Charoite Gemstone Information
If this is your first time hearing about the charoite gemstone, you’re not alone. While the charoite stone is incredibly beautiful, it’s fairly rare. As a result, even some gem enthusiasts aren’t aware of it.
However, once you see your first piece of charoite, it’s a stone you’ll never forget. Calling its color and patterning breathtaking seems like an understatement, and its unique look helps it stand out from other gems.
If you’re curious about charoite – including its composition, coloring, uses, and charoite metaphysical properties – here’s what you need to know.
Technically, charoite isn’t a gem. Instead, it’s classified as a mineral, a silicate mineral, to be precise.
One interesting point about charoite is that its makeup is highly complex, so much so that there can be debate among experts about its actual chemical composition. The main challenge is finding large, well-formed specimens for analysis. Another is that charoite tends to be interwoven with other minerals when it forms, making it hard to separate the charoite from the other stones.
Charoite tends to be only somewhat transparent. However, it accepts a polish with ease, allowing it to have a lovely luster that’s slightly pearly or silky. There can even be a cat’s eye effect caused by various inclusions typically found in charoite, an optical phenomenon known as chatoyance.
It’s also important to note that fake charoite is incredibly prevalent. For example, a version of fluorite is often marketed as charoite, even though it isn’t the real deal. At times, other stones are dyed in an attempt to match charoite’s look, creating another source of fake charoite.
Mainly, fakes hit the market because charoite is relatively rare and can command a decent price tag, giving less scrupulous people or companies an incentive to market a less valuable stone as charoite.
Charoite Stone Color
The charoite stone color is a distinct purple. The exact hue in a piece of charoite can vary. In some cases, the stone is a light lilac, while, in others, it’s a deep violet or even a dark eggplant, plum, or indigo.
Most pieces of charoite also feature striations. In most cases, the strands have the appearance of a white crystal, though they may also lean slightly gray.
The History of Charoite
One point of debate with charoite is the origin of the stone’s name. Some believe it was named after the Chara River in Russia, as charoite deposits are found nearby. Others think the name is derived from the Russian word “chary,” which means “magic” or “charm,” a reference to the impression it leaves on people who see the stone for the first time.
By and large, charoite’s history focuses on its use as an ornamental stone. The standout coloring and the stone’s ability to be beautifully polished made it popular for jewelry, stone inlays, veneers, and similar aesthetic purposes.
It’s a favorite with lapidaries looking for a unique color and striking pattern for a creation. While high-quality pieces usually end up as charoite jewelry, some are turned into small sculptures or items, like spheres or vases.
Additionally, charoite is fairly rare. As a result, using it for industrial reasons isn’t plausible, even if it potentially had properties that would make that possible.
Where Is Charoite Found?
Usually, charoite is formed in metasomatic rocks. Generally speaking, large quantities of charoite are only found in Eastern Russia.
The highly limited number of sources means that charoite isn’t just rare to find but also rare in the market. Russia essentially controls how much is mined and how much actually makes its way out of the country. As a result, charoite can be costly than many other stones.
While charoite isn’t as well known as many other gemstones, jewelry options are still relatively plentiful. You won’t generally find charoite in chain jewelry stores. However, the color is so incredibly striking that it’s ideal for ornamental purposes, causing many independent designers to enjoy working with the gem. Additionally, the stone is tough enough to stand up to wear, making it a solid choice for a variety of jewelry pieces.
For charoite jewelry, you typically won’t find faceted stones. Instead, the charoite cabochon is much more popular. A cabochon is favored for charoite rings, charoite pendants, and even charoite earrings at times.
You can also find charoite beads, both fully rounded or as tumbled stones drilled for stringing. For example, charoite bracelets usually include beads over another form of the gemstone.
At times, you may come across charoite jewelry pieces featuring raw charoite. However, this is far less common than polished versions of the stone, as the polishing process helps charoite’s color shine.
As with most stones, the charoite meaning varies depending on a person’s belief system. For some, the charoite meaning focuses on specific chakras. It is most strongly associated with the crown chakra due to its coloring. However, some see a relationship with it to the heart chakra and the third eye chakra.
When it comes to the metaphysical properties of charoite, some believe it serves as a stone of transformation. Others connect the gem to stress or worry reduction and think it can counteract negative energy.
It is important to note that while some people believe that charoite – as well as other stones – have healing properties, there is no proof that any stone can prevent, treat, or cure any health condition. If you have a medical issue, seeking out care from a trained medical professional is a must. However, if wearing, holding, or meditating on a stone improves your mood, there’s usually no harm in doing so.
Stones similar to charoite
Overall, charoite is so unique that there aren’t many natural stones with a strong resemblance to it. At times, pieces of purple jade may be of a similar hue, though it tends to lack the distinct patterning. The same can go for purple jasper and sugilite.
At times, a piece of purple agate or fluorite may look a bit like charoite, as well. However, the hue may not seem like a great match, and, again, the striations don’t mimic charoite precisely.
In the end, charoite’s uniqueness means there aren’t many strong candidates for stand-in stones. However, if your goal is to find something with similar purple color, the options above may work.