Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rock Review: Kyanite

Have the winter blues? Instead of chasing them away, indulge in them a bit with a look at the lovely deep blue Kyanite.
Geology Buzz
Kyanite is a type of silicate mineral that is very rich in aluminum. It can be found in both sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. It’s lovely cobalt blue color is derived from the presence of aluminum. Occasionally, Kyanite can also be orange, if manganese is present during its development. Some Kyanite gems can have a cat’s eye effect that is beautiful to behold.
Kyanite has a special trait called anisotropism, meaning it’s hardness can vary based on the crystal structure present in each formation. It can be as low as a 4.5 on Moh’s scale of hardness and as high as a 7 depending on if it’s planes are parallel or perpendicular to the axis of the gem. A parallel plane is softer, where as a perpendicular plane is harder. This trait is also a key identifying feature of this particular gem. Kyanite also has perfect cleavage in one direction, making it well suited to certain gemstone cuts like baguette, octagon, oval and pear styles.
Fun Facts
Kyanite gets its name from the Greek word kyanos for blue. Although Kyanite was discovered in the 19th century, it has remained a lesser known gem to much of the gem world. Today, most Kyanite hails from India, although it can be found also stateside in North Carolina, Montana and Georgia.
Besides being used in jewelry, Kyanite is also used in many ceramics manufacturing processes. It also can be found in electronics or as an electric insulator.
Kyanite is a useful stone in balancing energy, making it a favorite for those who enjoy the metaphysical properties of gemstones and minerals. It instills a sense of tranquility in its wearers that makes it ideal for those practicing meditation. It’s also believed to assist with enhancing psychic abilities as well as lucid dreaming.

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