The vibrant yet pastel green sister of Kunzite.
Along with Kunzite and Triphane, Hiddenite is a member of the Spodumene family of gemstones. The easiest way to describe the appearance of this extremely rare gem is to ask you to imagine a very lightly coloured Emerald, with good transparency and clarity.
It is said that the first discovery of Hiddenite was in North Carolina, America back in 1879. These first specimens were given to a geologist named William Earl Hidden who was working in the area at the time and from whom the gem’s name is derived. Hidden was actually in the area being employed by Thomas Edison (the inventor of the light bulb and holder of over 1,000 patents in America) to search for Platinum. Whilst he was unsuccessful in his search for the metal, he did end up having a gemstone named after him (that must surely be better for your street cred).
After the discovery of the gem, the village nearest to the initial find was renamed ‘Hiddenite’ and for a period of around 10 years, the Emerald and Hiddenite Mining Company recovered a reasonable quantity of the gem. Today, the Emerald Hollow Mine located in the town of Hiddenite is the only Emerald mine in the USA that is open to the public for prospecting, so if you ever find yourself in Carolina…! In addition to this original discovery, Hiddenite has also been found in Madagascar, Brazil and Afghanistan.
In 1882, George Kunz (possible the world’s most famous gemmologist of all times and the man who discovered Kunzite - a sister gemstone to Hiddenite) wrote in a newspaper about the new discovery stating, ‘the gem is always transparent, ranges from colorless [sic] (rare) to a light yellow, into a yellowish green, then into a deep yellow emerald green. Sometimes an entire crystal has a uniform green color [sic], but generally one end is yellow and the other green.’
Like Kunzite, Hiddenite has perfect cleavage making it one of the most difficult gems to cut. Due to the combination of scarcity and difficulty in cutting, most lapidarists will often not risk damaging this rare stone and therefore take the easier option of cabochon cutting this gemstone. The gem benefits from extremely strong pleochroism and slowly rocking a piece backwards and forwards will often yield several colours.
If you visit The Genuine Gemstone Company on one of our open days then you will get to see our small gem museum. Two of the most stunning gems on display are the 365 carat Joas Hiddenite and the 242.99 carat Little Joas Hiddenite. These two are stunning: whilst very light in tone, they are both eye clean and are untreated.