Pietersite

Pietersite, or Tempeststone (its chatoyancy may look like a thunderstorm), was discovered in Namibia by Sid Pieters in 1962 as he was prospecting some farmland. Mineral records for Britain recorded the find, naming the material Pietersite. Pietersite is indeed very rare. The only known sources are China and Namibia, while China does not extract Pietersite anymore. Pietersite from both sources consist of fibrous minerals with one being a magnesium-rich alkali amphibole and the other (Namibia Pietersite) being mostly crocidolite.

Pietersite comes in a variety of blues, golds, and reds can be seen, either together or individually. All colors will exhibit excellent and striking chatoyancy, that wonderful shifting of color that appears as the gemstone is viewed from various angles. Blue is the most rare color, followed by red.

Formation

This unique stone is thought to be a mix between hawks eye, which is a blue variety of tigers eye, and brown tigers eye. Tiger’s eye and pietersite form under very different geological conditions, despite many similarities. A complex gemstone made up of layers of sand or silt sealed by quartz, pietersite is a chalcedony with fibers of other minerals embedded within.  
Mining for pietersite occurs in Namibia near Kuruman, near the border with South Africa.  Several kinds of iron and manganese are also mined in the area, as well as world’s richest reserves of crocidolite (known as blue asbestos). Also discovered in China in 1966, it was mined during the 1970s and 1980s, but the extraction subsequently closed due to flooding.    

Properties

Pietersite has a hardness of 6.5-7 on Mohs scale and red, orange, golden yellow to brown, blue, gray swirls of color. The most distinctive feature of Pietersite is its chaotic chatoyancy, caused by the presence of brecciated crocidolite inclusions. The density of crocidolite inclusions will determine whether it appears dense or sparse, and whether it appears grayish-blue, orangey-brown, or equal amounts of both. Upon polishing, it has an attractive silky luster. There are no known treatments or enhancements for Pietersite.

Symbolism

Transformation. Element: Storm

 


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