Also known as Csarite when mined in Turkey.
Many readers of this book may be familiar with the gemstone Csarite: this is a gemstone from Turkey which is in fact simply a brand name used to describe Diaspore mined in the region.
This gemstone shows the “colour change” phenomenon at its very best. Although the gem is normally a lovely pastel green, colourless and yellow specimens have also been discovered. The gem ranges from transparent to translucent and is without doubt one of the most precious gemstones yet discovered on our planet. Unfortunately, samples that are both transparent and have strong colour change can demand over $1000 per carat!
I have recently found a very small supplier of Diaspore from the Banska Stiavnica region of Slovakia, and we are currently having this gemstone cut in Bangkok. The gem is simply stunning! It has a very light green colour, similar to that of Green Amethyst (also known as Prasiolite) and when you change your lighting from candescent to incandescent, it has the ability to glow a beautiful orange colour.
Although it was first documented in 1951, don’t expect to see any vintage pieces of jewellery set with Diaspore. This is because until the recent introduction of modern lapidary skills, as the gem is extremely difficult to cut (due to its cleavage and shallow crystal habits), on the rare occasion the gem was discovered it was never faceted. In fact it wasn’t until the 1980s that anyone dared risk attempting to facet this rare stone, a gem which many referred to as “Turkish Alexandrite”.
As one of the rarest gemstones on the planet, Diaspore is a must for gem collectors. Its high level of hardness means it is also suitable for setting in jewellery. As well as our find in Slovakia and the well-known mines of Turkey, small deposits of the gem have also been found in Colorado, Massachusetts and North Carolina in the USA, Poland and Russia.