Apatite

“Lethal Nyx (night) bare Nemesis (retribution) to afflict mortal men and, after her, Apate (deceit)...”

Hesiod (ca. 700 B.C.), Theogeny

Etymology

Apatite raw and cut

Apatite: raw crystal and cut gemstone

In Greek mythology, Apate, daughter of the night, personifies deceit and illusion. According to tradition, she was one of the evils unknown to humanity until the opening of Pandora’s box, from which she escaped into the world with all other evils. The name is evocative, deriving from the Greek word ‘apato’, or ‘deceit’, and mirrors the confusion that has surrounded this gemstone in the past due to its broad color palette. Often mistaken for Tourmaline, Peridot or Beryl, in truth Apatite has no need to hide behind other gemstones: its marvelous colors and beauty make it a truly multifaceted precious stone.

Apatite is a mineral found in various countries, although jewelry quality stones are quite rare. The most important deposits are located in Brazil, Madagascar and Mexico, but a few examples have also been extracted in Canada and Russia. In 1995, a few neon blue examples of Apatite were found in Mexico, very similar in color to Paraíba Tourmaline, turning this gemstone into an instant celebrity.

Chemical composition of Apatite

The name Apatite describes a group of widely distributed minerals with a similar chemical composition; in fact, these are different minerals, with calcium being replaced by fluorine, chlorine, hydroxyl or strontium. With a hardness of 5 on Moh’s scale, Apatite is a moderately hard mineral which displays conchoid fracture with uncertain cleavage and displays streaks of white to gray-yellow.


Neon blue apatite

Neon blue Apatite

Properties of Apatite

Neither too dark or too light, Apatite shines with intense colors and a well-balanced luster. Its brilliance is also affected by other factors, such as dimensions, purity, color saturation and the quality of the faceting. Polishing Apatite represents a true challenge for gem cutters. A well-polished, skillfully cut Apatite is a highly valuable gemstone. Usually cut in baguette, oval and round cuts, this stone may also be worked in various styles, such as stepped or mixed cuts. Apatites larger than one carat of eye clean purity are extremely rare.

Russian apatite

Russian Apatite

Varieties of Apatite

Apatite belongs to the group of allochromatic minerals, meaning other colored. Foreign elements in the crystalline structure compete during the gemstone’s formation, defining the coloration. In its ‘pure’ state, Apatite, like all allochromatic gemstones, would be colorless. According to the foreign elements present, Apatite varies from green, to yellow, to blue and yellow-green.

Royal blue apatite

A Royal Blue Apatite