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Ulexite: A Natural Fiber Optic Gemstone

Ulexite Cat's Eye Gemstone
Ulexite Cat's Eye Gemstone

Ulexite is rare collector's gemstone, known for its natural fiber optic ability. Although it is considered to be a lesser-known gem, it is becoming increasingly popular, particularly for its very unusual visual characteristics. Ulexite is sometimes referred to as the 'TV rock' or 'television rock'. This is because these unusual gemstones have the ability to transmit images or light (much like a television) through internal reflection. Ulexite is a natural fiber optic, and when properly cut and oriented, high quality, gem-grade ulexite will transmit an image of what appears underneath the stone onto the surface of the stone. In fact, rudimentary images can be seen through rough material, even before it is cut and polished.

Ulexite was named after German chemist, George Ludwig Ulex, who was first credited with analyzing the unique mineral. Ulexite is most often found as deposits of rounded crystalline masses or as parallel fibers with little gemstone value. Gem-quality material is very rare; it is usually transparent to translucent with an attractive white color and a silky luster when polished. Ulexite is extremely fibrous in nature, so materials that can be cut are usually fashioned into cabochons to maximize chatoyancy. Ulexite is composed of complex hydrous sodium calcium borate. It has a fairly low Mohs hardness rating of just 2 to 2.5. Its specific gravity (density) is 1.65 to 1.95, and its refractive index can range from 1.491 to 1.50.

Ulexite Rough Transmitting Text
Ulexite Rough Transmitting Text

Ulexite belongs to the rare group of borate minerals. Minerals and gemstones belonging to the borate family are very rare, because they can form only under one specific geological condition (geologically active intermontane basins). Other gemstones belonging to the borate group include howlite and calcite. Interestingly, calcite has some very unique optical traits of its own, which have sparked scientific experiments in order to research possibilities of an actual "cloak of invisibility".

In the world of metaphysics and crystal healing, ulexite gemstones are believed to help strengthen vision and lessen fatigue. They are said to be useful in helping to balance the third eye chakra and are thought to help enhance creativity and imagination for those who wear them. As a stone of vision, the "television stone" is thought to enhance telepathic abilities through meditation and intuition. Ulexite is a gemstone that is believed to work well when used with other gemstones such as moldavite and calcite.

Ulexite deposits can be found in several areas around the world including Argentina, Canada, Chile, Kazakhstan, Peru and Russia. In the United States, ulexite can be found in California and Nevada.

  • First Published: November-14-2014
  • Last Updated: February-07-2022
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