What would life be without challenges? The victorious air punch once you have identified a stone is a workplace hazard, but also a part of the fun of being a gemmologist. Apatite is one of those sneaky stones that like to play up and makes our detective work all the more challenging.
A lesser-known gem in the mainstream jewellery world, the Apatite group has a lot to offer the world of gemmology. The Greek word apate translates as ‘deceit’, given that this gemstone not only looks like other gems and crystals, but it is also regularly confused for other gems because of similar readings in the lab, it’s often referred to as the ‘deceiver’.
Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals belonging to the hexagonal crystal system. Gem Apatite’s are typically the fluorine-rich type, known as fluorapatites. Colours are typically yellow-brown, yellow- green to green blue, with vivid blue Apatite being particularly rare and popular. Not only does Apatite get confused for many other minerals it also plays host to them as well with typical inclusions of Tourmaline, glass, biotite, goethite, hematite, manganese oxide, and pyrrhotite. Crystals are either short hexagonal prisms or hexagonal tabular. Although chatoyancy is a very common phenomenon in green or yellow Apatite, that deep blue Apatite with a cat’s-eye effect is quite rare, and although we only carry a small selection of Apatite cat’s-eye jewellery in our galleries it is worth the trip to see its beauty for yourself.
A favourite crystal of his collection, Bunny Bedi, Made in Earth’s owner and designer, loves the drama these deep blue/green crystals bring to his jewellery designs.
“Apatite crystals are a nice break from the transparent Quartz and Tourmaline. The deep blues brings a burst of colour and their well-defined crystal forms add bold shapes to my designs. Although I love our Apatite crystals, I’ve recently added cat’s eye Apatite cabochon jewellery to our collection. The sheen contrasts against the blue/green body colour of the stones to really show off this phenomenon. Like most gemstones, the price of Apatite has risen so obtaining these unusual varieties is becoming more difficult.”
With a hardness of 5 on MOH’s scale, Apatite is a relatively soft gemstone, therefore Apatite rings should be worn with caution. Its softness can make it difficult to cut and polish, something Bunny has had experience with.
“We tend to have rough with beautiful deep blue colour but lacking the translucency to really see its potential. I’ve managed to polish some cabochons into slices so that the light can transmit through the stone. The end result is amazing, but the softness of Apatite means we’ve lost a few stones in the process.”
While gemmologists are accustomed to gem-trickery and the challenge of the unknown, there will always be gems that fly under the radar and pop-up when we least expect it (we should be used to it by now). Apatite masquerades as other gems although it has its own unique beauty to be adored. Known as a stone for creativity, we can now see why with it creatively deceiving gem collectors and gemmologists. However, we know you will love the creativity captured in our rings, pendants and bracelets in our Apatite crystal jewellery collection.