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Sugilite on a matrix of barite crystals

Sugilite is a relatively rare mineral from the group of silicates. It's rarely found in the form of prismatic crystals, often in the form of irregular grains, solid aggregates and dense opaque mass. Sugilite color varies from light tan, pink and purple to bright magenta, purple and red-purple. Sugilite has a well-marked pleochroism (ability to detect different colors in the light passing through them), some of the samples observed dichroism in the form of "Alexandrite" color effect (changes color depending on the light).

Sugilite derived its name in honor of Ken-ichi Sugi (1901-1948), Japanese petrologist, who first described the mineral found on the island Ivagi (Japan) in 1944. Nevertheless, sugilite was officially recognized as a new mineral in 1976 after the discovery of its large samples in the north of South Africa, at Wessels manganese mine. South African sugilite has a bright purple-violet or lilac color saturated; the gem has been known in the international jewelry market since 1979.

Sugilite cabochons
click to enlarge

Except Japan and South Africa, sugilite also found in the province of Quebec (Canada), in the Tien Shan (Tajikistan) and some other places: Italy, Wales, Australia and India. It's believed that sugilite is one of the most useful stone for those looking for true love and does not want to settle for relations based on a calculation or carnal passion. Sugilite broadens the mind of the owner, gives him the respect for cultural values and learning to be kind, forgiving and patient.

Translucent sugilite of deep rich tones with no cracks and inclusions is used in jewelry. Individual crystals and translucent sections of massive aggregates are sometimes subjected to cutting. The Smithsonian Museum (Washington, DC, USA) presents a faceted sugilite weighing 23.5 carats.

Usually sugilite for various jewelry (necklaces, rings, earrings, pendants, etc.) is processed in the form of a cabochon. Massive opaque sugilite is used to make bowls, figurines, beads, used in mosaics with other stones. The volume of production of this mineral is small and the largest of its deposits are almost worked out, so the price of jewelry with sugilite is steadily rising on the jewelry market, and glass and other simulations is increasing.

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