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: Melanite Info

Melanite Gemstone Information

About Melanite - History and Introduction

Melanite is a glossy black garnet gemstone that is sometimes referred to as "titanian andradite" due to its titanium content. It is one of the three varieties of the rare andradite garnet group, and should not be confused with melonite, which is a telluride of nickel. Andradite takes its name from the Portuguese mineralogist who discovered it; Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva (1763 - 1838), who was also responsible for discovering three other minerals. Andradite has a high refractive index. This means that andradite garnet has a beautiful lustre. The rare, green demantoid garnet is also a type of andradite that is prized for its lustre. In fact, the name "demantoid" is taken from the German word "demant", meaning "diamond", in reference to its brilliance.

Black Melanite Gemstone
Black Melanite Gemstone
Identifying Melanite Back to Top

Melanite can be identified by a combination of its colour and refractive index. It can also be distinguished from other opaque black gems by its magnetism, which is due to the presence of iron.

Melanite; Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top

Melanite is found in Russia, Azerbaijan, Mali (Africa), Mexico, Germany, France, Italy and the USA (Arizona, Colorado and California).

Buying Melanite and Determining Melanite Gemstone Value Back to Top

Melanite Colour

Melanite contains titanium, which gives it a lustrous black hue. The deep black colour of melanite is comparable to black tourmaline, jet, black sapphire and black diamond.

Melanite Clarity and Lustre

Melanite is an opaque stone with a brilliant sub-adamantine lustre. Its glossy sparkle makes it perfect for jewellery use. Some describe the lustre of melanite as sub-metallic. Melanite gemstones are usually eye-clean.

Melanite Cut and Shape

Melanite's hardness and absence of cleavage makes it a versatile gemstone that can be cut into a variety of shapes and faceted to best show its lustre. Brilliant-cut shows off the excellent lustre of melanite.

Melanite Treatment

Melanite naturally exhibits a wonderful colour and is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way.

Melanite Gemmological Properties: Back to Top
Chemical Formula: Ca3Fe2(SiO4)3 Calcium iron silicate
Crystal Structure: Isometric, dodecahedral, trapezohedral
Colour: Black, very dark-red
Hardness: 6.5 - 7 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.89 - 1.94
Density: 3.7 - 4.1
Cleavage: None
Transparency: Translucent to opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence: None
Lustre: Sub-adamantine to vitreous
Fluorescence: None

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

Melanite: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
Black Tourmaline
Black Tourmaline

Since melanite is a member of the garnet group, it is closely related to other andradite garnets (demantoid and topazolite), almandine garnets, pyrope garnets (rhodolite), spessartite garnets, grossularite garnets (hydrogrossular, hessonite, leuco garnet and tsavorite) and uvarovite. Melanite can be mistaken for other black gems such as onyx, black tourmaline, black spinel and black sapphire. It is also possible to mistake melanite for black glass.

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

Since melanite is a type of garnet, the properties that are attributed to garnets can also be applied to it. Additionally, melanite is said to encourage positive feelings, boost self-confidence, provide stability and balance, and heighten creativity. Physically, melanite is thought to help blood production and flow, bronchial disorders, absorption of calcium, magnesium and iron, and eyesight.

In traditional Hindu belief systems, melanite is associated with the first chakra, or the "root chakra", which is positioned at the base of the spine. The root chakra when clear is associated with vitality, healthy sexual activity and feelings of security and stability. Furthermore, melanite is thought to be a good stone to prevent nightmares and bring positive energy to places.

Garnet in general is the traditional birthstone for the month of January and for Aquarians.

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.
Melanite Gemstone and Jewellery Design Ideas Back to Top

Melanite's beautiful natural dark, elegant colour makes it eternally fashionable for both young and old, male and female. Melanite gemstones make for a dramatic, high-fashion look. They can be fashioned into vintage, gothic, Celtic and punk-inspired designs, or modern, edgy pieces. Melanite gemstones are available in both large and small sizes, in a range of shapes, so a great variety of jewellery can be created using these dark and mysterious stones. Melanite gemstones can also be combined with coloured gemstones or clear white gems and subtle-coloured gems, such as smoky quartz, or even with different metals, and shapes for an interesting and modern mix of shade and texture that can be worn with anything.

Note: Buy coloured gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Coloured stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.

Melanite Gemstone Jewellery Care and Cleaning Back to Top

How to clean your gemstones Melanite gemstones are quite tough and durable. Proper care for melanite gemstones includes protecting them from hard blows, which could damage them. To clean your melanite, simply use warm 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 jewellery or gemstones before exercising, cleaning or engaging in harsh physical activities such as sport. Store melanite gemstones away from other gemstones to avoid scratches. It is best to wrap gemstones in soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewellery box.

  • First Published: February-19-2014
  • Last Updated: May-30-2014
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Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart