Kyanite Gemstone Information
About Kyanite - History and Introduction
Kyanite is a gemstone quality aluminum silicate sometimes referred to as disthene, rhaeticite or cyanite. Its name is derived from the Greek word 'kuanos' or 'kyanos', which means 'deep blue', alluding to its typical blue color. However, in addition to blue, kyanite can also be colorless, white, gray, green, orange or yellow. With kyanite, color is typically not consistent throughout. In fact, most stones exhibit areas of light to dark color zones, along with white streaks or blotches. Kyanite is a polymorph of both andalusite and sillimanite. Polymorph gemstones share similar chemical compositions, but they exhibit different crystal structures. Kyanite forms as triclinic crystals, while andalusite and sillimanite are both orthorhombic.
Kyanite's most distinctive trait is its strong anisotropic properties. Most gems are anisotropic to some extent, but kyanite is the most famous of anisotropic gemstones. Anisotropic gemstones exhibit varying properties, depending on their crystallographic direction. When kyanite is cut parallel to its long axis, its hardness can range from 4 to 4.5 on the Mohs scale, but when cut perpendicularly, its hardness can range from 6 to 7.
Identifying Kyanite Back to Top
Kyanite is a member of the aluminosilicate series and exhibits a distinctive property known as anisotropism. Kyanite can be very easily identified by its dual hardness. Many materials exhibit variable hardness on different crystal faces, but kyanite's variable hardness can be seen in the very same crystal. As a result of its distinct dual hardness and its frequent habit of color streaking and blotching, kyanite can be very easy to identify from other gems.
Kyanite Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
Kyanite deposits can be found in many locations around the world. Some of the most important sources include Austria, Burma, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Tanzania, the United States (Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia) and Zimbabwe.
Orange kyanite was recently discovered in Tanzania. Large teal crystals have also recently been found in Kenya's Umba Valley. Nepal is now widely regarded as one of the finest kyanite sources. Nepalese kyanite is said to rival the blue color of fine Ceylon and Madagascar sapphire.
Buying Kyanite and Determining Kyanite Value Back to Top
Kyanite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Kyanite: Related or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Kyanite is a polymorph of andalusite and sillimanite. All three are aluminum silicates, but kyanite forms as triclinic crystals, while andalusite and sillimanite are both orthorhombic. The different crystal structures are owed to geological conditions during formation. Kyanite forms at a lower temperature and in a higher pressure environment; andalusite forms at a lower temperature and lower pressure conditions. Sillimanite forms at a higher temperature and in higher pressure conditions. Kyanite is often confused with blue sapphire and topaz. In addition to sapphire (corundum), andalusite and sillimanite, kyanite also forms in close association with talc, hornblende, quartz, almandine and albite.
Kyanite Metaphysical and Crystal Healing Properties Back to Top
Kyanite is believed to aid with self-expression and communication. It is also thought to strengthen supernatural abilities. In ancient times, it was believed that when kyanite was suspended from a human hair, it could follow the Earth's magnetic force in the same manner as a compass needle. For this reason, many travelers took kyanite along with them when they went on long journeys and entered unknown territories. In addition, kyanite is thought to be able to open the body's center for communication. It is often used for deep meditation and is best worn near the throat chakra, though it is thought to have a balancing effect on all chakras.
Like citrine quartz, kyanite is said to never accumulate or retain negative energies, thus it nevers requires a cleansing. Due to this attribute, kyanite may be used to cleanse and clear other gems and crystals. Kyanite is not an official birthstone, nor is it associated with any zodiacal signs, but it remains an extremely important healing crystal that is used in the vast world of metaphysical gems today.
Kyanite Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
For jewelry, kyanite is often used as an affordable alternative to the more expensive blue sapphire, though its use in jewelry is limited because of its perfect cleavage and varying hardness. Since its hardness is related to its cut, it is best used for earrings and pendants, which aren't exposed to the stress that a bracelet or an everyday ring would experience. Some stones that display chatoyancy (cat's eye effect) may be set into rings, but they should be worn occasionally and with care. Kyanite looks best set in silver or white gold jewelry mountings.
Kyanite is one of the most affordable gemstones today and it can offer many interesting looks. Faceted kyanite can be used for brilliant and lustrous designs, and if cut en cabochon or beaded, it can offer a natural earthy appeal. In addition to its use in jewelry, kyanite is also used for a number of industrial applications, including manufacturing of glass, burner tips, spark plugs, heating elements and electrical insulators. Kyanite is also used in the ceramic industry, primarily for porcelain plumbing fixtures and ceramic dishware.
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.
Kyanite Gemstone and Jewelry Care Back to Top
Kyanite is fairly durable, but compared with many other gemstones, it is a little fragile. Like diamond and topaz, kyanite has perfect cleavage that can cause the stone to split with a single hard knock or blow. It is softer than diamond, sapphire, spinel and many other popular gems, so it's best to not mix kyanite with other types of gemstones in order to prevent scratches and fractures. Avoid the use of ultrasonic cleaners or steamers when cleaning kyanite, and avoid bleach or other harsh chemicals and cleaners. When cleaning kyanite gemstones, use only water and a mild soap. Wipe stones with a soft cloth and rinse well to remove soapy residue.
Always remove kyanite jewelry before playing sports, exercising or engaging in household chores, such as gardening or dishwashing. When removing jewelry, do not pull from the stone as this can weaken prongs and eventually lead to a lost stone. When storing kyanite gemstones, store them away from other gems. It is best to wrap them in a soft cloth and place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.
- First Published: September-02-2006
- Last Updated: June-13-2014
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