Clinohumite Gemstone Information
About Clinohumite - History and Introduction
Clinohumite is a gemstone quality magnesium silicate with a chemical formula distinguished by silicate and oxide layers. It is an extremely rare mineral and an especially rare gemstone. Clinohumite is a member of the humite group of minerals, which also includes humite, norbergite and chondrodite. Of the humite group, only chondrodite and clinohumite are known to produce gemstone quality deposits. The humite group of minerals was named after Sir Abraham Hume (1749-1838). Hume was a very well-respected English mineralogist, as well as a renowned collector of fine art.
Clinohumite was first discovered in 1876. Until recently, it was thought to be one of the ten rarest gemstones in the world, with only a few thousand carats worth of gemstones known to exist in private collections. The first specimens of clinohumite were discovered in limestone blocks that had erupted from Mount Vesuvius near Naples, Italy. Later, more deposits of clinohumite were discovered in the Pamir Mountains during the early 1980s, and in the early 2000s, another deposit was found in the Taymyr Peninsula in the Far North of Russia. The most recent find was discovered in the Mahenge Plateau in the Ulanga District of the Morogoro Region of Tanzania, Africa in 2005.
Identifying Clinohumite Back to Top
Clinohumite is a magnesium silicate with a color reminiscent of spessartite and hessonite garnet, but garnet is harder than clinohumite, which can help to distinguish between these minerals. Also, since clinohumite is extremely rare and limited only to a few specific regions of the world, in most cases, the mining origin can often help with identification. Gemologically, clinohumite has a hardness of 6 on the Mohs scale; a specific gravity (density) ranging from 3.2 to 3.4, similar to that of diopside; and a refractive index ranging from 1.631 to 1.668, between that of apatite and peridot. Its crystals are monoclinic, usually granular or prismatic in structure, and crystal lamellar twinning is common, which can result in a highly variable habits. Clinohumite's distinct basal cleavage can often help identify it from other similar gems and minerals.
Clinohumite Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
Clinohumite forms through the geological process of contact metamorphism and is commonly found embedded in limestone as indistinct grains. The most famous sources for fine gemstone-quality clinohumite include the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, the Taymyr region of Siberia, Russia, and the Mahenge Plateau of Tanzania, Africa. Other notable sources include Mt. Vesuvius near Naples in Italy, Pargas in Finland, Llanos de Juanar in Spain and the USA, including New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Buying Clinohumite and Determining Clinohumite Gemstone Value Back to Top
Clinohumite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Clinohumite: Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Clinohumite is quite similar to hessonite and spessartite garnet by way of appearance, but chemically, it is more closely related to various minerals like talc, geikielite, lazurite, dolomite and calcite. Serpentine is also a magnesium silicate and although it is not in the same humite mineral family, it is chemically similar. Clinohumite is a minor constituent in peridotite, which is the mineral responsible for gem-quality olivine, or better known as peridot. Common impurities of clinohumite include aluminium, manganese and calcium.
Clinohumite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
Clinohumite is relatively unknown and especially rare, thus it lacks much of the lore that many other gemstones carry. However, there are still quite a few metaphysical beliefs associated with this rare golden gemstone. Clinohumite is thought to carry a spicy type of energy; both revitalizing and energizing. It is believed to allow energy to flow freely between the navel and solar plexus chakras.
Physically, clinohumite is said to be excellent for liver detoxification and it's believed to help improve focus, vision and sight. Clinohumite can help the flow of all 'chi', since it is thought to dilate blood vessels, allowing more room for physical and energy circulation. Mentally, clinohumite is said to be excellent for depression. It is also said to help relax the mind and help induce sleep, being especially helpful for those with sleeping disorders and insomnia.
Clinohumite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Clinohumite is considered to be quite durable with a hardness of 6 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Thus, it is actually quite suitable for most jewelry designs, though rings should be worn with caution. However, owing to the rarity of this fine gem, it likely won't ever be found in any local retail jewelry stores. Any clinohumite jewelry designs will need to be custom designed and made.
Clinohumite does have an attractive golden color, but owing to the presence of visible inclusions (considered typical for this gem type), it is a gem that is sought after mostly by elite gem collectors, rather than jewelry designers.
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.
Clinohumite Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Clinohumite gemstones are rather durable, but are still considered to be quite fragile compared to more popular mainstream jewelry gemstones. Clinohumite has poor cleavage and it also has a brittle tenacity, which can cause fractures and chips, and requires extra care when being set, cleaned or worn. Avoid steamers or ultrasonic cleaners when cleaning clinohumite gemstones or jewelry.
Do not use any harsh cleaning agents, especially bleach and acid. Clinohumite gemstones can be wiped with a soft cloth or brush and a mild soap or detergent if needed. Be sure to rinse your stones well using warm or room-temperature water to remove soapy residue.
Always remove jewelry when engaging in any type of vigorous physical activity, including household chores, exercise or sports. It is best to store gems and jewelry separately to prevent scratches and fractures. When storing clinohumite gemstones, wrap them in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined box.
- First Published: November-29-2013
- Last Updated: May-27-2014
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