As Jewelry Shopping Guide editors, we write about things that we love and we think you’ll like too. We often have affiliate partnerships, and may generate some revenue from these links at no cost to you.
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding Zultanite, Csarite and diaspore, three gemstone names that are often used interchangeably even though they have specific differences. The confusion arises from the fact that Zultanite and Csarite are varieties of diaspore, but not many people know this.
So what’s the difference between these three? Should I buy Zultanite or diaspore?
Let’s take a look at diaspore, Zultanite and Csarite, how they’re the same and how they’re different.
In this article, the names Zultanite and Csarite will be used interchangeably.
What is Diaspore?
Diaspore is a unique gemstone known for its color changing properties. The gemstone was first discovered in Russia in 1801 and is a relatively recent gemstone. The name diaspore comes from the Greek for diaspora, which means to scatter or spread, a reference to the gemstone’s ability to disperse light in all directions.
Diaspore is an aluminium oxide hydroxide mineral and gem quality specimens are extremely rare. Most diaspore mined today comes from Russia, China, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, the US and Turkey (more on Turkey later).
Diaspore’s color changing properties is unique and makes it quite rare. When viewed under fluorescent light, diaspore appears yellowish green in color, but when the light is incandescent, the gemstone exhibits a purplish pink color. This makes diaspore jewelry perfect for any occasion, whether night or day. Diaspore is found in Larger diaspore tends to have more contrasting color change.
The gemstone’s colors also matches well with any metal color, and pairs well with rose gold and yellow gold for a sophisticated, classy look while white metals give the gemstone a modern, trendy appearance.
Most diaspore is of excellent clarity and has high transparency, but sometimes the gemstone can have minor, natural inclusions. This is one way to tell diaspore apart from synthetic or imitation material.
Diaspore Cut and Durability
Diaspore ranks 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it durable enough for regular wear. However, it’s not a very tough stone, because of its perfect cleavage and can fracture clean along its cleavage lines.
This is why cutting diaspore is a tricky business and has to be done by a skilled gemstone cutter. Diaspore’s beauty lies in its color change and brilliance, two aspects which are clearly visible when well faceted.
So we’ve talked a lot about diaspore. But what about Zultanite and Csarite?
Csarite and Zultanite – the Source of Confusion
Beautiful trillion cut diaspore. See it here.
Csarite and Zultanite are also diaspore and there’s no difference between these three in terms of chemical makeup. The only difference is that both Csarite and Zultanite are trade names while diaspore is the gemological name.
Zultanite and Csarite are mined from one specific diaspore mine in the southwest of Turkey’s Anatolian mountains. The mine was owned by a businessman who initially branded the gemstone Zultanite. However, as the name didn’t seem to catch on, the gemstone was again rebranded as Csarite by the next owner of the mine. Today, both names are used for the gemstone.
The diaspore that comes from this Turkish mine is of excellent quality, with distinctive color changing properties. Unlike most other diaspore, this variety clearly exhibits three colors at a time. While diaspore has been around for over 200 years, Zultanite was sold for the first time in 2006.
Just to clarify any confusion, note that Zultanite and Csarite are only brand names for Turkish diaspore. Both the names Zultanite and Csarite are references to the rulers of Turkey (czar and zultan both mean ruler or sovereign).
Diaspore vs. Zultanite/Csarite
Zultanite gemstone. See it here.
While Zultanite and Csarite are both a variety of diaspore, they are of the highest, gem-quality variety. The names Zultanite and Csarite have a touch of prestige and luxury about them as they’ve been marketed in this manner whereas diaspore is simply the gemological name.
Some of the benefits of buying a Zultanite as opposed to any diaspore is that:
- You know exactly where the Zultanite came from and can be traced back to a single mine in Turkey. In this way, you’ll know that the stone has been mined and distributed in an ethical and sustainable manner.
- Not every stone can be called a Zultanite or Csarite. These names are reserved only for the very best in quality, with the diaspore showing excellent cut, color and clarity. These stones are natural, untreated and unenhanced in anyway.
- You can’t find Zultanite and Csarite everywhere as they’re only available from licensed distributors. So while diaspore is readily available, Zultanite and Csarite aren’t.
- Diaspore is very difficult to cut and facet, due to its perfect cleavage that can cause the stone to easily fracture. However, Zultanite stones are beautifully faceted and cut.
Many retailers who sell Zultanite market it as a rare gemstone only found in one place in the world. This is technically true because Zultanite is a single mine gemstone, coming only from Turkey, and this mine does produce some of the best diaspore in the world.
The benefit of buying Zultanite is that you know you’ll be getting a high-quality, extremely rare gemstone, with stunning color changing ability. However, always check that the stone is, in fact, Zultanite or Csarite and not an overpriced diaspore.
Watch Out for Glass!
Because high quality diaspore is highly valuable, there are imitations on the market that mimic the gemstone’s color changing properties. These glass imitations change color according to the light its viewed under, exactly like Zultanite. Telling such glass imitations apart from Zultanite is almost impossible without specialist tools.
This is why it’s important to purchase from trusted sources to avoid getting ripped off.
Where to Buy Diaspore or Zultanite?
To buy Zultanite or Csarite, it’s best to go direct to the source or purchase from a licensed seller. They should provide you with certification authenticating the stone and identifying its origins.
For diaspore, you can search on any specialist gemstone shop. Note that high quality specimens are rare, and you’ll have to do your due diligence to find a good piece.
Quality diaspore is valuable and can fetch high prices. Always purchase from a trusted source and ask about the origins of the stone as well as for certification. If the store is selling the gemstone as Zultanite or Csarite, they should be able to back this up with certification.
Ready to browse? Click here to search for diaspore jewelry.