Zultanite: A Color Changing Stone

Zultanite is a rare gemstone known for its dramatic color-changing ability. Depending on the lighting, it can shift from yellowish-green to kiwi green, raspberry pink, orange, champagne, and even purplish-pink. It's a diaspore mineral mined exclusively in the Ilbir Mountains of southwestern Turkey.

Zultanite is a rare and captivating gem variety of the mineral diaspore, known for its remarkable color-changing ability. It is found exclusively in the ─░lbir Mountains of southwest Turkey, at an elevation of over 4,000 feet. 

This exceptional gemstone exhibits a mesmerizing transformation in hue depending on the light source. Under daylight, it displays a range of shades from pastel green to champagne, while in incandescent light, it transforms into a captivating array of warm, rosy tones, ranging from pink to peach to orange.

Diaspore displays a subtle color change from a kiwi-like green in daylight to a champagne color in incandescent light, and a light purplish-pink under low intensity lighting such as candelight. The color change tends to be more pronounced in larger gems (over 5 carats). High quality diaspore tends to have excellent transparency with only minor inclusions.

Zultanite
Zultanite Crystals Color Changing
 

Zultanite has a fairly high hardness of 6.5 to 7, falling short of the other well-known color change gemstone alexandrite. It also has perfect cleavage, this means that it can more easily split when you are not careful while wearing it. Despite this it is suitable for jewelry, but you will have to be careful with it.

Zultanite is a trade name for gem quality diaspore. The term was introduced by the owner of the only known deposit of zultanite.

Gemologically, diaspore is an aluminum oxide hydroxide by chemical composition and its crystals have an orthorhombic structure. Diaspore is reasonably hard at 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, and it has a density or specific gravity of 3.30 to 3.39, similar to jadeite or peridot. Diaspore also has a relatively high refractive index at 1.702-1.750, ranking between tanzanite and spinel.

What causes the color change? Zultanite's pleochroism, a property where different light directions reveal different colors within the stone, creates the dramatic effect.

Where is Zultanite found?

Zultanite has only a single known source in Mugla, Turkey deep in the Anatolian Mountains. Diaspore crystals have been found in other countries, but so far no other gem quality deposit has been found.

How much does Zultanite cost? 

The price of Zultanite depends heavily on its size, color intensity, clarity, and cut. Larger stones with vibrant color play and excellent clarity can be quite expensive.

High quality zultanite up to 1 carat that is eye clean and has an excellent cut will sell for roughly $200 per carat

Zultanite crystal
Zultanite

 

Zultanite Properties

Composition: Diaspore AlO(OH) with trace amounts of chromium and manganese

Color: Pleochroic, meaning it displays different colors depending on the viewing angle and light source. Common colors include:

  • Green: Vibrant kiwi green in daylight or incandescent light (most common)
  • Yellow: Warm honey or champagne hue under fluorescent light
  • Pink: Delicate raspberry or rose pink in certain lighting conditions
  • Orange: Rich cognac or amber tone at specific angles

Luster: Vitreous (glassy), pearly on cleavages

Crystal System: Orthorhombic

Streak: White

Hardness: 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale (relatively durable but can scratch)

Cleavage: Perfect on [010], good on [110] (prone to breakage along these planes)

Crystal Form: Rarely found in well-defined crystals; typically occurs as granular masses or inclusions within other minerals

Density: 3.30-3.54 g/cm³

Transparency: Translucent to transparent (depending on clarity)

Fracture: Conchoidal (uneven and shell-like)

Specific Gravity: 3.39 (ratio of its density to the density of water)

Solubility: Insoluble in water and common acids

Magnetism: Non-magnetic

Fluorescence: Weak orange under long-wave UV light

Pleochroism: Strong; green, yellow, and pink

Refractive Index: 1.68-1.75 (measure of how light bends when passing through the stone)

Zultanite
Zultanite: A Color Changing Stone. Zultanite gemstones, rough and crystal form lighting

 

Facts about zultanite:

  • The name "zultanite" is derived from the Turkish word "zultanit," which means "sultan's stone."
  • Zultanite is a relatively hard gemstone, with a Mohs hardness of 6.5 to 7. This means that it should be protected from scratches and knocks.
  • Zultanite is a relatively rare gemstone, with only a few hundred carats produced each year.
  • The price of zultanite varies depending on the size, color, and clarity of the stone. However, zultanite is generally more expensive than other gemstones with similar properties.

 

zultanite gemstone
Zultanite gemstone

What makes zultanite unique

Color-changing magic: Zultanite's ability to change colors like a chameleon is its most striking feature. This phenomenon, called pleochroism, makes it a captivating and versatile gemstone.

Rarity and exclusivity: Zultanite's limited source makes it a relatively rare gem, adding to its value and appeal.

Natural beauty: Zultanite is untreated and unenhanced, showcasing its natural brilliance and color play.

Versatile style: Its color range allows for pairing Zultanite with various metals and other gemstones, catering to diverse preferences.

See also: 
Thunderegg: Ordinary Rocks With Crystal Surprise Inside!
Chrysoberyl: One of the World's Most Exotic and Expensive Gems

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