The Gemstone Andalusite
Andalusite gemstones are remarkable for their fascinating color habits and very strong pleochroism
, which can cause a muliticolored effect of shades of yellow, olive-green, and reddish-brown within a single gem. Although Andalusite as a mineral is not uncommon, the transparent variety used as a gem is very rare. Another important form of Andalusite that is entirely different is the mostly opaque Chiastolite
variety, which is known for its unique cross-shaped design within the body of a crystal.
White, Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Pink, Gray, Black, Multicolored
7 - 7.5
1.62 - 1.65
Transparent to opaque
3.1 - 3.2
The strong pleochroic
effect in transparent Andalusite exhibits itself with a display of colors when viewing a gemstone through different angles. The intensity of the colors also varies by the viewing angle. The cut of an Andalusite gem plays a critical role in how the color will display itself in a cut stone. Gemstones can be cut either in a long shaped or equant shape. Long cuts will allow gemstones to show one color near the center and a different color on the ends, and equant square or round cuts will allow the multicolored effect to blend in an interesting manner.
Andalusite is used a minor gemstone. Although it forms hard and resistant gemstones of beautiful color, deposits of gem quality material are not extensive enough to make Andalusite into a standardized gemstone. The cross-patterned Chiastolite
variety is also used as a minor gemstone, and can be cut into rounded disc-like slices and polished.
Variety of Andalusite with a distinctive cross pattern (or occasionally a checkerboard pattern) that forms in the interior cross-section of a crystal.
Bright green to olive-green variety of Andalusite, with its color supposedly caused by manganese impurities.
Treatments & Enhancements
Andalusite gemstones are generally not treated or enhanced.
The rare gem variety comes primarily from Brazil. Chiastolite comes from many locations worldwide, including Australia, China, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the U.S. (California and Massachusetts).
lack the strong pleochroism
and multicolored effect
Andalusite in the Rough Photos