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Russian Gemstones Encyclopedia

Vladimir Bukanov. Russian Gemstones Encyclopedia

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SAPPHIRINE


SAPPHIRINE (Saphirin—Saphirine——апфирин) Giesecke, C.L. 1819), after its sapphirine-blue color.

Composition & Properties. Silicate – (Mg3.5Al3.5)Al[O2|Al4.5Si1.5O18], subclass of band silicate, monoclinic system. Hardness 7.5. Density 3.3-3.6. Glass luster. Cleavage in one direction. Sapphirine is found mainly in the form of grained aggregates and rare flattened crystals. Transparent to translucent. Color: pink, yellow, green, violet, brownish and colorless. It is rarely fond in the form of transparent crystals. Even before sapphirine was discovered in 1817, the same name was offered for a light blue variety of chalcedony. To avoid confusion, sapphirine is called saphirite sometimes.

Deposits. Sapphirine is a typical mineral of deposits of metamorphic origin. In Russia, it is found in the South Urals, in the region of Taiginka, near Kyshtym. In more significant volumes sapphirine was discovered in the north of the Krasnoyarsk Region, in the rocks of the Anabar shield, on the Usumun and Dielinde Rivers, right tributaries of the Kotuikan River. In Tadzhikistan, in the South-West Pamirs Mts., at Bash-Gumbez deposit, in pegmatites and metamorphic rocks rich with alumina, they observed wide developing of sapphirine in crystals up to 0.5 cm. long. For the first time, gem-quality material was discovered in the south-west of Greenland, near Fiskenaesset, where this mineral was described. Sapphirine, available for faceting, comes also from Madagascar, from the Itrongay deposit, the Toliara Prov., where it is found in the form of small pale blue and dark blue crystals up to 1.5 cm. in size. There, at the deposits Beraketa and Bekily, they find sapphirine crystals up to 2 cm. In the Fianarantsoa Prov., at a deposit in the Sakeny area, they find sugar-like bluish-gray light-colored rock sakenite, composed with anorthite and sapphirine, corundum and spinel. It can be used as ornamental material. Similar to this rock blue quartzite, with the content of sapphirine up to 14%, with corundum and spinel, was discovered deposit in Antarctic, in the Casey Bay, Enderby Land. In South Africa, sapphirine is known in the Western Cape Prov., near Blinkwater. In the south of India, in Tamil Nädu, it is found near Gangurvapatti, in the region of Maduraja. On placers of Sri Lanka, they extracted pink-violet sapphirine crystals. In Thailand, at the Bo Ploy deposit, they registered inclusions of sapphirine in ruby. In Australia, in Northern Territories, sapphirine in table crystals up to 2x0.2 cm. in size, together with kornerupine, was discovered in the Harts Range. In Canada, on the Labrador Penin., in the region of Willson Lake, they found lenses up to 7 m. thick, composed with greenish-blue sapphirine with admixture of hematite. Sapphirine in gem-quality crystals is faceted, its grained aggregates are usually cut in cabochon.

Similarity. Sapphirine looks like kyanite, clinozoisite, lazulite and blue chalcedony.

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