Prehnite Gemstone Information
When people think of gems, prehnite isn’t typically what comes to mind first. However, that’s a bit of a shame. The prehnite gemstone is unique, particularly in its raw form, making it a favourite among collectors. Additionally, it can be used to create breathtaking jewelry pieces.
If you’re curious about the prehnite stone, here’s what you need to know.
Technically speaking, prehnite isn’t a gem. Instead, it’s a silicate mineral and a highly brittle one at that. However, it’s also fairly hard. As a result, when handled properly, it can be turned into jewelry with relative ease.
When it comes to luster, prehnite tends to range from pearly to glassy (vitreous). Additionally, the prehnite gemstone can go from transparent to translucent, though translucent is far more common. In many cases, faceted prehnite stones have an appearance not unlike frosted glass, making the final sheen incredibly unique.
One interesting feature of prehnite is how it tends to form. Instead of sharp points and edges, raw prehnite more commonly has a curved surface, not unlike a bubble sitting on a surface. Additionally, if heated to the right temperature, the prehnite gemstone might give off water. However, that doesn’t occur with every sample.
As for the prehnite pronunciation, it is usually similar to prey-nahyt or pren-ahyt when spoken. Usually, either approach is considered acceptable.
As with many other gemstones, there isn’t just one prehnite colour. Instead, the prehnite stone can come in a few different shades.
The most striking versions of prehnite are in the yellow to yellow-green spectrum, often with a hue close to lime in its raw form. Some green prehnite is more subdued, coming in closer to a sage or a soft blue-green.
There’s also white and gray prehnite. With the white and gray versions, a milky quality is common, giving the stone an intriguing kind of depth.
Colorless prehnite is also possible. However, large specimens without any inclusions or milkiness are rare, so you don’t typically see fully transparent clear stones in jewelry or collections. Instead, segments of the piece are colorless, creating a floating smoke-like look inside the gem.
At times, blue and pink prehnite is found. There was even one orange prehnite sample found in South Africa in 2000, making that one of the rarest specimens ever discovered.
When it comes to value, typically, the strength of the colour plays the biggest role. Pieces that are saturated with colour are worth more than their paler counterparts regardless of the hue. However, if you look for a rare colour – like pink, blue, or orange – that will up the overall price, at times significantly.
The History of Prehnite
Prehnite was initially discovered in South Africa at the Cape of Good Hope back in 1774. However, the stone didn’t get its name until 1788, when it was named after Hendrik von Prehn, a Dutch colonel and former governor of Cape of Good Hope. Von Prehn was a mineral collector and naturalist and was credited with bringing the first samples of prehnite back to Europe.
Some say that prehnite is the first time a gem was named after a person. However, it isn’t clear whether that claim is accurate.
When it comes to historical uses, prehnite hasn’t served an industrial purpose. Instead, prehnite is mainly an ornamental stone. Since its discovery, it’s been popular for jewelry and decorative carvings, though some also choose to display it in its raw form due to its unique shape.
Where Is Prehnite Found?
In most cases, prehnite is formed in basaltic rock cavities and veins. While it was originally discovered in South Africa – and is still found there today – that isn’t the only country with prehnite within its borders. Along with South Africa, prehnite has been discovered in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Namibia, Scotland, and the United States.
While the rare orange prehnite was found in South Africa, Canada also has a claim to fame. Prehnite with individual crystals has been found in Canada, making it a source of some rarer versions of the gem.
Prehnite jewelry isn’t as popular as some other stones, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t relatively available. Typically, you won’t find prehnite jewelry in chain stores. However, prehnite is regularly used by independent designers. As a result, you can find a prehnite bracelet, necklace, ring, or earrings with a reasonable amount of ease.
Due to its translucent to transparent nature, faceted prehnite gemstones are widely used, which may be a bit surprising since the stone can be challenging to cut at times. However, you’ll also find prehnite cabochons, as well as carved prehnite pendants and earrings.
Prehnite beads are also fairly popular, especially for prehnite bracelets and necklaces. Additionally, some designers favour tumbled prehnite stones, allowing the pieces to keep a somewhat organic shape while displaying the colour and lustre.
The prehnite spiritual meaning can vary depending on a person’s belief system. For some, prehnite is viewed as a connecting stone between the heart and solar plexus chakras, allowing people to combine their heart and personal will.
For others, the prehnite metaphysical properties focus on calming energy, bringing a person a sense of peace and harmony. In some cases, it’s also associated with protection, as well as renewing energy.
Some even feel that prehnite is good for decluttering in both a physical world and a mental sense. They believe that prehnite can make it easier to let go of possessions they no longer need and most past fears or stresses that are holding them back.
When it comes to prehnite healing properties, some think that prehnite helps with bone, teeth, nails, and hair. Others connect it to metabolism and the circulatory system. However, it’s crucial to understand that there isn’t any proof that a stone can provide a person with health benefits of any kind, so prehnite shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute for genuine medical care.
Stones Similar to Prehnite
Generally speaking, prehnite isn’t particularly expensive unless you’re going after a rarer colour or one that’s particularly transparent. As a result, many people don’t find the need to track down a substitute for prehnite.
However, if you’re looking for a similar stone, there are a few possibilities. Green garnet can be a reasonable stand-in depending on the specimen. The same goes for vesuvianite (idocrase). However, those may not be cost-effective options.
Some pieces of green kyanite could also work. However, the stone has a colour range that doesn’t perfectly align with prehnite, so not all specimens are a match.
For those hoping to mimic the lighter green colours, peridot can have similar colouring, but the transparency is different. The same goes for chrysoprase, nephrite, jadeite, and alunite. While the hue may resemble prehnite, the transparency usually isn’t a match.
For gray, white, or pink prehnite, quartz may be your strongest option since it’s affordable and widely available. For blue, dumortierite could work, though that would depend on the piece. When it comes to orange prehnite, orange garnet could be a reasonable option, as well as certain orange Carnelian gems.