Also known as Castorite, Petalite is a rare colourless gem that is a real favourite with collectors around the planet. As its unusual perfect cleavage can at times appear leaf like in pattern Petalite’s name is derived from the Greek word for a leaf “petalon”.
The gem was first discovered in Brazil in 1800 by Brazilian Gemmologist J Andradae Silva.
The gemstone is extremely difficult to cut and until recently Lapidarists would only attempt to make Cabochon cuts. Although the gem has a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, it is quite brittle, so it’s important when set into jewellery, especially in rings, just to take a little more care when wearing this gem.
In addition to the colourless variety, which has incredible brilliance, the gem is also available in pastel shades of yellow and grey. However it is the colourless variety that is most popular.
Petalite has also been discovered in the UK, Italy, the USA and Afghanistan.