Deriving from the Greek word Kyanos, meaning “deep blue”, kyanite is known for its undeniably similar hue to the rich blue of Ceylon Sapphires although these gems are worlds apart. A typically blue aluminium silicate minerals, kyanite offers tranquillity and protection to the wearer and can be found in an array of colours including blue, green, grey, yellow, orange, black and colourless.
Kyanite was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817) and the crystals are prismatic or tabular with a fibrous/ bladed structure down the length of the crystal. This physical characteristic is responsible for internal colour banding and cat’s eye chatoyancy when stones are cut en cabochon. Kyanite is strongly anisotropic, in that the physical and optical properties vary with direction, in this particular incidence so does hardness. The direction of hardness parallel to the crystal axis is 4 – 5.5 and perpendicular is 7-7.5, which is a diagnostic feature of kyanite.
This phenomenon is further enhanced by the stone’s perfect cleavage – no not what you’re thinking – this term refers to a stone’s tendency planes due to a weakness in their atomic bonds. Many stones present perfect cleavage including topaz, diamond and fluorite. Although a gemstone doesn’t necessarily become weak because of perfect cleavage, the gem cutter and jeweller must practice caution to ensure cleavage does not occur. In kyanite’s case, the cleavage occurs parallel to the length of the crystal in line with the bladed structure.
Found in Brazil, Nepal, Australia and part of Africa, kyanite crystals form in severe conditions deep under the earth’s crust. For this reason, kyanite is recognized for its ability to retain its strength at high temperatures and pressures and present a wide variety of uses outside of the jewellery industry. It is used in porcelain plumbing fixtures, dishware and also electrical insulators and abrasives. Looking down on your sparkling ring you would never guess how versatile it uses could be.
Although it has many uses kyanite is still favourable as a polished gemstone and Bunny Bedi, owner and creative director of Made In Earth, shares his passion for this blue beauty. “Kyanite has always been one of my favourite gemstones and I’ve worn a ring set with an oval stone for the last 9 years. I’m not sure if the velvety blue colour that I adore so much or the strength and positive energy it has brought me.
“Made In Earth has been delivering some of the richest blue kyanite gemstones for the last 10 years and it is still a hit for our retailers after all these years. We have continued to be creative with our kyanite jewellery by selling cabochons crystals, polished tablets and of course faceted stones. Although the high grade faceted kyanite might look like a Ceylon sapphire, it most definitely won’t cost you the same.”