Axinite Gemstone Information
About Axinite - History and Introduction
Axinite is a rare group of calcium aluminum borate silicate minerals that rarely occur in gemstone quality. The name 'axinite' was derived from a Greek word meaning 'axe'. Axinite's color can vary depending on its exact composition, but most axinite gemstones occur with a golden brown color. Other colors range from lilac to violet and from brown to reddish brown.
Axinite is a very popular gemstone among mineral collectors due to its rarity and unusual crystal structure. Axinite's crystal system is triclinic, with crystals appearing flat and spatula-shaped. All varieties of axinite minerals share the same crystal system, and have slightly varying compositions of mainly calcium with iron, magnesium or manganese. Axinite's density, or specific gravity, depends on the exact ratio of chemical composition within a specific specimen. Axinite has distinct, good cleavage, with a conchoidal, brittle fracture, which can make the gemstone somewhat fragile compared to other gemstones, but it has relatively good hardness, ranging from 6.5 - 7 on the Mohs scale.
Axinite Pleochroic, Pyro- and Piezoelectric Properties
Axinite is one of the few gemstones that possess a unique trait known as pleochroism. Pleochroic gemstones can display a variety of colors depending on the light and angle from which they are viewed. Pleochroism only exists in gems with doubly refractive crystals and it is caused by differing absorption of light rays within the crystal. Andalusite is another gemstone that exhibits pleochroism, as well as tanzanite, kyanite and iolite. Singly refractive gemstones cannot exhibit pleochroism. Such singly refractive gems include both diamond and spinel.
Axinite has a distinctively strong vitreous luster when cut and polished, and it also has intriguing pyro- and piezoelectric properties. Pyro- and piezoelectric gemstones have the ability to generate an electrical current when heated or cooled rapidly, or when pressure or stress is applied to the crystal. It is a very unusual trait and only a few gemstones are known to exhibit piezoelectricity, such as tourmaline and prehnite.
Axinite is a strongly pleochroic gemstone that can be easily identified by its different colors that can be seen when it is viewed from different angles. Although it is not the same as 'color change', it can sometimes appear that way. Golden brown axinite can sometimes resemble smoky quartz, but smoky quartz's absence of pleochroism makes it easily distinguishable. Andalusite, sphene and barite bear a similar appearance to axinite, and hessonite garnet, chrysoberyl, topaz and tourmaline, which have yellow tones can sometimes be confused with axinite. However axinite's color is very distinctive, making it easily identifiable.
Axinite deposits are found in Brazil, France, Mexico, USA (especially Baja California), Sri Lanka, Russia, Pakistan and Tanzania. Axinite gemstones develop and form within cavities and veins of granite.
Buying Axinite and Determining Axinite Gemstone Value
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Axinite is a strongly pleochroic gem, which means it can display several different colors depending on the viewing and lighting angle. There are many color varieties of axinite, but it most typically occurs in a light golden brown or reddish brown color. Other colors can include lilac, purple, brown, black, and pale blue to gray, as well as yellow-orange.
Axinite Clarity and Luster
Axinite has a vitreous luster when cut and polished. Axinite is almost always included and eye-clean specimens are very rare. Most will display obvious veils and other inclusions, but these inclusions are considered acceptable for this gem type.
Axinite Cut and Shape
Axinite is typically faceted and not cut en cabochon, unlike smoky quartz, which can closely resemble axinite. Traditional cuts like oval, round, pear and cushion are most popular, but since axinite is relatively rare and unheard of, fancy shapes such as trillions and hearts are hard to find due to limited demand.
Axinite is not typically treated or enhanced. There have been reports of epoxy being used for stabilization and other color enhancements, but this is not common. There are no known official treatments or enhancements for axinite, making it one of the few gemstones that remain untreated throughout production.
||(Ca,Fe,Mn,Mg)2Al2BSi4O15(OH) Calcium aluminum borate silicate
||Triclinic, platy crystals
||Brown, violet, blue, golden, lilac
||6.5 - 7 on the Mohs scale
||1.656 - 1.704
||3.26 - 3.36
|Double Refraction / Birefringence:
||-0.010 to -0.012
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details on gemology-related terms.
|Brown Smoky Quartz
Axinite is a group of minerals that rarely occurs in gemstone quality material. There are several varieties of axinite gemstones that are based on chemical composition, for example, magnesium, manganese and iron. A few similar gemstones are known to exist with similar colors that can resemble axinite, smoky quartz and andalusite being the most common. Since axinite is much softer than quartz, a simple scratch test can help distinguish between the two.
Most Popular Axinite Varieties:
Ferro-axinite, an iron rich lilac, brown to black axinite, and magnesio-axinite, a magnesium rich, pale blue to gray variety, are the most popular varieties of axinite.
Lesser-Known Axinite Varieties:
Manganaxinite, a manganese rich, yellow to orange colored variety and tinzenite, an iron and manganese intermediate yellow colored axinite are the rarer and lesser-known varieties.
Axinite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Healing Powers
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Axinite is considered to be a stone of truth and it is thought to help reveal inner-truths. It has the metaphysical ability to assist in avoiding and resolving power struggles and other conflicts of authority, by increasing communication and reducing resentment.
Axinite is also known as a grounding stone and can promote vitality in its wearer. It is associated with the third eye and the root chakra, and represents the zodiacal sign of Capricorn. Physically, axinite is thought to help with bone alignment and maintenance of the spinal cord. It is also believed to alleviate pain associated with fractures and injuries to the musculoskeletal system.
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.
Axinite is relatively unheard of by most people and most likely won't be found in local jewelry stores. Although it is sufficiently hard enough for jewelry use, care should be taken when wearing axinite as jewelry. Axinite is best suited for jewelry with protective style settings and limited to necklaces, earrings, pendants, pins and brooches, or other types of 'protected' jewelry. The color and pleochroism of axinite is what makes it so attractive, as well as its soft, light, highly desirable golden brown to reddish brown colors. Axinite is rather affordable compared to other gems, despite its rarity, making it an excellent gemstone choice for jewelry designs, assuming that there is a good supply.
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.
Axinite Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning
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Axinite is relatively durable and hard. Since it is harder than most materials, caring for axinite is relatively hassle-free. However, due to axinite's pyro- and piezoelectric properties, it has a habit of collecting dust more than most other gems and needs to be wiped down frequently. Care should be taken when cleaning in order to retain brilliance, polish and luster. Axinite can be cleaned using a soft cloth a mild soap or detergent. Avoid the use of harsh chemicals or bleach when cleaning axinite. After using detergent, rinse well to remove soapy residue in order to retain axinite's attractive luster. The use of ultrasonic cleaners or steamers is not recommended. Avoid any extreme heat or temperature fluctuations because it can cause permanent damage to your gemstones or jewelry. When storing axinite gemstones or jewelry, store them separately from other gemstones. Always wrap them in a soft cloth or place in a fabric-lined jewelry box.