Orissa Kyanite is mined from the eastern Indian state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), and was discovered very near to the Orissa Alexandrite mines. In fact, it was whilst searching for Orissa Alexandrite that the miners came across an incredible green-blue gem not seen before in this location. To begin with, the miners thought it was a new variety of Alexandrite, however when it was sent to be cut and faceted, it had an extraordinarily low yield and was a lot more difficult to cut. After many tests, it was found that this wonderful, natural new gemstone was in fact a brand new variety of Kyanite, never seen before. It’s easy to see why it was confused with Alexandrite, it has the same deep and luxurious teal green colour but also with a hint of the more traditional Kyanite blue. It's a deep luxurious teal colour - a rich royal teal if you like.
The gem has so far only been found in smaller sizes, but they are all very beautiful. The majority of the pieces are coming in at between 0.44ct – 1.99ct, but there are some EXTREMELY LIMITED solitaire pieces coming in between 2cts and up to 5.5cts. There are the crowing pieces of the collection and true collectors’ items. Needless to say, these have been set in gold, with some of the smaller carat weights and cluster designs available in silver. It’s also worth noting that we have the gem available across a range of piecse – rings, earring, necklaces/pendants and bracelets – as well as a couple of sets. This will give people who are early in making their buying decision on this gem the opportunity to own a complete set – something that may not be possible in the future.
The gem is very rich in Chromium and some in the trade are calling it Cr-rich Kyanite or Cr-Kyanite. Cr is the periodic table symbol for Chromium, and the word Chromium itself come from the Greek word for ‘colour’ – ‘chroma’. Chromium is also responsible for the green in Emerald, Russian Diopside, Tsavorite and Chrome Tourmaline, as well as the red in Ruby.
It was first found in 2009, and the GIA immediately began to look in to the discovery. It was immediately obvious that this was a great and beautiful new colour find, but initial yield was heavily included with black striatious inclusions, so far from gemstone quality.
With our gem hunting team always on the look-out for exciting new finds, we heard about this new colour shortly after it was first found and have been keeping a close eye on the seam's development. Very recently we were excited to hear that small carat weight, eye clean pieces of this new teal green-blue colour was being offered to us. We bought our first parcel in February 2014, and one more very recently in May 2014. This is all that we have of this quality so far – the advice coming in from Steve and our gem hunting team is “buy it while we have it”.
The provenance of the location (with its ties to Alexandrite) and exclusivity of the find only serve to add even more mystique to the Kyanite tale. Also found in the heights of the Himalayas in Tibet and Nepal, and deep under New York City, it seems finding this gem is a true test of a gem hunter’s unwavering determination. That said, gem hunters weren’t looking for Kyanite in Odisha – it was, as mentioned above, found whilst mining for Orissa Alexandrite.
Talking of Orissa Alexandrite, a lot of the mines were flooded in the 2004 tsunami (this area is right on the Bay of Bengal). When this happened, the miners were unable to continue working in a great deal of the mines as they flooded and didn't drain over time. That makes this Orissa Kyanite find even more important for the artisanal miners of the area who rely on the gem trade for a living. Now, instead of the one gem they were relying on for an income (the yield of which was severely hampered by the flooding), they have Orissa Kyanite too if they can continue to find pockets of it.
Also, like with Orissa Alexandrite, the quality is outstanding but yield from the rough is low because Kyanite has a perfect cleavage plane in one direction and breaks easily (like splitting wood along the grain). Of course very little comes out of the ground to begin with. Because our lapidarists are so highly trained and are experts in what they do, they can take the rough and maximise the beauty and yield of the gem.
As a point of interest, the name of the state where this is mined was formally changed from Orissa to Odisha on November 4th 2011 – however the name has always been pronounced “Odisha” in the local tongue (known as Odia), and the change was simply to bring the English spelling into line with the correct way of saying it.
Put simply, the exclusivity of this collection is the key. We weren’t even looking for this – it’s an unexpected gift from mother nature with an exquisite colour but with a limited window of opportunity to own it.