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Known for its rich, royal lavender hues, sugilite is a relatively recent addition to the world of gemstones. Sugilite is fast growing in popularity as it becomes more well-known. It’s an excellent addition to any jewelry collection and perfect for mineral collectors and gemstone lovers.
If you’re thinking about buying your own sugilite jewelry, keep reading as we cover everything you need to know in this comprehensive sugilite guide.
What is Sugilite?
Sugilite is categorized as a cyclosilicate mineral, or in other words – a crystal mineral with a very high content of silicone.
It was first described in 1944 by the Japanese petrologist Ken-ichi Sugi. The piece of sugilite that Ken-ichi Sugi worked with was found in the Iwagi Islet, Japan, and the mineral is indeed frequently found in Japan.
The name Sugilite comes from the name of Ken-ichi Sugi, even though the name of the mineral is typically pronounced with a soft “g” while Sugi’s name is pronounced with a hard “g”. As with most other minerals, sugilite is also known by several other names:
- Royal Lavulite because of its lovely lavender color
- Royal Azel and Royal Lazelle are two other names frequently used in South Africa
- Wesselite because sugilite is also mined from the famous Wessels Mine in Northern Cape, South Africa.
Depending on its inclusions, sugilite can actually range from light brownish yellow to dark rose-red, but lavender or intense reddish violet are the most typical colors of this mineral.
Aside from Japan and South Africa, sugilite is also often mined in Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada, Liguria and Tuscany, Italy, Madhya Pradesh, India, and New South Wales, Australia. Nevertheless, despite sugilite deposits being found all throughout the world, as a gemstone, sugilite is most popular in Asia. It’s a rare gemstone and can fetch high prices.
Sugilite in Jewelry
You’ll find sugilite jewelry in a range of styles, from boho and hippie to chic and high-end. This makes it a very versatile gemstone, with sugilite jewelry ranging from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. The quality of craftsmanship, materials used, and the quality of the stone itself add to the final price of the piece of jewelry.
Because of its rich color, even small sugilite jewelry can be very eye-catching. It adds a perfect pop of color to your outfit.
Some couples who want an alternative engagement ring may be interested in a sugilite engagement ring. While this is certainly different and very intriguing in appearance, sugilite isn’t highly durable, ranking only 6 on the Mohs scale. This means that it requires maintenance and protection to keep it lustrous and lasting a long time. Protective settings like bezels and halos are ideal for keeping the stone safe.
Some other uses of sugilite include ornamentation on anything from mirror frames and picture frames to statuettes and figurines. With its gorgeous lavender color, wearability, and beautiful luster, sugilite can be an effective addition to any piece of jewelry.
How to Choose Sugilite’s Color?
The color of this mineral is actually the most important aspect of its grading. The deeper the color of a sugilite gemstone, the higher its grading is going to be.
A sugilite’s appearance can be mottled at first glance, but that rarely affects the overall value of the gemstone if the color is deep enough. If, however, the deep dark purple is mixed with some lighter areas, that will lower the stone’s value.
Of all the colors sugilite can come in, the intense purple to red ones are most valued. Light brownish-yellow sugilite is typically undervalued as it just doesn’t have the same striking effect as its counterparts.
Sugilite and Clarity
As an opaque to translucent gemstone, sugilite has essentially no clarity. Instead, its rich and opaque look makes for a captivating sight, especially when cut well and embedded into the right type of jewelry.
Depending on the inclusions, a piece of sugilite can be more homogenous in its color or look “oily” with often beautiful black or brown spots and stripes running across the stone.
Translucent sugilite is much rarer than its opaque variant. Also known as “sugilite gel”, this material is very highly-priced because of its rarity. It has a gel-like waxy appearance that’s very appealing.
However, it should be said, that there isn’t a well-established market value for translucent sugilite yet, because of how rare it is. It’s much more valued and more expensive than standard sugilite, but its price can vary greatly from vendor to vendor, so exercise caution and contact a lot of vendors if you’re looking for translucent sugilite gel.
Sugilite can be cut both in faceted stones and in beads. It’s typically used in smooth, polished free-form shapes as this tends to highlight the color of the stone. Beads, cabochons, and carvings are also popular ways to use sugilite. Faceted sugilite adds depth to the stone’s look and the added angles give off more light performance.
The opaque nature of the sugilite means that the cutter rarely needs to pay attention to the eventual clarity of the stone and needs to only look out for its inclusions and how to cut around them. Depending on the end goal of the cutter and the jeweler, said inclusions can be either cut around or accented with both choices often yielding gorgeous gemstones.
Sugilite Carat Sizes
Sugilite is usually mined in large sizes and can be cut into a variety of sizes. Sugilite stones usually come at an average carat weight of above 10 carats. Sugilite gemstones are typically measured in millimeters, rather than carats.
As with any other colored and/or opaque gemstone, pricing should be done based on the stone’s physical parameters and not its carat weight. That’s because, sugilite, like many others, can vary greatly in terms of its carat weight to physical size ratio.
Cleaning and Caring for Sugilite Jewelry
As a gemstone with medium hardness, sugilite should be stored with care. There are lots of gemstones that are much harder than it and that can easily scratch if stored in the same jewelry box with it. Either keep your sugilite pieces and jewelry separately or wrap them in a piece of cloth when storing them with other jewelry.
As far as cleaning is concerned, sugilite can be easily cleaned with mild liquid soap and warm water. Avoid using powerful and toxic household cleaning detergents as well as ultrasonic jewelry cleaners. Rinse sugilite thoroughly and wipe dry.
Enhanced or Imitation Sugilite Gemstones
Sugilite is sometimes heat-treated to enhance its color. This is an industry practice and is often carried out on colored gemstones, including precious stones such as ruby and sapphire. Your retailer should disclose if any such treatments have been done on the stone.
Something to watch out for is imitation sugilite. Because it’s a relatively valuable gemstone, there are many sugilite imitations in unethical jewelry stores – dyed quartzite, dyed magnesite, dyed marble, dyed and heated beryl, and other similar gemstones are often presented as sugilites.
There are also a lot of “synthetic sugilites” sold online, but these are almost always just fake and not actual lab-made sugilite.
To avoid getting ripped off, always ask about the origin of the stone and purchase from reputable retailers.
Sugilite Meaning and Symbolism
Sugilite is valued for its metaphysical and healing properties and is often worn to allow for good energy and vibes.
Lauded as the “love stone for this age” by many, sugilite has grown in popularity, especially in Asia. It’s believed to embody the perfect Divine Love and help manifest its energy on our plane of existence.
Owning a sugilite stone is therefore thought to help the owner understand and love himself or herself, as well as extend that love to those around them. This gemstone is also said to awaken the Crown Chakra and infuse the wearer’s body with light.
It’s also believed to give the wearer strength and make them resistant to negativity from others. It provides a protective aura to those wearing the stone.
*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 Sugilite
You may be able to find sugilite at most retailers specializing in gemstones and crystals. However, searching for sugilite online will give you more options and better pricing. It’s also convenient and lets you easily compare different prices and designs across stores.
It’s important to ensure that you’re purchasing from a reputable retailer with a proven track record. Look for high customer ratings, clear communication, and easy access. Always check the after-sales policies, especially returns policies.