Considered a Blue Sapphire until the end of the 20th century, Kyanite is now free to display its unique beauty. Its intense blues render it a gemstone without equal.
The Kyanite in its whole beauty
German gemologist Abraham Gottlob Werner first named Kyanite in 1789, deriving the name from the Greek word ‘κύανος,' meaning ‘blue.' Another name given to this gemstone is Disthene (coined by French gemmologist René-Just Haüy in 1801), indicated the strong anisotropy in the hardness of its crystals.
Chemical composition of Kyanite
A raw Disthene crystal
Kyanite belongs to the family of Silicates, minerals commonly found in nature. As an allochromatic gemstone, it is transparent and has trace amounts of coloring elements to thank for its blue color. Depending on the exact mixture of these coloring elements, Kyanite may vary from blue-violet, blue-green, green, white-brown, white, to gray.
The raw material for Kyanite forms in sediments rich in aluminum that are exposed to high pressure and temperature. The most well-known source of Kyanite may be found in Kali Gandaki, a central western region of Nepal bordering on Tibet, where the deposits were discovered in 1995. Other extractive zones are located in Brazil, Kenya, Myanmar, Austria, Switzerland, Zimbabwe and the United States.
The history of Kyanite
The search for Tibetan Kyanite
The optical similarity with Blue Sapphire has long kept Kyanite from its deserved place within the hierarchy of precious gemstones: it was only recognized as an autonomous gemstone in the 20th century.
Properties of Kyanite
Kyanite is a polymorphic gemstone, and thus presents two grades of hardness. This property makes it a fragile and very difficult gem to cut, such that the quality of cleavage, along with the wonderful blue coloration, plays a crucial role in grading this gemstone.
Care for Kyanite
Kyanite may not be subjected to either steam or ultrasound cleaning.