Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rock Review: Olivine

In today’s rock review we’ll explore Olivine!
Geology Buzz
Olivine is a mineral composed of Magnesium, Iron and Silicon. Many jewelry lovers may actually own Olivine in their collection without even realizing it because Peridot is also a variety of Olivine that occurs when Olivine melts and recrystallizes into a different structure. The gem is distinguished as a Peridot when it is vitreous and translucent. Chrysolite, coming from Greek for “gold stone” is also another name for Olivine.
Olivine is typically green to brownish green although it also can have red or maroon banding. It gets it’s green tones from traces of Nickel or Chromium and it’s red tones from the oxidation of Iron. Olivine, along with Quartz, is one of the most abundant minerals on the earth’s surface and can often be found in igneous rocks and sometimes in metamorphic rocks. Dolomite and other types of sedimentary rocks can be transformed into Olivine when high heat and pressure geologic events occur.
Fun Facts
While many gems hail from locals all around the globe, Olivine has them beat since it’s reach extends beyond planet Earth. It’s also been found on the moon, on Mars and in comets within meteors, rock debris, dust and other samples that scientists have collected.
Olivine can be treated with resins, waxes or oils to enhance its color. When purchasing Olivine jewelry, be sure to ask if your gemstone has been treated and if your jeweler recommends a specific method to care for it. A normal “as necessary “ cleaning routine is safe for Olivine. Just soak the gem for a few minutes in tepid water and mild soap solution, brush with a soft tooth brush if needed, and rinse again with tepid water. Finish by thoroughly drying the gem with a soft cloth. Olivine should not be left in water or left undried since it can be susceptible to water damage.

Raw Peridot

Olivine in Natural Form

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