Hemimorphite Gemstone Information
When it comes to rare gems, the hemimorphite gemstone is a spectacular example of the uniqueness one can find in nature. Unlike most other stones, it features a crystal structure, allowing it to easily stand out when added to mineral collections. Its striking colouring also allows those wearing hemimorphite jewelry to make a statement.
However, while magnificent, most people aren’t familiar with hemimorphite. If you’re curious about the hemimorphite stone, including its properties, colouring, and more, here’s what you need to know.
Like many stones, the hemimorphite gem isn’t technically a gemstone. Instead, it’s classified as a zinc silicate mineral.
The hemimorphite mineral has a relatively unique feature, namely, its crystal formations. It’s one of only a few gems with hemimorphic crystals – crystals with terminations in different shapes at the end of the main axis.
Along with a crystalized version, hemimorphite is also found in a microcrystalline globular form. When compared, the formations are strikingly different, leaving many surprised when they hear that they’re actually the same gem.
Overall, the lustre varies from pearly to vitreous. Additionally, it ranges from translucent to semi-transparent, though some pieces may appear opaque at a glance, depending on how they’re processed and polished.
Hemimorphite is relatively delicate. Along with being somewhat easy to scratch, it can crack if hit against a hard surface. Since that’s the case, many who use it in jewelry favour pieces that aren’t likely to strike or rub against anything, such as earrings or pendants.
The hemimorphite stone doesn’t come in just one colour. Instead, it’s found in a range of hues, usually due to the presence of specific inclusions or contaminants.
The majority of hemimorphite is colourless, white, gray, or brown. Usually, any colour within these ranges is relatively light and delicate. For example, brown hemimorphite is typically closer to beige than even a mid-toned brown.
However, those aren’t the only shades you’ll find with hemimorphite. Instead, several other colours naturally occur. Often, rarer shades are incredibly desirable, increasing the value of the hemimorphite gemstone significantly.
One example of an uncommon colour is blue hemimorphite. While the exact shade can vary, some pieces are incredibly vibrant, akin to a cyan or royal blue. You can also find green hemimorphite. With those, the hue tends to lean toward blue, creating lovely teals, turquoises, mints, or similar shades.
There’s also yellow hemimorphite. Pieces of yellow hemimorphite may have intense colouring, forming lemony crystals. In some cases, the shade is a bit earthy, causing the hue to appear a bit more amber.
The History of Hemimorphite
The history of hemimorphite is quite intriguing, particularly since it’s a newer stone regarding when it was fully recognized. Originally, hemimorphite and smithsonite were both called calamine. However, in 1803, James Smithson – a mineralogist – determined that the gemstones were actually unique.
The hemimorphic crystals made the gem stand out and inspired a new name in 1853. At that time, Gustav Adolph Kenngott – a mineralogist – referred to the stone as hemimorphite, a nod to its crystal structures.
While Kenngott used a new name to describe the stone, it wasn’t broadly accepted until much later. In 1962, the International Mineralogical Association formally separated those two stones, making the division official.
Many people also wonder, “What is hemimorphite used for?” Generally speaking, hemimorphite is a collector stone above all else. However, it also makes its way into jewelry quite often.
Where Is Hemimorphite Found?
In general, hemimorphite is most commonly found above and around zinc deposits. In some cases, hemimorphite is a weathering product or forms when zinc-carrying stones undergo natural processes that alter their chemical structures. In others, it’s a secondary mineral.
Like many stones, there are multiple sources of hemimorphite. Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania, Sardinia, Siberia, Thailand, and the United States all have notable deposits, as well as several other European and North African nations.
Generally speaking, you won’t find hemimorphite jewelry in chain stores. The amount of variety in the stone makes it a poor fit for mass-produced pieces, so it doesn’t fit with a chain store’s model in most cases.
However, the spectacular colouring of hemimorphite makes it a popular option among independent designers. When independent designers create pieces, they can opt for small runs or incorporate the unique features of individual gems with greater ease, allowing them to overcome the challenges mass-market retailers often face.
Based on how hemimorphite forms, cabochons are one of the preferred approaches for jewelry. The result is a vibrant, high-sheen surface, allowing the colouring and patterning to stand out. Cabochons are often used for pendants, earrings, and rings, though they may also appear in bracelets.
Hemimorphite beads are also a favourite option. Like hemimorphite cabochons, beads allow for a glassy surface and help the colour and pattern stand out. Usually, beads are ideal for bracelets and strand necklaces, though they may also make their way into earrings. In some cases, they’re featured in pendulums as well.
The hemimorphite meaning can vary depending on a person’s belief system and the colour of the hemimorphite in question. However, most versions do have some aspects in common. For example, many think that hemimorphite is a stone that supports greater compassion when interacting with others and facilitates spiritual growth.
Others feel that the hemimorphite metaphysical properties focus on healing the emotional body. Still, others think it’s a stone for self-discipline and self-regulation, helping those who struggle with distractibility.
When it comes to the chakras, hemimorphite can align with several, depending on the colour. For example, blue hemimorphite fits with the throat chakra, while green and yellow align better with the heart and solar plexus chakras, respectively.
As with all stones, any hemimorphite healing properties people attribute to the gem aren’t scientifically proven. Additionally, hemimorphite shouldn’t be used in lieu of medical treatment for health conditions. While holding, wearing, or meditating on hemimorphite likely won’t cause any harm, seeing a medical professional is essential if you have a health concern.
Stones Similar to Hemimorphite
Since hemimorphite comes in a range of colours, several stones may resemble the hemimorphite gemstone in certain conditions. For blue hemimorphite, turquoise, blue jadeite, larimar, smithsonite, and chalcedony can all have similar qualities, depending on the sample.
If you’re focused on green hemimorphite, jade, chrysoprase, or green clinochlore may work as substitutes. Green turquoise may also work as a stand-in, depending on the shade.
With yellow hemimorphite, amber is somewhat similar and offers up enough durability to work well in jewelry. For collectors, legrandite is also a vibrant yellow, but it’s fairly rare, too.
With clear, gray, and white hemimorphite, quartz can be a solid alternative. Smoky quartz can work for brown hemimorphite, as well as some pieces of amber or agate.