Sugilite

An interesting mineral with a gorgeous purple shade with black or grey streaks. It is prized for jewellery and often sold polished or tumbled.

High grade specimens are sometimes cut for cabochons and used for high end jewellery.

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Appearance, Uses and History

A gorgeous mineral ranging from a pale lavender to pink or purple shades, with black streaks.

Sometimes it is known as ‘Royal Lavulite’, ‘Wesselite’, or ‘Royal Azel’. It may also be known as ‘sugilite jade’ or ‘purple turquoise’, but it is unrelated to these two stones.

It is generally an opaque stone, but in gem quality it is almost translucent, and is highly prized. It is commonly formed into cabochons, beads, drop pendants, etc – it provides an interesting contrast with both silver and gold, and other gemstones, as deep purple stones other than Amethyst are somewhat rare.

It is a relatively recent discovery, named after the Japanese geologist Ken-ichi Sugi who discovered the original samples in Southwest Japan in 1944.


Locales

Sugilite was originally discovered in Japan, where it occurred as a light brown-grey-green mineral. It was of relatively little interest until it was discovered in South Africa as a gemmy purple mineral.

There are several deposits around the world, including Italy, Japan, Australia, and India, but the best quality purple material comes from South Africa.


Mineralogy

Chemistry
A cyclosilicate with the formula KNa2(Fe,Mn,Al)2Li3Si12O30
Colours and Variations
Purple, violet, sometimes light brown, greenish, yellowish.
Streak
Luster
Vitreous
Fracture
White
Transparency
Opaque to translucent, rarely transparent.
Crystal habit
Typically granular to massive.
Mohs hardness
5.5 – 6.5
Specific Gravity
2.74 – 2.79
Fluorescence
N/A
Easiest testing method
Common Treatments
None.

Photos of Sugilite

ROYALAZEL
Sugilite-21331
Sugilite-76750

Sugilith2A
Sugilite-40452
Quartz-Sugilite-t07-76a

Hazards and Warnings

Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.

When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.


Translations

Arabic:

Hindi:

Portuguese:

Bengali:

Indonesian:

Punjabi:

  • ਸੁਗਲਾਈਟ

English:

  • sugilite
  • lavulite
  • luvulite
  • royal azel

Italian:

Russian:

  • Сугилит

French:

Japanese:

  • 杉石

Spanish:

  • Lavulita
  • Sugilita

German:

  • Lavulit
  • Sugilit

Korean:

Thai:

  • ซูกิไลต์

Gujurati:

Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:

Urdu:


Further Reading / External Links