Gemology: Gemstones Beginning With V...

When we embarked on this article we were surprised just how many minerals and gemstones beginning with V there are, the majority of which are considered very rare. Many are considered collectors' pieces only, and many, though beautiful to look at, are too soft and easily scratched for general jewellery wear. We think you'll agree there are some startlingly aesthetic gemstones here that anyone would be proud to have in their collection. Here we bring you Valencianite, Vanadinite, Variquoise, Variscite, Väyrynenite, Vesuvianite, Veszelyite, Veszelyite, Vivianite, and Volkonskoite


Valencianite is a member of the feldspar group of minerals, named for where it was first discovered in the Valeniciana Mine in Mexico. It was first noted in 1830, and has since been found in Japan, Europe, New Zealand, and America.

Valencianite is a milky white gemstone considered to be a regional variant of moonstone. In its raw form it is fibrous and 'thorny' but can be polished down into cabochon gemstones.

Image Attribution: Par Didier Descouens [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], de Wikimedia Commons


Vanadinite is a relatively soft and brittle crystal and beautiful shades of orange-red-brown, forming in neat hexagon structures. Its brittle nature makes it unsuitable for jewellery use, but it's nevertheless a popular gemstone amongst collectors.

Vanadinite has been used in jewellery where it is most frequently set as a raw crystal in free-form decorative pieces, or – if the gem is large enough – set as it is in its perfect hexagonal shape.

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Variquoise is a hybrid name of Variscite and Turquoise, when the tow minerals are present in the same composition. The gemstones, in their mottled blue-greens, look beautiful polished en cabochon and set in jewellery.

Image Attribution: By Jean Rhodes-Moen via Flickr;


Variscite is a pale yellow-green mottled gemstone with a waxy appearance. ften confused with turquoise, variscite is actually quite a rare mineral, but not too pricey because it's not widely known. In jewellery use it is considered a semi-precious stone and usually polished or carved.

Image Attribution: By Octoberwoodland [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons


Väyrynenite is a very rare gem that is hardly ever seen on the open market. It's a pale pink to deep rose pink crystal that is only found in true gemstone quality in a few locations, notably in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Because of its scarcity this one is considered more of a collector's gem and would be unlikely to be set in jewellery other than as a curiosity.

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Vesuvianite was named for Mt Vesuvius in Italy, the place where it was first described after being found near lava flows. For many years gemologists and scholars would use the more scientific name Idocrase instead of Vesvianite, but nowadays Vesuvianite is the more common name for this mineral with Idocrase now only being seen in old text books and indexes. Vesuvianite is generally a dull gem, often in shades of pale green, brown and yellow, but there are some instances of highly coloured and vibrantly radiant gemstones out there. These rarer lustrous colours, found usually in Quebec, occur in shades of red, pink, orange, purple and blue, and – even more rarely – several shades all at once!

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Veszelyite is a very rare gem forming in small lustrous blue to peacock blue crystals. Its striking colour makes it a sought after gem amongst collectors. It's a moderately soft gem that would scratch easily in jewellery so is more frequently kept as a display piece.

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Villiaumite is another rare 'V' mineral, this one occurring in shades of dark red reminiscent of cooling lava. It has a high sodium content and will dissolve in water, so care must be taken to keep intact specimens away from moisture. This tendency to dissolve is the reason the gemstone is so rare, so specimens are only seen in professional collections.

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Vivianite is an extremely unusual gem in that its colour disintegrates with exposure to light. The gem forms alongside fossils and ancient shells, where it is thought to replace long-decayed organic materials. Vivianite is originally colourless, though it darkens to a stunning deep bottle green colour, through to deep blue and eventually opaque black. This strong colour change tendency is a very good reason to keep all specimens undercover and bring them out for a very rare viewing!

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Volkonskoite is a waxy mineral usually occurring in a flat pale green colour, though gem quality specimens of brighter greens have been found in certain areas of Russia. Because of its softness, the main use for Volkonskoite is as an artists pigment, but it has been seen set as a raw stone in 'new age' style jewellery.

Image Attribution: By James St John via Flickr;

Next week: "Get Set For Christmas!" Start planning your Christmas jewellery and gift buying now!

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