Zultanite: Turkish Color Changer
Zultanite is a relatively new addition to the gemstone world. One of the few natural color change gemstones, like alexandrite.
In rare cases a cat’s eye effect can be seen in zultanite. An amazing example of rough and cut zultanite can be found at the bottom of this page.
What is Zultanite?
Zultanite is the gem quality variant of the mineral diaspore, which was first found in 1801 in the Ural mountains in Russia. It is an extremely rare gemstone and only mined in a single location in Turkey.
The zultanite gemstone displays light green colors under natural light, while displaying pinkish colors under candlelight.
However unlike alexandrite which only displays two colors (green and red) zultanite can display a large range of earthen colors. From yellow to pink and reddish colors, they are all a possibility.
Chatoyancy or cat’s eye effect is another valued property, showing a band of light in the middle of the gemstone. Currently this is the only color change gemstone that has this effect.
Zultanite is a high quality gemstone that is usually eye clean, has a hardness of around 7 on Mohs scale of hardness and its colors will usually be intensified when set in metal. Which makes this gemstone an excellent choice for jewelry.
How to Take Care of Zultanite
As always, physical labor is not recommended, though zultanite does not chip easily, it is still a possibility. It is fairly easy to care for, here are a two easy tips to keep it in good shape:
- Warm water, some soap and a soft brush should be enough to clean this gemstone, some diluted jewelry cleaner can be used if needed.
- Dry it with a soft cloth afterwards before storing it away from other gemstones. Why? Because zultanite can still be scratched by even harder gemstones such as sapphires or diamonds.
Zultanite Buying Guide
The most important property for zultanite prices is its color change, the higher the contrast between the two colors the better. This color change is more prominent in larger stones, unfortunately however, sizes above 3 carats are almost never found and usually make their way into designer jewelry.
Most zultanite is at least eye-clean. Make sure you can’t see inclusions before buying, because it will have a large effect on the look of the stone and its color change effect. If you’re going to buy zultanite that is not eye-clean make sure you are getting a large discount.
No gemstone enhancements are currently performed, as the company responsible for the exploitation of zultanite is only selling it as a natural gemstone. Keep in mind though that treating a gemstone is always a possibility, as some dealers can (and eventually will) use gemstone treatments to increase their bottom-line. Synthetic zultanite does not currently exist. Most likely because the market is fairly small and color change gemstones are notoriously hard to synthesize.
Important!: Make sure you are buying zultanite (gem quality diaspore) and not regular diaspore. While regular diaspore does display the color change it is not a gem quality mineral. Loose diaspore should be selling for around $50 per carat. However, zultanite is usually sold for between $500 and $1000 per carat. For exceptionally large zultanite stones the price per carat will be far higher than that.
Though quite expensive, it is actually far cheaper than for example diamonds. While at the same time it is far more rare and exclusive. The only drawback is that it is not as suitable for engagement rings or jewelry that you want to wear daily. Though for normal use its durability is more than sufficient.
Hopefully this gemstone will be found in other places making it more available on the market. However even at today’s prices this magnificent color change gemstone is well worth it. Simply take a look below and you will see why!
Below is a video of an antique cut zultanite gemstone. This is a very high quality stone and the color changes are very visible. Keep in mind though that this is a promotional video and so the conditions were perfect for this video-shoot. So don’t expect your own zultanite to be quite as sparkly as it looks below, but it won’t be that far off!