Sphene is one of the newest gemstones to be discovered, taking its name from the Greek word for “wedge” - due to its typical wedge-shaped crystal structure. It is sometimes known as “Titanite”, due to its titanium content. Its colour is generally green, yellow or darkish grey, yet in some forms it can also be brown and even black.
Registering 5.5 on the Mohs scale, the softness of the stone makes it difficult to facet; but because it is so beautiful, many Lapidarists are often tempted to give it a go. The gem is transparent to translucent in appearance and can often feature the most amazing adamantine lustre. Sphene also has fire (dispersion) greater than that of even Diamonds and is therefore ideal when set in earrings or pendants that are designed to be fluid. Its double refraction enables the light that travels through the gem to be split into two directions, creating an exceptional array of colours. Strongly coloured Sphenes are also heavily pleochroic. The gemstone is mined in Pakistan, Mount Vesuvius, Italy, Russia, Canada and the USA.