Zultanite – A Relatively New, Extremely Rare Gemstone Popular in Jewelry Design
Zultanite is an extremely rare gemstone used in jewelry design, and was a popular choice at the 2011 Couture conference, which features the most unique, innovative and inventive jewelry design. Famous jewelry designers such as Stephen Webster, Erica Courtney and Rhonda Faber Green all incorporated zultanite into their collections. Zultanite changes color in light, ranging from a kiwi green with flashes of yellow in sunlight conditions to raspberry hues in candlelight.
Zultanite is relatively new to the jewelry world (commercial production started in 2006), and is only found via one source in the world: a remote mountain area in Anatolia, Turkey. The rare gemstone is exclusively mined by Ottoman Gem (Suisse), GmbH, at the height of just above 4,000 ft. However, through increased mechanization, production of the stone is expected to double this year.
GIA classifies Zultanite as a Type II transparent gemstone, meaning that it is usually eye-clean (no visible inclusions when the gem is examined approximately 6 inches from the naked eye) with some inclusions visible under 10x magnification. Inclusions are tiny natural features that grow within a crystal during a gem’s formation within the Earth. Generally microscopic, inclusions are a fascinating hallmark of authenticity, recording a gem’s natural relationship with the Earth. Inclusions are very useful to gemologists when separating natural gemstones from synthetics and imitations.
Zultanite registers 7 out of 10 on the Mohs’ Hardness Scale (a system devised in the 18th century by a Viennese mineralogist Friedrich Mohs to measure the ability of a gem to resist surface scratching), has a refractive index of 1.75 and specific gravity of 3.39. These characteristics make zultanite an excellent jewelry gemstone. As 100% natural gemstone, zultanite is one of the few gems that has no known enhancements or treatments.
You may also enjoy this article iDazzle.com that talks all about zultanite and interviews designers such as Erica Courtney (who visited the zultanite mines in Turkey.)
What are your thoughts on zultanite – would you wear it?