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Pietersite Gemstone Information

About Pietersite - History and Introduction

Pietersite is a rare dark gray or reddish breccia aggregate (rock made up of fragments embedded in a matrix), comprised mostly of hawk's eye and tiger's eye. Pietersite from Namibia was first described in 1962 by Sid Pieters, who named it in his father's honor. The term "pietersite" is now used as a general term to describe brecciated tiger's eye.

Pietersite is characterized by its distinctive swirls or streaks of gold or orange, due to the crocidolite inclusions within a microcrystalline silica host. Crocidolite is the same material responsible for tiger's eye chatoyancy. When polished, the inclusions in pietersite exhibit chaotic chatoyancy whereas in tiger's eye, the inclusions are arranged in parallel lines and give the appearance of a continuous line.

Pietersite Cabochon
Identifying Pietersite Back to Top

Pietersite can be identified by its distinctive chaotic chatoyancy, caused by brecciated crocidolite inclusions, which appear as golden swirls. Pietersite may have dense or sparse crocidolite inclusions, resulting in a differing appearance. Therefore, it could appear mostly gray-blue, orangey-brown, or an equal mixture of the two.

Pietersite; Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top

Pietersite is only found in Henan Province, China, and Namibia, South Africa.

Buying Pietersite and Determining Pietersite Gemstone Value Back to Top

Pietersite Color

Pietersite body colors include blues, which range from light or grayish blue to dark midnight hues, red, gold, orange and brown. Chinese pietersite tends to have a brownish-red body color, whilst Namibian pietersite has a bluish body color The swirls of crocidolite can appear golden, yellow, orange or fiery red.

Pietersite Clarity and Luster

Pietersite contains inclusions of crocidolite, which increase its value, since they exhibit a characteristically beautiful and chaotic chatoyancy. When polished, pietersite exhibits an attractive silky luster.

Pietersite Cut and Shape

Pietersite is mostly cut en cabochon to maximize its simple chatoyancy, which manifests as multiple reflections of small silky and thread-like streaks of light. In order to best exhibit this effect, pietersite must be oriented parallel to the length of the fibres. Cabochons can be a variety of shapes, such as oval, drop-shaped, round, rectangular, triangular, square or fancy-shaped.

Pietersite Treatment

Pietersite is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way.

Pietersite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Chemical Composition: Quartz: SiO2; Crocidolite: Na2Fe4 (OH/Si4O11)2 (Variable)
Crystal Structure: Trigonal, fibrous aggregate
Color: Brownish-red, orange, golden yellow to brown, blue, gray
Hardness: 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.544 to 1.553
Density: 2.50 to 2.74
Cleavage: None
Transparency: Opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence: 0.009
Luster: Silky on fractures
Fluorescence: Moderate to strong green; white

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

Pietersite: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
Tiger's Eye Cabochon
Tiger's Eye Cabochon

Pietersite belongs to the large family of quartz gemstones. It is composed of both tiger's eye and hawk's eye. Pietersite is a pseudomorph of quartz, which means that it started its life as another mineral, crocidolite, but over time, quartz replaced the crocidolite fibres. Crocidolite is one of several minerals which belong to the riebeckite family of amphibole silicates.The quartz family includes many gemstones, including many popular gems, as well as some lesser-known quartz varieties too.

 The two main branches of quartz include macrocrystalline quartz and cryptocrystalline quartz. Macrocrystalline quartz includes transparent to translucent gemstones, such as amethyst, ametrine, rock crystal, blue quartz, citrine, prasiolite (green amethyst), quartz cat's eye, smoky quartz and rose quartz. Hawk's eye, tiger's eye and pietersite are rare examples of opaque macrocrystalline, as most other quartz gem types have excellent transparency. Cryptocrystalline quartz includes a wide variety of opaque to translucent quartz gemstones, including agate, onyx, chrysoprase, bloodstone, jasper and carnelian. 

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

Pietersite is sometimes referred to as "the tempest stone", possibly because of its stormy appearance. It is thought to possess a highly-charged energy that enhances focus and personal will. Pietersite is said to provide protection from the elements and encourage calmness. It is believed that pietersite can help to cure addiction and boost self confidence. Physically, pietersite is thought to balance the hormones, blood pressure and body temperature. In traditional Hindu beliefs, pietersite is associated with Swadhisthana, or the sacral chakra, which is related to the reproductive system and governs pleasure, creativity, joy and enthusiasm. Pietersite is also linked to Manipura, or the solar plexus chakra, which is concerned with digestion, willpower and personal development. Furthermore, pietersite is linked to Ajna, or the brow chakra, which regulates sleep and promotes balance of the self. Pietersite is not a traditional birthstone or zodiac stone.

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.
Pietersite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top

Pietersite's interesting patterns and vivid hues make it an eye-catching jewelry gem. Its bold color makes it suitable for both women's and men's jewelry and when cut en cabochon, it can be used to make pendants, earrings, bracelets or rings. When polished, pietersite has an attractive shine and it looks good with gold and silver settings alike. Alternatively, pietersite can be wire-wrapped for tribal style jewelry. As a variety of quartz, pietersite is suitable and durable enough for wearing in everyday jewelry, including in pietersite cabochon rings. Pietersite cabochons are popular for use in men's fashion accessories, especially cufflinks, tie-clips, pendants and fine rings.

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 diamonds by weight in comparison.

Pietersite Gemstone Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top

How to clean your gemstonesPietersite is quite a tough substance that is suitable for everyday wear, but in order to maintain its luster and color, it should be cared for properly. To clean your pietersite, 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 jewelry or gemstones before exercising, cleaning or engaging in harsh physical activities such as sports. Store pietersite away from other gemstones to avoid scratches. It is best to wrap gemstones in soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.

  • First Published: March-18-2014
  • Last Updated: September-28-2016
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