Pegmatite Gemstone Information
In the world of collectors or jewelry stones, the pegmatite gemstone isn’t particularly well-known. However, pegmatite gems are genuinely breathtaking, featuring a unique composition that draws the eye and captures the imagination.
Since it isn’t as popular as many other crystals, the pegmatite stone often goes overlooked, which is a bit of a pity. That’s why learning about the gems is such as smart move, allowing you to dig into a highly unique stone that may otherwise not end up on your radar.
If you’re curious about the pegmatite gemstone, including its properties, colour, meaning, and more, here’s what you need to know.
As with many other stones, pegmatite isn’t technically classified as a gemstone. Instead, it’s a crystalline igneous rock and a relatively unique one at that.
The pegmatite rock has some things in common with other igneous rocks. For example, pegmatite minerals align with other igneous rocks. However, beyond the physical pegmatite composition, there are some differences.
One of the main defining pegmatite properties is textural variations compared to other igneous rocks. The primary one is grain size, causing the pegmatite gemstone to stand out from other stones in the category. While the average grain size for pegmatite is in the 8 to 10 cm range, it’s possible to find crystals measuring in meters instead.
Pegmatite also forms in one of two ways. First, there are long, pod-like versions with shapes not unlike cigars. Second, there are irregular specimens, which may form into anything from single crystals to large, winding pieces forming in fissures.
When it comes to broader composition, certain materials must be present. Quartz and alkali feldspars are essentially musts. Beyond that, different minerals can be present, creating unique pegmatite varieties. For example, apatite, biotite, garnet, muscovite, and tourmaline may all be part of the mix.
Since pegmatite is an igneous rock, the colouring can vary significantly. However, most pegmatite is colourless, white, or pink. Some varieties also feature gray and cream shades.
Within the pegmatite, you may also see different hues based on the presence of other minerals. For example, if there’s biotite present, you may see flecks of black. With garnet mixed in, you might find red, brown, or green shades.
Since pegmatite is an igneous rock, it can run anywhere from transparent to opaque. The exact minerals within a specific sample play a role in that overall equation. However, since quartz and feldspar are essentially always part of the mix, most pegmatite samples are predominately considered translucent.
It’s also important to note that the pegmatite colour typically varies across a single sample. You may see large pieces with shifting colour patches, contrasting veins, or similar aesthetic features. However, even if a crystal is technically a single hue, it may seem to change depending on how light strikes the gemstone, too.
The History of Pegmatite
Pegmatite isn’t traditionally a collector or jewelry gem. Instead, the pegmatite uses are often far more industrial due to its composition.
For example, one of the main pegmatite uses is as a source of commercial feldspar. It’s also used as a source material for beryllium, lithium, and sheet mica, and pegmatite can contain notable quantities of certain gem minerals. In some cases, pegmatite also contains rare-earth minerals or other materials of potential value.
In some rare cases, pegmatite is used as an architectural stone. For example, it could be turned into a slab for countertops or tile with a large enough piece. However, this isn’t common.
Pegmatite mining also isn’t typically to collect pegmatite. Instead, it’s to access the materials or gemstones within. Some of the most productive gemstone mines are larger pegmatite deposits.
Where Is Pegmatite Found?
You can find pegmatite deposits practically anywhere in the world. However, since pegmatite formation occurs during the last stage of magma crystallization, it’s more common in rocks of significant geologic age.
When it comes to locations of note, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and the United States are all significant sources. However, pegmatite is found in far more areas.
While pegmatite crystals can get quite large, the stone isn’t widely used for jewelry. Chain jewellers typically focus on gems that are highly consistent in their appearance. Since pegmatite is an igneous rock, you get a lot of variation between samples, making it ill-suited for mass-market jewelry applications.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find any pegmatite jewelry. The pegmatite stone is relatively popular with independent designers, particularly those who can take advantage of nice specimens to create small runs or one-off pieces.
Since most pieces of pegmatite are translucent and feature a mix of minerals, the most popular approaches for jewelry are cabochons and beads. These allow light to move through the stone a bit while highlighting unique features – like speckles or veining.
When it comes to the kind of pieces available, you can find pegmatite pendants, rings, and earrings featuring cabochons with a reasonable amount of ease. There are also strand necklaces and bracelets that use beads, though you can also find beads in pendulums.
The pegmatite meaning isn’t as well defined as some other stones. In some cases, that’s because pegmatite is composed of different minerals with their own meanings. Since that’s the case, you can apply the same sentiments to pegmatite as you would those stones. For instance, quartz is often associated with communication and amplification, while the feldspar meaning often focuses on creativity and manifestation.
Since that’s the case, many view pegmatite as a stone that can help someone unlock their potential. Some feel it helps with awakening latent talents and promotes self-awareness and self-esteem.
When it comes to pegmatite healing properties, many associate it with emotional healing, providing a sense of calm while encouraging empathy, both when it comes to yourself and others. However, as with all gems, there isn’t any proof that the pegmatite stone provides any health benefits or treats any condition. Since that’s the case, pegmatite isn’t a substitute for genuine medical care.
Stones Similar to Pegmatite
Generally speaking, you won’t find many stones that are strong matches to pegmatite crystals since the grain size is a unique characteristic. However, since pegmatite is an igneous rock, any mineral found in its composition could have some resemblance to the broader stone.
For example, pegmatite features significant amounts of quartz. Since that’s the case, individual quartz and pegmatite crystals may have essentially the same composition, depending on whether other materials are also present in the specific piece of pegmatite.
Otherwise, if you’re looking for large stones that have a similar look to pegmatite, certain types of granite are likely your closest match. Like pegmatite, granite is an igneous rock containing materials like feldspar, quartz, and mica. Since that’s the case, pegmatite and granite – depending on the type of granite – may have a strong resemblance.