Enstatite Gemstone Information
About Enstatite - History and Introduction
Enstatite is a rare gemstone variety that belongs to the pyroxene group of minerals. It was first described in 1855 by G. A. Kenngott and was assigned its unusual name from the Greek words for 'resistor', in reference to its high melting point. The mineral enstatite is rather common, but transparent gemstone-quality crystals are quite rare. Enstatite is one of the lesser-known gemstones and is primarily a collector's gem, owing to its rarity. Enstatite in its purest form is actually transparent and colorless. Its green-brown color and opacity is owed to iron impurities. Some enstatite gemstones may also form with traces of hematite and goethite. The iron oxide inclusions may result in a bronze-like color and a slightly metallic luster. Enstatite may also be found with asterism (cat's eye effect) due to needle-like inclusions.
Identifying Enstatite Back to Top
Enstatite is an end-member of the pyroxene group of minerals, which also includes several other gemstone varieties. By composition, enstatite is a magnesium silicate. In some cases, iron replaces much of the magnesium. If a significant percentage of its magnesium composition is substituted by iron, the gemstone may be classified as 'hypersthene'. Enstatite has a hardness of 5.5 on the Mohs scale and its specific gravity ranges from 3.2 to 3.3. It is strongly pleochroic and exhibits perfect prismatic cleavage. Enstatite often has a metallic luster because of hematite or goethite inclusions. Though most enstatite is green-brown, cat's eye and star enstatite is typically green-gray in color.
Enstatite; Origin and Sources Back to Top
Enstatite is quite common as a mineral, but is rarely found in transparent, gemstone-quality form. It is a mineral that is frequently found in meteorites, often together with olivine. Some of the most notable sources for fine enstatite include Austria, Brazil, Canada (Labrador) France, Germany, India, Myanmar/Burma (Mogok), East Africa, South Africa, Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) and the United States (Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas).
Buying Enstatite and Determining Enstatite Value Back to Top
Enstatite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Enstatite: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
Some gemstone varieties of enstatite include bronzite and chrome enstatite. Bronzite may also exhibit chatoyancy when polished, resulting in a cat's eye effect or asterism (star effect). Enstatite may be easily confused with various other similar gemstones such as andalusite, kornerupine, idocrase, sphalerite and brownish zircon.
Enstatite Mythology, Metaphysical and Crystal Healing Back to Top
Enstatite is not a well-known gemstone, but it does still have its place in the world of metaphysical and crystal healing. Its use may vary slightly depending on the exact color, but in general, it is best used to balance the energies of the crown and solar plexus chakras. Although enstatite is not recognized as a modern birthstone for any given month, it is considered to be one of the birthstones for the zodiacal sign of Aries. It is sometimes known as the 'stone of chivalry'. Enstatite crystals are believed to encourage ambition and desire in those who wear it. It is often helpful for lifting mood and it can be used to help ease and resolve past regressions. Enstatite may also help eliminate fears.
Enstatite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Enstatite is not a gemstone that is used for mainstream jewelry, though it may be found in some rare custom-designed jewelry. Since enstatite is rare and rather soft, it is primarily a collector's gem. Its use in jewelry should be limited to earrings, pendants and other types of occasional-wear or protected jewelry designs. Enstatite is often cut en cabochon or drilled for gemstones beads. Enstatite is also often carved as an ornamental gemstone.
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.
Enstatite Gemstone Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Enstatite is rather soft, comparable to diopside or opal. It also has perfect cleavage in two directions so care should be taken during cutting, polishing and setting. Avoid knocks and blows, as they can cause enstatite gemstones to split. When cleaning, avoid ultrasonic cleaners and heat steamers. Simply use warm water and a mild soap or detergent. Wipe stones down using a soft cloth and be sure to rinse well to remove any soapy residue. Avoid using any harsh chemical or cleaners, such as bleach, ammonia or acid. Also avoid any prolonged exposure to heat, direct sunlight or extreme temperature fluctuations.
Always remove any enstatite jewelry before cleaning or engaging in vigorous physical activities such as sports and exercise. Enstatite can be easily scratched by other harder gems and jewelry, so it should be stored separately from other gemstones. It is best to wrap enstatite gemstones in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.
- First Published: June-11-2014
- Last Updated: May-16-2017
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