Variscite is named after "Variscia," the historical name of the Vogtland district in Saxony, Germany, where the gemstone was originally found in 1837. A hydrated aluminum phosphate mineral, variscite is rare and has been previously mistaken for turquoise at times. Variscite tends to not only be greener than turquoise, but also doesn't contain copper.
Variscite Metaphysical Properties
As a green gemstone, variscite is seen as a grounding stone and is associated with the gaining of wealth. Variscite is believed to help brain-related functions, improving intellect and logic. Not only that, but variscite is said to calm the brain by relieving stress and anxiety. According to metaphysical beliefs, variscite is believed to enhance joy felt by the wearer. Carry variscite to induce peace and harmony within yourself. Though variscite is not an official birthstone, this gemstone is associated with the Zodiac signs of Gemini, Scorpio and Taurus. Variscite is connected to the heart chakra and therefore is said to open the heart and stimulate compassion or love.
Variscite Geological Properties
Typically, variscite is opaque with a vitreous to waxy luster, though some rare instances are slightly translucent near the edges. The green color of variscite is created by the chromium content found in the mineral. Other colors of variscite include light blue-green, purple, orange and very rarely red. The higher the iron impurities in variscite, the more brown the color will become. Most variscite also displays black or white veining resulting from how the mineral is formed. Variscite frequently occurs as a secondary mineral in brecciated sandstone deposits and as rounded, coarse aggregate masses in cavities. Variscite deposits are found all over the world: USA, Australia, Germany, France, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Brazil. Two varieties of variscite from the United States are the most desirable: the emerald-green variscite comes from Utah (sometimes called utahlite) and the highly veined variscite is found in Nevada.
Hydrated aluminum phosphate
AlPO4 * 2(H2O)
3-1/2 to 4-1/2 (Mohs)
2.5 - 2.6
1.563 - 1.594
Proper Care of Variscite
Variscite is a fragile gemstone with a splintery fracture. To clean variscite, do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaners. The best method for cleaning variscite is to use a soft cloth and mild soapy water. Rinse variscite well to remove any soapy residue. Since variscite is hydrous, avoid ultrasonic cleaners and heat steamers. In fact, any prolonged exposure to heat can cause permanent color shift in variscite, so don't store this gemstone in the sun. Store variscite gemstones separately from harder gemstones and materials to avoid scratching the surface. Try wrapping variscite in a soft cloth or on a velveteen jewelry pad inside a tray.
To learn more about variscite and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.
Designing with Variscite
While variscite is mostly a collector's gem due to its rarity, the mineral is still used in jewelry. Variscite does best in earrings, necklaces or other jewelry that is not likely to be struck. Bracelets and rings can sometimes hit counters or desks and with a low Mohs hardness and perfect cleavage, the variscite can break. Variscite is often worn as pendants close the heart, which is no surprise considering its ties to the heart chakra. The rich green of variscite makes it lovely to use in natural-inspired jewelry designs alongside other earthy green and brown hues. String alongside other organic materials such as wood, bone or shell. There really isn't a gemstone color that doesn't work well with green, making variscite incredibly versatile in jewelry designs.
**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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