Moldavite Gemstone Information
About Moldavite - History and Introduction
Moldavite, also known as the 'Bouteille Stone' or as 'Vltavin' in Czech, is an olive-green to dull brown-green vitreous gemstone. The unusual green gem garnered much fame and attention owing to its unusual origin. Moldavite was thought to have been formed by condensed rock vapors after a meteorite impact. Moldavite belongs to the Tektite group of minerals, which is a small family of natural glass rocks. Moldavite is sometimes touted as 'the only known extraterrestrial gemstone on Earth', or as 'the gemstone born from the stars'.
Moldavite was once thought to be an artificial product, and for a long time, it was even believed to be a variety of volcanic obsidian glass. Moldavite was first introduced as 'chrysolites' by Professor Josef Mayer of Prague University. Later, the name 'chysolites' was replaced by 'moldavite' as it was to be named after 'Moldauthein' the town of where the first specimens of were discovered and described. Gem-quality moldavite is typically offered in two grades; regular and museum grade. The finest specimens are museum grade. Museum grade moldavite exhibits higher transparency and displays a distinct fern-like pattern. Regular moldavite is typically darker green, often brownish in color and its surfaces appear pitted or weathered.
Identifying Moldavite Back to Top
Moldavite is a pale to dark-green or brown-green gemstone belonging to the tektite group of minerals. Gemologically, it is a type of natural glass with an amorphous crystal structure. It contains silicon dioxide (SiO2) and aluminum oxide (AlO3). It has a relatively good level of hardness, rating 5.5 on the Mohs scale. Its density ranges from 2.32 to 2.38 and its refractive index is similar to volcanic glass obsidian. Moldavite exhibits a vitreous luster when cut and polished and often has a rough, scarred surface.
Moldavite; Origin and Sources Back to Top
Moldavite gets its name from the town of Moldauthein in the Czech Republic, where it was first found. Currently, moldavite deposits have been found in Southern and Northwestern Bohemia, Western Moravia, Lusatia (Germany) and Waldviertel (Austria). It is estimated that 99% of all moldavite is sourced from South Bohemia and 1% is sourced from South Moravia. Small, scattered findings of gem-quality moldavite have also been reported in Dresden, West Bohemia and Austria.
The total amount of moldavite in the world is estimated to be about 275 tons' worth. Previously, there were four moldavite mines in operation throughout the Czech Republic, but today only one pit remains, which legally produces moldavite on a commercial level. It is estimated that all gem-quality moldavite will be completely exhausted in about ten years' time.
Buying Moldavite and Determining Moldavite Value Back to Top
Moldavite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Moldavite: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
Moldavite belongs to the tektite group of minerals. As a type of natural glass, it is closely related to the volcanic glass known as obsidian. Obsidian is a very popular jewelry gemstone which comes in a few different trade name varieties, such as 'gold-sheen obsidian' and 'snowflake obsidian'. Obsidian is also often found or used in the layering of many natural or man-made doublet or triplet stones. Some possibilities for Moldavite confusion include apatite, diopside, beryl, sapphire, tourmaline and green bottle glass.
Depending on origin of discovery, many related tektites answer to a variety of names, including Austraite (Australia), Billtonite (Borneo), Georgiaite (Georgia, USA), Indochinite (Indonchina), Javanite (Java) and Philippinice (Philippines).
Moldavite Mythology, Metaphysical and Crystal Healing Back to Top
According to Czechoslovakian legends, moldavite was thought to bring good luck to its wearer. It was commonly used to help harmonize marital relationships and for creating talismans and amulets, thought to bring good fortune, protection and help with fertility. Throughout the Middle Ages, moldavite was highly prized and was strictly reserved for those born of royal blood and nobility. In Sanskrit, moldavite's name is 'agni mani' which means 'fire pearl'. Moldavite is associated with the mystical bird; the phoenix, which was said to have been consumed and reborn by fire.
Moldavite is not a traditional birthstone but it is a natural birthstone for those fortunate enough to be born during mid-spring; between April 20 and May 20. Although moldavite is not associated with any specific zodiac sign, it is considered a stone of the stars and therefore is a universal gem for all astrological signs. Physically, moldavite is thought to help alleviate gout, asthma, allergies and rashes, and help overcome symptoms of flu, anemia and colds.
Moldavite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Moldavite is fairly soft compared to most jewelry gemstones and its rarity makes it unsuitable for any mainstream designs. However, high-quality transparent materials are often used in hand-crafted custom jewelry, particularly well-faceted stones. Rough crystals are often worn as pendants, but most moldavite specimens are primarily exhibited by collectors.
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.
Famous Moldavite Gemstones Back to Top
In the 1960s, Queen Elizabeth II received a gift of moldavite on the tenth anniversary of her coronation from the Swiss government. It was a raw stone set in platinum and accented with diamond and black pearl. Madonna was also known to carry a rosary of faceted moldavite beads made for Pope John Paul II, which was given to the Pope as a gift from the people of Czechoslovakia. There is also a museum in Ceský Krumlov, the Czech Republic dedicated to fine moldavite specimens.
Moldavite Gemstone Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Moldavite is fairly soft and fragile compared to most other jewelry gemstones. Thus, it requires some extra care. When cleaning moldavite, avoid the use of any harsh chemicals or cleaners. Do not use any heat or steam cleaners and avoid ultrasonic cleaners. You can wipe your stones down using a plain soft cloth and mild soapy water. Be sure to rinse your gems well to remove any soapy residue.
Do not expose your gems and jewelry to extreme temperature fluctuations and be sure to avoid prolonged exposure to strong sunlight. Do not store your moldavite gems and jewelry with other types of gems. Gemstones should be stored separately and wrapped in soft cloth or placed inside a fabric-lined jewelry box. Always remove any moldavite jewelry before exercising, playing sports or engaging in any vigorous household chores.
- First Published: February-19-2014
- Last Updated: May-30-2014
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