Charoite

Celestite Fluorite

Sources

Crystals (UK) buys its charoite from the only known world source: the Chara River basin in Russia.

Origin

Formed from the long, slow alteration of limestone under great heat and pressure, and in the presence of certain alkali chemicals. This combination of factors is very rare, hence the rarity of charoite.

Composition

Hydrated potassium sodium calcium barium strontium silicate hydroxide fluoride (!)                 (K(Ca;Na)2Si4O10(OH;F)·H2O)

Structure

Monoclinic. Swirling patterns of interlocking crystals often visible.

Colour

Rich lavender/violet/purple with a paler streak.

Our View

Our connection goes back to a visit in 1996 to Lake Baikal in Siberia, the largest inland freshwater lake in the world. Ray was stunned to find this beautiful stone on sale outside the Lake Baikal Institute on the lake banks. Subsequently we have bought the VERY best AA grade cabs at the northern end of the lake but were thwarted in an organised visit to the mine in 2000. A dramatic purchase of rough material took place from the boot of a car meeting our helicopter that had just visited a gulag (remote communist prison camp) that had mined uranium.

Charoite was discovered in 1947 when it was politically dangerous to be famous for any reason in the USSR. The female geologist (an ethnic Buryiat) who identified Charoite was justifiably scared of her name being used and preferred to name it after the nearby river!

Until Stalin’s death the discovery was only known by a few. Only recently has it been commercially used in jewellery. It is one of our company’s favourite stones and we still buy directly from Russian geologists.

  • Month stones
  • January - Garnet also Ruby
  • February - Amethyst also Bloodstone
  • March - Aquamarine also Jade
  • April - Quartz also Opal
  • May - Rose Quartz also Agate
  • June - Pearl also Moonstone
  • July - Ruby also Carnelian
  • August - Peridot also Sardonyx
  • September - Iolite also Lapis Lazuli
  • October - Opal also Pink Tourmaline
  • November - Topaz also Citrine
  • December - Turquoise also Tanzanite
  • Zodiac Stones
  • Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19) Amber, Carnelian, Garnet, Onyx, Smoky Quartz, Turquoise
  • Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18) Aquamarine, Amethyst, Amber, Celestite, Fluorite, Labradorite
  • Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20) Moonstone, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Blue Lace Agate, Fluorite, Turquoise
  • Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19) Ruby, Aventurine, Bloodstone, Carnelian, Garnet, Kunzite
  • Taurus (Apr 20-May 20) Azurite, Kyanite, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Rhodonite, Tigers Eye
  • Gemini (May 21-Jun 20) Chrysocolla, Citrine, Serpentine, Tourmalinated and Rutilated Quartz, Tiger's Eye
  • Cancer (Jun 21-Jul 22) Moonstone, Pearl, Opal, Ruby, Moss Agate, Amber
  • Leo (Jul 23-Aug 22) Tiger's Eye, Ruby, Carnelian, Kunzite, Larimar, Rhodocrosite.
  • Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22) Peridot, Amazonite, Citrine, Garnet, Moonstone, Opal
  • Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22) Iolite, Opal, Kunzite, Lapis Lazuli, Moonstone, Peridot
  • Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21) Topaz, Malachite, Charoite, Garnet, Obsidian
  • Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21) Turquoise, Amethyst, Labradorite, Sugilite, Topaz, Garnet
  • There are a few stones that are suitable for every Zodiac sign: Moldavite, Tourmaline, Clear Quartz and Herkimer Diamond.