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Scapolite

Scapolite owns its name from the greek meaning ?shaft? as it is usually found as long prismatic rod like crystals. Gem quality scapolite was originally discovered in 1913 in the Mogok Stone Tract in upper Burma (Myanmar). There, white, pink, yellowish or violet stones of high quality are found. Many of these stones can be cut into cabochons with fine cat?s eyes. Since the discovery in Burma, other gem quality stones have been found in Madagascar, Mozambique, Brazil, and Kenya. Scapolite is commonly not seen as a cut gemstone in fine jewelry with the exception of the exquisite cat?s eyes gemstones it can produce. Such fine gemstones are still very rare gemstones as the material is not abundant. It can be quite transparent with fine color. Faceted stones are searched to make a nice addition to any gemologist?s compilation.

The hardness of the mineral makes it best suited for pendants or earrings. Otherwise, it is an interesting mineral to add to a collection. Because scapolite is a mixture of minerals, the specific gravity and refractive index will vary. However, most stones have a hardness near 6 on the Mohs scale. Some yellow scapolite may be confused with citrine or yellow beryl. One method to differentiate scapolite from these other stones is by the use of a long-wave ultra-violet light. Scapolite can fluoresce with a yellowish to orange color. Quartz and beryl do not display such fluorescence. The mineral scapolite, also known as wernerite, is actually a series of minerals run from marialite (Na4Cl(Al3Si9O24)) to meionite (Ca4(SO4CO3)(Al6Si6O24)). This means that the scapolite series of minerals are silicates of aluminum with calcium and sodium.

This mineral crystallizes in the tetragonal system and individual crystals may have a short prismatic habit with terminated with low pyramid faces. Scapolite is typically found in metamorphic or less commonly igneous rocks. Pink, purple and yellow scapolites make nice gemstones for jewelry. Cat's eye scapolite display strong chatoyancy or cat's eye effect due to the fibrous tube like inclusions often found. The eye can be absolutely stunning and ranks among the most beautiful variety in the cat's eye gem kingdom.