Gems: Hackmanite - Rhodochrosite

3.03 ct. Leucite

3.03 ct. Leucite

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  • Color: Faint Yellow

  • Clarity: Slightly Included

  • Origin: Near Ostia, Italy

  • Cut: Pear Brilliant

  • Treatments: None

  • Measurements: 12.2 x 8.5 mm

At first glance, you may think this is just simply another rare colorless gem material, but the attraction of Leucite resides in a very unique optical phenomenon.  Firstly, it is one of the very few gems having an isometric crystal form (like garnet or diamond) that actually has a birefringence - the result of a complex process whereby it forms isometrically at high temps and changes to a tetragonal structure as it cools without changing the outward crystal structure. 

Secondly, as a consequence of its lamellar structure and resulting diffraction, Leucite can have an opalescent quality that will produce a color flash.  Hence, you have what appears to be an opal-like 'play-of-color'.  There is no other gem material that comes close to imitating this effect.  This lovely example has this wild effect and is, without question, one of the very largest top quality faceted Leucites that we have seen.  In fact, one carat is considered a rather rare for these.  Just touch the gem with a little direct lighting and the unexpected flash becomes apparent.  Add to that the size and clarity and you have a fantastic example of this interesting species.

$160 / carat - $484 total