There is also a mineral called "charoite"--but that is not what the gemstone trade refers to by this name. Instead, it is a rock--much like lapis lazuli.Originally thought to have been discovered in Russia in the 1940s, charoite was not described until the late 1970s, when its beauty was finally recognized. Sources disagree whether this striking purple rock was named for the region's Chara River or for the Russian word chary (meaning "charms" or "magic").
Charoite Metaphysical Properties
While new to the commercial market, charoite and similar materials have been used locally for healing and ceremonial purposes. Mongols created ornamental objects using the richly purple stone, and commonly boiled a stone into their tea water. They believed doing so would strengthen family ties.
Sometimes called a "stone of transformation," charoite is thought to aid the transformation of negative emotions into positive ones. It is believed to encourage inner strength, assertiveness, creativity and self-esteem.
While it is not a birthstone, it is affiliated with the astrological signs Sagittarius and Scorpio. Charoite is thought to be useful for the crown, third eye and solar plexus chakras.
Charoite Geological Properties
Charoite was formed when a syenite of the Murunskii Massif impacted into some chemically complex limestone deposits. It is a complex mix of materials, giving it a fibrous or spotted appearance. This patterning--along with its intense color--has occasionally lead new observers to conclude it is a manufactured or lab-grown material.Charoite is opaque when first uncovered; its beauty was revealed much later than its original discovery. After cutting and polishing, charoite has mixed translucency, with a vitreous or silky luster in lush purples. Some specimens display chatoyancy. For these reasons, it is most commonly cut into cabochons and smooth beads. The complexity of patterns also makes matching pairs (for earrings, etc.) both uncommon and desirable.The only deposit of this unique material is in Russia, limiting supply.
Rare silicate: potassium feldspar metasomatite
K(Ca,Na)2Si4O10(OH,F) · H2O
Deep violet to lilac to light brown, with white to black spots or swirls; sometimes chatoyant
5 to 6 (Mohs)
2.54 - 2.78
1.545 - 1.560
Proper Care of Charoite
Charoite is a soft stone--about the same as untreated turquoise--and is vulnerable to scratches and dings. However, due to its cleavage pattern, it is more durable to knocks and impacts than turquoise. Charoite may need to be re-polished occasionally to remove surface scratches and retain its luster.
Charoite is sensitive to heat and high pressure, so avoid using steam or ultrasonic cleaners. For cleaning, use a mild soap and lukewarm water with a soft cloth or brush. Rinse well and pat dry. Store in a cloth bag or fabric-lined box to prevent scratches. This material's calcite content makes it sensitive to acids, so remove charoite jewelry before perspiring.
To learn more about charoite and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.
Designing with Charoite
Charoite's low Mohs hardness means it needs to be used in protective settings. Not recommended for bracelets, it is durable enough in pendants, necklaces, brooches and earrings. With the proper setting, it can be used as a ring. Purple's association with royalty means that charoite is suitable for jewelry for both men and women--it pairs well with both black onyx and white mother-of-pearl.
**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.
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