Derived from the Greek word Kyanos, meaning blue, Kyanite is a gemstone as beautiful and mesmerizing as Blue Sapphire. It bears a strong resemblance to the deep blue color of Kashmir Sapphires. Natural kyanite looks eternal when set in silver or gold to make blue kyanite jewelry like kyanite pendants, kyanite rings and other kyanite jewelry. Kyanite derives its color from the trace elements or minerals iron and titanium, similar to the ones that give the blue sapphire its color.
Colors of Kyanite
The rough kyanite crystal is usually blue in color. However, kyanite can also be green, grey, dark grey, white, black and colorless. The color is not always consistent and intense throughout the crystal and often white streaks and color zoning can be seen in blue kyanite. The luster of the kyanite gem stone is vitreous to almost pearly.
Kyanite, like most gemstones, is available in all qualities: VVS, VS, SI and I, though VVS quality Kyanites are hard to find. The common faint natural inclusions visible to the naked eye are minute needle-like inclusions, feathers and color zoning. Sometimes, chatoyancy (Cat’s Eye) effect is also observed in Kyanites, making them a collector’s item.
Color Zoning in Kyanite
Available in the cabochon cut (dome shape cut) and faceted into different cuts, the kyanite is not a very easy gem to cut. This is mainly due to the variation in hardness that is observed in different parts of the gem. The variance in the hardness is a significant characteristic that needs to be taken into consideration while the gem-cutter is cutting the gem.
Origin of Kyanite
Kyanite deposits are found and mined in Austria, Brazil, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Serbia, Switzerland, USA and Zimbabwe. The green kyanite variety is found mainly in California, USA.
In ancient times it was believed that a kyanite suspended from a human hair could follow the earth's magnetic force like a compass needle. Travelers carried kyanite when they entered unknown territories to ensure a safe passage home. Kyanite is also believed to aid self-expression, communication and supernatural abilities.
Kyanite as a replacement to Blue Sapphire
By itself kyanite is not a very popular gemstone. It is popular among jewelers due to its likeness to the blue sapphire. It is also sometimes marketed as the kyanite sapphire. This trade name leads to satisfaction among buyers that they have chosen a worthy substitute to the premium sapphire stone, which may otherwise be unaffordable. In short, kyanite is a popular simulant of the blue sapphire.
Common Kyanite treatments
There are no treatments known that could enhance kyanite.
Properties of Kyanite
Chemical Composition: Aluminum Silicate (Al 2 SiO5)
Also Known as: Cyanite (in ancient literature), disthene, munkrudite, rhaeticite (white-grey kyanite)
Specific Gravity: 3.56-3.67
Refractive Index: 1.715-1.732
Mohs Scale Hardness: 5½ to 7 on a scale of 10
Lustre: Vitreous, Pearly
Color of streak: White,
Absorption spectrum: 706, 689, 671, 652, 446, 433
Fluorescence: Weak: red
Density (measured): 3.53 - 3.65 g/cm3