene specimens can be treated by irradiation to bring about an emerald-green hue.

Hiddenite Gemmological Properties: Back to Top
Chemical Formula: LiAlSi2O6, Lithium aluminium silicate
Crystal Structure: Monoclinic, prismatic and tabular
Colour: Yellow-green, green-yellow and emerald-green
Hardness: 6.5 - 7 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.660 - 1.681
Density: 3.15 - 3.21
Cleavage: Perfect
Transparency: Transparent
Double Refraction or Birefringence: 0.014 to 0.016
lustre: Vitreous
Fluorescence: Very weak; red-yellow

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

Hiddenite: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
Emerald Gems
Emerald Gem

Hiddenite can be confused with chrysoberyl (which is different because it has an orthorhombic crystal habit), diopside, emerald, peridot, precious beryl and verdelite. Emeralds are often found alongside hiddenite, but emerald can be identified by its indistinct cleavage, inclusions, hexagonal crystal system and hardness.

Hiddenite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top

Hiddenite is a non-traditional birthstone for those born in August and a non-traditional zodiacal stone for Librans. Hiddenite is said to help its wearer to get in touch with their emotions by liberating them from fear and encouraging compassion and loving kindness. The healing properties of hiddenite are thought to help heal the heart and provide comfort from emotional stress. In traditional Hindu belief systems, hiddenite is thought to be of benefit to the brow, or "third eye" chakra, which is the eye of intuition and the intellect.

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 does not represent 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.
Hiddenite Gemstone and Jewellery Design Ideas Back to Top

Hiddenite is ideal for rings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants. It can be fashioned into almost any shape. Hiddenite makes attractive faceted gemstones, cabochons or sperical beads. As with diamond, hiddenite should be protected from hard knocks by protected settings in rings for daily wear. This is because a single blow could cause fracturing due to perfect cleavage. Hiddenite is hard (6.5 - 7 on the Mohs scale), which gives it durability and resistance to scratches.

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

Famous Hiddenite Gemstones Back to Top

There are not any world-famous hiddenite gems to date. However, there is a 365 carat hiddenite gem on display as part of a collection in the UK.

Hiddenite Gemstone Jewellery Care and Cleaning Back to Top

How to clean your gemstonesHiddenite is a rare gem, so it is not usually seen as jewellery. Due to its perfect cleavage, hiddenite would be best set in protective settings such as bezel settings, which would help to prevent damage caused by a sudden blow. Mostly, hiddenite is faceted only for gemstone and mineral collectors' displays and showcases. Although it is considered hard enough to endure wearing in 'protected' jewellery designs, such as earrings, pendants, pins or brooches, daily wear as rings or bracelets is not recommended as it can easily fracture and chip because of its perfect cleavage. To clean your hiddenite, simply use soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue. As with most gemstones, ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are not recommended. Always remove any jewellery or gemstones before exercising, cleaning or engaging in harsh physical activities such as sports. Store hiddenite away from other gemstones to avoid scratches. It is best to wrap gemstones in soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewellery box.

  • First Published: March-29-2007
  • Last Updated: June-18-2014
  • © 2005-2014 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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