Gemology: Gemstones Beginning With U...
Can you think of any gemstones beginning with U? It's not easy! There are very few gemstone quality minerals beginning with U, and most of the names you would come across are regionally alternative pseudonyms of other minerals, such as Ugrandite and Umbalite being forms of garnet, and Utahlite a form of Variscite found in Utah, but we have managed to find you a few gemstone quality minerals to continue our gemology guide with gemstones beginning with U.
Unakite is a form of granite found in the Unakas Mountains in North Carolina. It's a naturally occurring blend of feldspar, epidote and quartz. Unakite occurs in shades of mottled green and pink and when polished into beads or cabochons for jewellery use it's considered a semi-precious stone. It's not a particulary durable stone and so it's generally used in jewellery pieces that won't suffer much impact, such as pendants and earrings.
Image Attribution: By Tom Harpel from Seattle, Washington, United States - Flickr.com - image description page, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=332279
Uvarovite is a rare variation of garnet occurring as a sparkly bright green crystal. It was first identified in 1832 and named for Russian statesman Count Sergie Semenovitch Uvarov. It's not highly durable but it is most definitely pretty and makes for a stunning jewellery piece
Image Attribution: By User Arpingstone on en.wikipedia - Photographed by Adrian Pingstone in February 2003 and released to the public domain., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1159189
Uvite is an uncommon form of Tourmaline which forms in a different crystal pattern to the more regular tourmaline gemstones. Uvite is generally an olive green to reddish-brown colour and is named for the region in which it was first found in 1929 – the Uva Province of Sri Lanka. It's reasonably durable as a gemstone, but brittle and difficult to cut, so most specimens are found in the collections of avid collectors.
Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Next week: "Cursed Jewellery and Hallowe'en Spells" – A Hallowe'en special of jewellery spells, curses and spooky tales!