Vesuvianite Gemstone Information
When people think of breathtaking gems, they usually focus on classics like diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. However, overlooking the vesuvianite gemstone means jewelry enthusiasts and collectors are missing out on a fantastic stone.
Along with unique origins, vesuvianite is incredibly beautiful. Plus, it’s a standout option for jewelry and collections, allowing it to be a topic of conversation with anyone who notices it. If you want to learn more about the vesuvianite gemstone – including its properties, colouring, meaning, and more – here’s what you need to know.
As with most gems, the vesuvianite gemstone isn’t considered a gem in a technical sense. Instead, vesuvianite – also referred to as idocrase – is classified as a calcium aluminum silicate mineral.
Typically, the vesuvianite mineral crystals are translucent, allowing some light to pass through the stone. However, some specimens are closer to transparent, and they’re considered the more desirable versions.
Regarding the vesuvianite properties relating to lustre, most gems range from vitreous to greasy. On rare occasions, some are resinous. This creates a wide range of final looks when a stone is cut or polished.
Often, those that are translucent are turned into cabochons, resulting in a surface lustre that’s not unlike jade. Transparent vesuvianite is commonly faceted, creating a final appearance that resembles classic gems such as peridot.
As with many stones, the vesuvianite gemstone comes in various colours. The most common hue is green, typically ranging from a brighter yellow-green to an earthier brownish-green.
However, vesuvianite is also found in other colours, albeit they are rare. Some stones are colourless, while others are white, blue, pink, violet, purple, red, or tan. In some cases, black vesuvianite is also unearthed.
As for the strength of the hues, that can also vary. Some have very gentle colouring, sitting in a pastel or muted range. Others are far more dramatic, particularly when it comes to certain shades of green and purple or those that lean toward black.
It also isn’t uncommon to see colour zoning in vesuvianite gemstones. With colour zoning, the exact shade may vary across a single specimen. Usually, this occurs either when there are temperature changes during formation or when trace elements don’t incorporate evenly as a gemstone is formed.
The History of Vesuvianite
Vesuvianite has a unique history, particularly when it comes to its name. During the late 1700s, both “vesuvianite” and “idocrase” emerged as names for the stone. As a result, some people weren’t aware that they were discussing the same gem during conversations.
Originally, Abraham Gottlob Werner began using the name “vesuvianite” in 1795 because some crystals were found near Mount Vesuvius, the famed volcano in Italy. However, in 1796, Rene Just Hauy dubbed the stone “idocrase,” which was derived from the Greek “eidos” and “krausis,” which mean “mixed form.” While many gemstones end up with one primary name over time, the use of both terms when referring to vesuvianite persists today.
Generally speaking, vesuvianite doesn’t have any industrial uses. Along with being relatively rare, its composition and structure don’t make it ideal for many purposes.
However, the strong colouring and exceptional overall quality make the vesuvianite gemstone a solid choice for jewelry and other ornamental purposes. Along with being cut into faceted gems, vesuvianite can be carved, so some people turn it into sculptures.
Collectors also appreciate the unique look of raw, cut, polished, and carved vesuvianite. As a result, mineral collectors often add pieces to their collections, allowing them to branch out by securing some unique stones.
Where Is Vesuvianite Found?
Vesuvianite only forms under specific conditions. Generally, metamorphism or hydrothermal metamorphism involving carbonate rocks is a key requirement. As a result, it’s most commonly found in dolomite, granulite, limestone, marble, and skarn.
Overall, vesuvianite is found in several countries spread across the planet. When it comes to notable sources or gem-quality versions, Canada (Quebec), Italy, and Switzerland are all primary areas where those stones are found. However, Kenya and Tanzania also have deposits, which are the source of recent production. Additionally, cabochon-grade vesuvianite stones are coming out of the United States, particularly in California.
If you’re wondering, “Is vesuvianite rare?” the answer varies. Overall, it’s a relatively common mineral. However, gem-quality versions are few and far between, making high-quality vesuvianite gemstones rare.
Since gem-quality vesuvianite stones are generally rare, you don’t find much (if any) vesuvianite jewelry in chain jewelry stores. Most chain jewellers need a reliable source of the gems they use and consistent overall colouring to support mass production, which isn’t commonly available with vesuvianite.
However, independent designers adore using the vesuvianite gemstone for pieces. Since they can support smaller runs – or even create one-off pieces – with greater ease, they can take advantage of particularly gorgeous vesuvianite gems to craft jewelry. As a result, you can typically find items featuring vesuvianite if you’re open to shopping through independent designers.
Generally, vesuvianite is a brittle stone. As a result, the best options for vesuvianite jewelry are typically those that don’t involve a lot of contact. Pendants and earrings are prime examples. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t find vesuvianite rings and bracelets, too; it’s just crucial to exercise caution when wearing them.
Among the various types of jewelry, you may find both faceted vesuvianite stones and cabochons. In some cases, you may find more organically shaped tumbled or polished vesuvianite, as well as carved pieces. Usually, the colouring and transparency of the stone play the most prominent role in determining which option is best, but any approach can be incredibly beautiful.
As with any other gem, the vesuvianite stone meaning can vary depending on a person’s belief system. For some, the vesuvianite spiritual meaning focuses on calmness and tranquillity, making it a stress-reducing stone. In a similar vein, many believe vesuvianite can help a person work through anger or negative thinking, restoring balance.
In some cases, the vesuvianite metaphysical properties are related to connecting with the higher self or other realms. Essentially, they feel it resonates with the soul, allowing a person to transcend barriers.
As for the vesuvianite chakra, most associate it with the heart chakra. Primarily, this is because most vesuvianite gemstones are green, and green is the colour associated with the heart chakra. However, other hues of vesuvianite may relate to different chakras, so use their colouring as a guide.
As for the vesuvianite healing properties, some believe it can alleviate anxiety and promote digestive balance. Others think it helps with ailments of the legs and feet, as well as issues relating to poor circulation, anemia, heart disease, or high blood pressure.
However, regardless of the vesuvianite meaning you adhere to, holding, wearing, or meditating on a stone isn’t a substitute for legitimate medical care. There’s no scientific proof that vesuvianite can prevent, treat, or manage any health condition, so it’s essential to work with a medical professional if you’re experiencing medical challenges.
Stones Similar to Vesuvianite
Ultimately, several stones may resemble vesuvianite, depending on the colour and transparency you hope to replicate. Since most vesuvianite is green and translucent, two highly similar gems are serpentine and jade. In some cases, the resemblance is strong enough that people may mistake the stones for each other.
For green transparent vesuvianite, peridot is usually the best potential match. Both can have similar colouring and may look alike once the gems are faceted and set. However, some pieces may resemble emeralds, too, as vesuvianite can have deep, dramatic colouring.
Several garnets may look like the vesuvianite stone. Green garnets can have similar colouring and clarity to green vesuvianite. Hessonite can come in shades not unlike some of the earthier yellow or red pieces of vesuvianite, too.
At times, purple vesuvianite and amethyst may look similar, depending on the strength of the colour. For colourless vesuvianite, any gemstone with a colourless version could do the trick, ranging from affordable options like quartz to more expensive classics like diamonds.