Pietersite

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Typical Pietersite from Namibia, Africa
Typical Pietersite from China
Closeup of Pietersite from China

Pietersite was discovered by Sid Pieters in 1962 while he was prospecting some farmland in Namibia, Africa. After his discovery, he registered the find in the mineral records of Britain. His discovery was published in 1964, and the material was named pietersite. Currently there are only two known sources of pietersite: African and Chinese. Pietersite is considered a type of tiger's eye, having the same properties as tiger's eye but with different patterns due to its brecciated formation.

The fibrous structure in pietersite has been folded, stressed, even fractured and/or broken apart via the Earth's geologic processes. The fibrous materials have then been reformed and naturally recemented together by quartz. Stones and crystals that go through this process are referred to as brecciated, creating a finished product with multiple colors, hues and superb chatoyancy. While pietersite has the lovely chatoyancy of tiger eye, it is not found in continuously structured bands. Rather it can form in swirls, swathes and fibrous (sometimes linear) segments. Thus the structure of the fibrous streaks in pietersite may appear rather chaotic, and can flow or exist in many directions side-by-side like bold paint strokes.

African pietersite is the most sought after pietersite due to its wide rage of colors. Colors include various blues, golds and reds, that may appear together or alone. Blue is the rarest color, followed by red. The blues range from a baby blue to dark midnight hue. Golds can be light to very deep and rich, sometimes having a reddish hue. All fibrous color variations will have a superb and striking chatoyancy, the bright and subtly changing shimmer of color that moves along the surface of a gemstone as it is viewed from varying angles.

Chinese pietersite is said to have been discovered in 1993, but did not come to market until 1997. Chinese pietersite exhibits slightly different variations in color and patterns from the pietersite found in Africa. Its colors are primarily golden and bronze, as seen in the pictures to the right, but can also be found in blue shades.