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By Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk

Amblygonite Gemstones

Amblygonite Rough from Brazil
Amblygonite Rough from Brazil

Amblygonite gemstones typically exhibit a delicate white to straw yellow hue. While their softness and cleavability make them unsuitable for use as ring stones, collectors highly value specimens that display darker shades. It is worth noting that large faceted amblygonite stones are exceptionally rare.

Amblygonite is a common fluorophosphate mineral found in pegmatite deposits. Though the mineral is common, transparent specimens that can be faceted are quite rare, so that makes it an interesting gemstone.

Amblygonite is usually white, cream or pale yellow in color, though it can also occur in green, blue, gray or pink. Since the light colored amblygonite often looks similar to other common host rock members, it can easily be confused with minerals such as quartz and albite. However, there are two features of amblygonite that are key to its identification.

Due to its notable lithium content, amblygonite can be identified through a flame test. When powdered amblygonite is exposed to a gas burner, it produces a vibrant red flame. Another distinguishing characteristic of amblygonite is its cleavage. It cleaves in four directions, with each cleavage plane exhibiting distinct properties. Furthermore, the cleavage planes do not align perfectly at right angles to one another. In fact, the name "amblygonite" originates from the Greek words "amblus" meaning blunt and "gouia" meaning angle, referring to its obtuse cleavage angles.

Amblygonite Rough from Brazil
Amblygonite Rough from Brazil

Amblygonite was first discovered in Saxony by August Breithaupt (1791-1873) in 1817. Breithaupt was a German mineralogist who studied under Abraham Gottlob Werner at the Freiberg Mining Academy. Breithaupt became professor of mineralogy at Freiberg when Friedrich Mohs (inventor of the Mohs hardness scale) left that post to become professor at the University of Vienna. Breithaupt is credited with the discovery of 47 different mineral species.

Pale yellow faceted amblygonite can sometimes be confused with golden beryl, citrine and scapolite. However, amblygonite is softer than both beryl and citrine, with a hardness rating of 6 on the Mohs scale (similar to that of scapolite).

Gem quality amblygonite has been mined in Burma, Brazil, Sweden and the USA (California). There is also an unusual purple variety from Namibia. Amblygonite occurs in pegmatite deposits along with other lithium-bearing minerals such as apatite, spodumene, tourmaline and lepidolite.

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