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Although Apatite is really a family of gemstones, as the individual members have very long and difficult-to-pronounce names, the jewellery industry tends to use Apatite as the generic name.
Historically, because the gem was often confused with other gemstones such as Tourmaline, Peridot and Beryl, its name is derived from the Greek meaning “to deceive”.
The more common colours for Apatite are similar to Paraiba Tourmaline, with swimming pool blues through to lively light greens. That said, other colours occasionally occur: colourless to white, brownish-yellow, greyish-green and one known as the “Asparagus stone” due to its resemblance to the vegetable. There is also a ‘Cat’s Eye Apatite’, which is a rarity at Apatite mines. As you would guess from its name, this type of Apatite displays the optical effect of Chatoyancy, an effect caused by tiny fibrous inclusions that are naturally arranged in a parallel configuration. When the light hits the surface of the polished gemstone, a narrow line of light appears, which looks very similar to the opening and closing of a cat’s eye.
Finds of Apatite over 1 carat are very rare indeed, and it is also very difficult to find clean Apatite stones over this size, as many will still have a few inclusions. That said, if the colour saturation is good, then even with inclusions you still have yourself a rare and beautiful piece.
The recent finds of Apatite in Madagascar in 1995 have added to the popularity of this gem. Exhibiting excellent saturation, Madagascan Apatite’s colours range from neon “Emerald” greens (as typified by our Fort Dauphin Apatite) to neon “Paraiba” blues.
Even rarer than gem-quality Apatite is the purple variation of this gemstone, found in the Mount Apatite of Maine, USA.
Apatite has been associated with many healing properties and is a gemstone often combined with other gems to further its healing powers. It is also thought to be an aid to seeing the truth about oneself.
When you combine Rose Quartz with Apatite it is meant to draw and give unconditional love; if you pair it with colourless Quartz it can help you see the changes that need to occur in your life; and when combined with Aquamarine it is believed to help you make those changes.
For such a beautiful gemstone, with almost a neon glow, it is difficult to comprehend how many Apatites are created from fossilised dinosaur bones! At just 5 on the Mohs scale, Apatite is one of the softest gems to be set in jewellery, but treated respectably its alluring and luscious glow will keep its owner entranced for many years.
Deposits have been found in several locations including Cornwall in England, Canada, Norway, Russia and Sweden.
GIA qualified Gemmologists
Members of the British Jewellery Association
Members of the Coloured Gemstone Assocation