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Apatite is a little-known gemstone that occurs in a rainbow of colors. High quality apatite gemstones can rival the beauty of other more valuable gemstones and when set in well-crafted jewelry, apatite really stands out.
Due to its affordability and easy availability, this is a gemstone that anyone can afford. Yet interestingly, apatite is not a mainstream gemstone, and most people don’t know about it, even though it is a favorite among gemstone collectors and a well-kept secret.
Here’s what you should know to help you buy your own apatite jewelry.
What is Apatite?
Apatite is composed of the most abundantly found phosphate variety in the world. It is the most common source of phosphorous, with various apatite forms used in the composition of products such as fertilizers, acids and chemicals. Apatite is one of the most important minerals found in the human body making up a large portion of bones and teeth. This is clearly a mineral that has multiple uses. Although apatite is very common, gem-quality apatite can be harder to come by.
Apatite gemstones are found around the globe, with major sources located in Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka, Burma and Mexico. Some special varieties are only found in certain locations, such as the Maine variety of apatite.
Because of apatite’s similarity to other gemstones, it is routinely mistaken for other gemstones such as peridot, topaz, aquamarine, beryl and so on. This characteristic is what gives apatite its name. The word apatite derives from the Greek apatein which literally means to deceive or to cheat, a reference to the fact that apatite was commonly mistaken for other gemstones. This has also led to apatite sometimes being called the deceitful stone.
Choosing from Apatite’s Many Colors
Tourmaline is known as the rainbow gemstone, but apatite could give it a run for its money. Occurring in a range of rainbow hues, apatite’s intriguing colors include neon blue, aquamarine, yellows and greens.
Some special apatite colors include:
- Madagascar blue apatite which have a stunning swimming pool blue color that is as beautiful as the highly valued and sought after Paraiba tourmaline.
- Asparagus apatite which refers to a yellowish-green variety found in Spain.
- Petrol blue apatite that has a deep, intense blue color.
- A vivid purple apatite that is only found in Maine.
When considering apatite color, note that high color intensity and vivid, deep saturation are considered the most valuable.
Apatite and Clarity
Apatite is commonly found in transparent varieties, although it can also be translucent. However, most apatite is included to some degree, and it is common to find visible flaws in apatite stones. As a result, gemstones that have no visible inclusions are rare and more expensive.
Choosing Apatite Cut
When used in jewelry, apatite can be found in a variety of shapes. The variety of apatite can determine the cut chosen for the stone. For example, apatite that displays chatoyancy (the cat’s eye effect) is always cut en cabochon to enhance and clearly exhibit this feature.
However, faceting apatite is common and it is easy to find beautifully faceted apatite gemstones in jewelry. Apatite in its rough form is also used to create unique and bohemian styled jewelry by skilled designers.
Synthetic, Treated and Imitation Apatite
Apatite is typically untreated and most apatite you come across will be in its natural form. However some varieties tend to be heat treated to enhance its appearance, such as the moroxite variety. Blue apatite is also sometimes heat treated to enhance its color.
Because apatite is quite commonly found and not expensive, synthetic versions are rare. While it is hard to find imitation apatite, note that sometimes apatite can be used to imitate other more expensive gemstones.
Apatite in Jewelry
Apatite may not be a mainstream jewelry gemstone, but many designers love to work with this challenging gemstone. Its color range, affordability and availability make it a popular stone among jewelry designers with an eye for unique and beautiful gemstones. However, as apatite is very soft, it can be difficult to fashion and cut making it a challenging stone to work with.
Apatite is beautiful in any types of jewelry, but is not recommended for rings or bracelets for frequent use. If used in these sorts of high-exposure jewelry, apatite should be placed in protective settings.
Blue apatite is the most popular variety used in jewelry, while yellow and green can also be easily found. Other varieties can prove quite rare and will need some careful searching to find.
Diamonds and apatite go well together, as diamonds tend to bring out the stunning colors of apatite. This is why surrounding apatite with a halo of little melee diamonds is a popular design to enhance the beauty of the apatite.
You can find apatite jewelry to suit a variety of budgets. You can pick up a beautiful piece for everyday wear for under $50 while high end apatite jewelry can cost up to $10,000. It all comes down to the quality of the gemstone and the excellence in craftsmanship of the overall piece.
Apatite Durability and Care
Apatite ranks at 5 on the Mohs scale and as such is quite a fragile and soft gemstone. It is also known for being brittle and can easily scratch, fracture and chip.
If you see that your apatite jewelry is dirty and needs to be cleaned, simply use a mild liquid soap and water to clean it with a soft cloth. Avoid harsh or abrasive cleaners and materials as these can scratch the surface, doing more harm than good. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner for apatite.
Always take apatite jewelry off when engaging in activities such as swimming, playing sports, gardening, cleaning or washing dishes.
Keep apatite jewelry away from heat and shock, as it cannot handle these well. Ensure that the stone does not come into contact with household detergents and chemicals, including hairspray, cosmetics or perfumes.
Finally, when storing apatite jewelry, always place it in a separate dust-free bag or pouch, away from other gemstones and metals to prevent scratching.
Apatite Meaning and Symbolism
Apatite is not very well-known and due to this, there aren’t many legends, myths or metaphysical concepts attached to it.
However, because it is a mineral that is found in the human body, apatite is sometimes connected to concepts of healing and wellness, especially with issues concerning bones and teeth.
Apatite is also thought to help with overcoming fear and to stimulate creativity. Many believe that apatite can bring a cleansing influence on the body and the mind. It is believed to stimulate certain Chakras and to provide balance to the mind and body.
*Disclaimer: Jewelry Shopping Guide does not guarantee or validate any of the claims related to the metaphysical and alternative healing powers of this or any other gemstone. This information should in no way be used as a substitute for medical advice.
Where to Buy Apatite Jewelry
Apatite is not a mainstream gemstone and it can be difficult to find it at your local jewelers.
The best option would be to check on Amazon, has a wide range of apatite jewelry and loose gemstones to suit every budget. Do your due diligence and vet the retailer’s after sales policies (especially returns policies) and trustworthiness before you buy.
Famous online retailers such as Etsy, known for carrying extensive gemstone jewelry collections, often feature apatite jewelry.