With beautiful green hues, Vesuvianite was originally discovered at Mount Vesuvius in Italy and is named after its origin. In the gem world, it is also known by its pseudonym, Idocrase, which is derived from Greek: “idea” meaning “likeness” and “krasis” meaning “mixture”. This name relates to the fact that the gem sometimes has a visual resemblance to Peridot, Tourmaline and several green Garnets.
Whilst Vesuvianite is a gemstone in its own right, it also has two other members in its family. Californite (guess in which American state this was discovered!) which is similar in appearance to Jade; and Blue Cyprine which is primarily mined in Norway.
As with many gemstones that are discovered on or near to volcanos, Vesuvianite is a metamorphic gemstone. Its wonderful greenish blue colour, which is easily distinguishable from almost any other gemstone, receives its appealing hue from the presence of copper. Although Vesuvianite is generally green, brown, blue and yellow, in very rare instances purple specimens are found. The gem is transparent to translucent in appearance and in order to best display its glorious hues it is normally step cut.
In addition to Mount Vesuvius, California and Norway, the gem has also been discovered in Québec, Canada, The Ural Mountains in Russia, and in Switzerland.