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Rare Rocks

10.07.2013

It's been tough to get back to my rocks and making jewelry since my father passed away.  Then over the summer, life got pretty busy and I was away for most of the summer months.  But now it's fall and time to get back to work. 

In case you don't follow my facebook page, I've been sharing information about 12 of the most rare gemstones on earth each month this year. Like birders with their life lists, rock hounds have rare gems and rocks we long to see or add to our collections.  Some of us will travel great distances to find them.  The 12 I'm covering this year on facebook include some that I've actually seen, and many I have not.

For October, the rock is poudretteite.  I have no idea how you are supposed to say it, but if my French classes are of any help, it would be something like pooh-dreh-tite. 

Poudretteite is named after the Poudrette family who owned the quarry where is was originally found in the Mont St. Hilaire area of Quebec back in the mid-1960s.  Seven tiny crystals were originally found.  They were not identified as a new crystal/rock until 1986 when the new specimen was registered.  Since that time, additional crystals have been found in the Mogok region of Myanmar.  This location produces much larger crystals, however anything over 1 carat is considered extra rare.  The largest crystal ever cut is 9.41 carats; this stone came from a 21.22 piece of rough.  The faceted stone is on display at the Smithsonian.

Poudretteite is a potassium sodium boron silicate; the primary color causing element is manganese.  This results in colorless, pink and purple crystals.  Poudretteite is a fairly soft stone, only a 5 on the Mohs scale. 

Prices for good color in a clean stone run about $6000 per carat.

I've checked out quite a few photos of poudretteite, but the only one I've ever seen in person is the one at the Smithsonian.  It's gorgeous! And I can cross this one off my list of stones to see.

Happy hunting for your rare rocks.

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