It has the ability to rival the rich blues of Sapphire.
Kyanite, also referred to as Disthene, is best known for its deep, rich colours and rarity. The name is derived from the Greek word kyanos, meaning ‘blue’, and although it is not a birthstone, it is often associated with the zodiac signs of Aries, Taurus & Libra.
Whereas some in the trade call it a poor man’s Sapphire, in my opinion this is often just sour grapes as they probably don’t have access to faceted gem material. To me, the gem is one of the most misunderstood in the industry and I personally feel that over the next decade the gem will become one of the most sought after gems on the planet. Its clear, strong blue to bluish -green appearance has placed Kyanite in direct association with loyalty, serenity, calmness, innovation and dreams. It is also said to be effective on the throat and third-eye chakras.
Mainly set in rings, earrings and pendants, Kyanite is an ideal gem for self-adornment. This shiny, translucent gemstone is famous for its variations in hardness which is referred to as anisotropism. This rare physical property is also known as polymorphism. Kyanite’s hardness varies depending on which axis of the gem you are looking at. In one direction it measures 4.5 5 on the Mohs scale and on the other axis it measures 6.5 – 7.
Kyanite is actually made up of many different layers, making it easy to split this gemstone. This is known as perfect cleavage.
The combination of polymorphism and perfect cleavage makes Kyanite a particularly challenging stone to facet for lapidarists the world over. Because of this, Kyanite for many years was never cut into anything other than cabochons. More recently, as lapadarists have learnt more about this gemstone, some have been brave enough to attempt to facet it.
Occasionally, green Kyanite is found and, understandably, is known as Emerald Kyanite. Ravishing in appearance, it resembles the Zambian Emerald and is valued as a real treasure by gem collectors. In its regular blue form, it has a colour very similar to Sapphire and gems extracted from recent mines in Nepal and Tibet are comparable in appearance to the very finest Kashmir Sapphires.
Kyanite from these two remote locations is mined at high altitude. Unfortunately, the gem is incredibly rare and pieces over 3ct are almost unheard of. Whilst Kyanite is normally heavily zoned, occasionally pieces are found that are uniformed in colour from both of these locations.
This precious stone is also extracted from alluvial deposits in Brazil and the USA.
Even if you don’t have a piece of Kyanite yet set in jewellery, you may actually unknowingly have a few small pieces hidden in your car, as non gem- quality Kyanite is often used in the production of spark plugs!