A recent discovery, gaspeite is a very rare nickel carbonate mineral named for the place it was first described, in the Gaspé Peninsula in eastern Canada. The mineral was first described by D.W. Kohls and J.L. Rodda in 1966. Specimens have also been found in New Mexico in the United States and in Western Australia. Gaspeite is typically a pale to bright green color that is often referred to as apple green.
Gemologically, gaspeite is a nickel magnesium iron carbonate. Crystals of gaspeite are typically translucent, but the mineral is usually found in an opaque massive form in nature. Gaspeite is quite a dense material, with a specific gravity of 3.7, roughly the same as members of the garnet family. It has a hardness rating of 4.5 to 5.0 on the Mohs scale, similar to apatite. Gaspeite has perfect cleavage in 3 directions. Its luster is vitreous to dull.
Gaspeite was initially discarded as a worthless byproduct in the mining of nickel sulfide but it has been gaining popularity within the gem market. This is partly due to its rarity and partly due to it resemblance to the rare green turquoise. It is often set in silver alongside gems such as turquoise, chrysoprase, malachite, sugilite and lapis lazuli.
Since gaspeite is a slightly soft gemstone, it is not recommended for rings unless well-protected by a bezel setting. You will most often see gaspeite set in pendants or pins, or beaded.
- First Published: April-01-2009
- Last Updated: October-07-2010
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