California’s Captivating Blue Gem: Benitoite
When it comes to gemstones, diamonds, rubies and emeralds are often at the top of everyone’s list. But what about the rare and beautiful benitoite? This stunning blue gemstone is sure to capture your heart and become your new favorite. In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about benitoite, including its origins, chemical composition, color, appropriateness for jewelry designs and famous jewelry pieces.
What Is Benitoite?
Benitoite is a rare, blue-colored gemstone that was first discovered in San Benito County, California, in 1907. It’s a relatively new discovery compared to other gemstones, but it has quickly gained popularity due to its unique and captivating beauty. Benitoite is classified as a mineral, with a chemical composition of BaTiSi3O9. It has a Mohs hardness of 6-6.5, making it a durable gemstone that’s suitable for daily wear.
Discovery and Location
Benitoite was discovered by James Couch, a prospector who was searching for gold in San Benito County, California. He noticed some blue crystals in his ore samples and sent them to the University of California for analysis. The crystals were identified as a new mineral and were named after the county in which they were found.
Benitoite is found exclusively in California, specifically in the San Benito County deposit. This makes it a rare gemstone, as it is not found in any other location around the world.
Color and Shapes
The most distinctive feature of benitoite is its blue color, which ranges from light to dark blue. It has a unique neon blue fluorescence under UV light, which is caused by the presence of trace amounts of manganese. The gemstone can also display a range of other colors, including purple, pink and white.
Benitoite is a relatively small gemstone, with most crystals measuring less than one inch in length. It’s often found in a triangular shape, with a pointed tip and two flat sides. This makes it ideal for use in jewelry, as it can be cut into a variety of shapes and sizes.
Jewelry and Cost
Benitoite is a popular gemstone for use in jewelry, particularly in engagement rings and earrings. Its unique blue color and neon fluorescence make it a romantic and eye-catching choice for those who want something a little different. It’s often paired with diamonds or other gemstones to create a stunning contrast.
Due to its rarity, benitoite can be quite expensive. Prices can range from $500 to $10,000 per carat, depending on the size, color and clarity of the gemstone. However, for those who appreciate rare and unique gemstones, the cost is worth it.
Cultural Significance and Famous Jewelry
Benitoite has become a symbol of California’s mineral wealth and is the official state gemstone. It’s also associated with romance and love, making it a popular choice for engagement rings and other romantic jewelry pieces.
One of the most famous pieces of jewelry that features benitoite is the “Benitoite Blue” engagement ring, designed by jeweler Christopher Michael. The ring features a 2.95-carat benitoite gemstone surrounded by diamonds, set in platinum. It’s a stunning example of the beauty and romance of this rare gemstone.
In conclusion, benitoite is a rare and romantic gemstone that’s sure to capture your heart. Its unique blue color, neon fluorescence and cultural significance make it a popular choice for those who appreciate rare and beautiful gemstones. Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring, earrings or a statement necklace, benitoite is a gemstone that is sure to catch your eye.