Pietersite Gemstone Information
When it comes to eye-catching stones, the pietersite gemstone is a stunner. It has a distinct look you typically don’t find in any other gem, making it a favorite among collectors and jewelry wearers who want to add a standout piece to their collection.
However, even with its dramatic look and broad appeal, pietersite isn’t as well-known as many other stones. If you’re curious about the pietersite gemstone, here’s what you need to know.
While people often refer to pietersite as a gem, it’s technically a mineral and is classified as a pseudomorph of quartz. Over time, minerals like crocidolite in the original sample were replaced with quartz, leading to brecciated crocidolite inclusions with the gem. The inclusions create an intriguing swirl-like pattern, as well as impact the stone’s color.
Pietersite also has a distinctive chatoyancy, similar to what you find in tiger’s eye. With that, the stone can almost appear to glow, enhancing the overall luster significantly.
Overall, pietersite is considered fairly rare. It’s mainly mined in only two areas, limiting the amount of pietersite stone that becomes available. As a result, it’s more costly than some other opaque stones, with a price point closer to larimar than malachite, obsidian, or other popular non-transparent gems.
Some people wonder, “Is pietersite dangerous?” Mainly, this is because it can contain crocidolite asbestos, and asbestos is classified as a cancer-causing material.
Generally, asbestos is most dangerous when the fibers get into the air and are inhaled. For example, asbestos insulation isn’t usually bothersome while it remains in place. However, when it is handled or removed, the process can cause the release of fibers, creating a potentially dangerous situation.
Since pietersite can contain asbestos, the process of cutting, shaping, or polishing pietersite can be risky. However, once that process is complete, the danger falls dramatically, as the material is no longer being disturbed.
Pietersite Stone Color
Like many stones, pietersite doesn’t come in a single color. Instead, it tends to feature hues in two main groups: blue and gold.
With blue pietersite, the coloring can vary from a deep navy to a light sky, usually with hints of white or gray. With golden pietersite, the color may range from burnt orange to lemony yellow, at times muddied with hints of brown or tan.
Color family-specific samples are available, though there are also stones that feature a mix of the two. With those, many of the pieces of pietersite have a painterly quality. The coloring can look like it was applied with gentle brushstrokes, seemingly swept across the stone to create soft blends or layers of hues.
Generally, the color you find in genuine pietersite is natural. It isn’t typically heat-treated or dyed to achieve the look, so the hues can stand the test of time.
However, some stones may be dyed or created to look like pietersite. For example, tiger’s eye is frequently dyed in a range of colors. While most pieces aren’t marketed as pietersite, less scrupulous sources may falsely label the stones to inflate their value.
When it comes to manufacturing fake pietersite, most of those won’t feature both the proper coloring and chatoyancy. If you don’t see both the unique color swirls and chatoyancy together, it may not be a real piece of pietersite.
The History of Pietersite
Pietersite was described initially in 1962. Sid Pieters discussed the stone after finding a sample in Namibia. He also chose to name the gem in his father’s honor.
As for the use of pietersite, it’s essentially an ornamental stone. Most pietersite ends up in jewelry, though some pieces are kept by collectors.
Where Is Pietersite Found?
Generally, pietersite is only from one of two regions: China and Namibia. The variant from China tends to be warmer, featuring shades of brown, orange, and yellow. With pietersite from Namibia, you get more blues and grays.
Today, the main mine where pietersite was found in China is no longer operational, as it was no longer yielding high-quality material. Production in Namibia is still ongoing, though it’s highly limited. As a result, standout specimens are increasingly difficult to come by, increasing the stone’s overall value.
If you’re looking for pietersite for sale, you won’t have too much luck at chain jewelers. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any available. Many independent designers regularly create pietersite jewelry.
Generally, pietersite isn’t faceted. Instead, it’s used to create cabochons or pietersite beads, allowing the unique color patterns and chatoyancy to take center stage. Usually, pietersite cabochons make their way into pendants and earrings.
While you also may see cabochons in a pietersite bracelet, beads are the more common approach there. Additionally, pietersite bead strand necklaces are popular.
For supporting metals, silver is an incredibly popular choice. However, you can also find pietersite jewelry featuring yellow or white gold with relative ease and may even find pieces featuring rose gold or copper.
Generally, you aren’t going to see pietersite stones paired with platinum. Many, it’s because of platinum’s cost, making it an illogical match for the stone.
The pietersite gemstone meaning can vary a bit depending on a person’s belief system. For some, the pietersite stone meaning relates to grounding. It’s said to strengthen spiritual vision. Additionally, some feel it centers the spirit.
Others feel that the pietersite metaphysical properties focus on protection. Since many pieces have a storm-like appearance – with some referring to the gem as the “tempest stone” – pietersite is thought to provide a sense of calm and focus, even during challenging times.
When it comes to pietersite healing properties, it’s important to note that no stone is proven to benefit the physical body. Even though some people believe in the healing properties of pietersite, relying on a gemstone in place of medical care is never a smart move. Instead, it’s always best to work with a physician.
Stones Similar to Pietersite
When it comes to stones that are similar to pietersite, tiger’s eye and hawk’s eye are the closest substitutes for golden and blue pietersite, respectively. Both pietersite and tiger’s eye have the characteristic chatoyancy, though tiger’s eye tends to have slightly different patterning, leaning more towards stripes.
With hawk’s eye, the color variations aren’t typically as distinct as you find with pietersite, though you can find samples featuring both blue and golden coloring in some cases. Additionally, hawk’s eye tends to feature a more striped appearance, though some have a brushstroke-like quality.
Cat’s eye scapolite may also have some resemblance to pietersite. Many of those stones feature a range of colors, including strong blues and golds. However, it may also include hues you don’t find in pietersite, causing it to stand apart.
Other stones can also have cat’s eye variants. Chrysoberyl, apatite, beryl, heliodor, iolite, quartz, spinel, topaz, as well as many others, may have chatoyancy. However, many of those pieces you find in jewelry won’t have the patterning you usually see with pietersite, tiger’s eye, or hawk’s eye. Instead, they may be mainly a single color or only feature slight color variations.
As mentioned previously, you may also find manufactured pietersite. However, these usually lack either the proper color patterning or chatoyancy, causing the reproduction not to have at least one of the key features of the pietersite gemstone.