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Sphene: The Green Gold Gem

Updated on December 30, 2010

Sphene or Titanite

The use of sphene as this mineral's name has been discredited by the International Mineralogical Association Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names (CNMMN); Titanite is the "approved" name.  However, Sphene persists as the informal name for titanite gemstones.

Tell me more about Sphene

Sphene is a brilliant transparent yellowish-green or green gemstone with a high luster and pronounced fire. Its name comes from the word sphen meaning wedge shaped, as it normally occurs in wedge shaped crystals. Although sphene is rather soft, it is always cut as a facetted stone, which suits its lively appearance, rather than a cabochon, which is more normal for stones softer than 7 on Moh's scale.

History

Sphene is named from the greek word for wedge, because of its typical wedge shaped crystal it forms.

Sphene is an unusual gemstone that until a very few years ago was virtually unknown to most jewelry consumers. However, recent finds in Brazil and the Far East have brought more and more of the material to the market which has resulted in an increased awareness of this gemstone.

So what color is it?

Well, that's kind of hard to say. But not as hard trying to photograph all of these colors. Sphene has a rather unusual ability to take a beam of light and break it into all of the spectral colors. So that it will change color depending which angle you are looking at it. Basically it is green or yellow with flashes of other colors like red or orange.

Where is Sphene found?

Sphene is found in Mexico, Brazil, Canada, United States, Switzerland, Italy and Russia. Recently found in Pakistan ( middle east) and Gilget,Kashmir ( far east )

Care

Sphene is better suited to use in earrings or pendents where it is less likely to suffer abuse.

Hot water, chemicals and sharp blows should be avoided.

If used in rings, it should be worn with care because its softness means it will scratch or chip relatively easily.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

·Color is green, yellow, white, brown or black.

·Luster is adamantine.

·Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.

·Crystal System: Monoclinic; 2/m

·Crystal Habits include elongated wedges that form tabular or platy crystals. Some crystals are not so elongated and can have a trigonal appearance similar to a flattened rhombohedron. Twinning is common and produces a twin that is shaped like a deflatted, caved-in football, only with flatter surfaces.

·Cleavage is indistinct in two directions

·Fracture is conchoidal

·Hardness is 5 - 5.5

·Specific Gravity is 3.3 - 3.6

·Streak is white.

·Associated Minerals are chlorite, anatase, calcite, quartz, zircon and feldspars.

·Other Characteristics: Pleochroic if strongly colored.

·Notable Occurances include Gilget, Pakistan; Mt Vesuvius, Italy; Kola Penn., Russia; Ontario, Canada and New York and California, USA.

·Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, luster, hardness, twinning if present and color.

Great must have items for the Gem lover.

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    • profile image

      gemwow 6 years ago

      @aesta1: Hello ... just no idea and not sure how the gems market in Nepal ... but i think Nepal has lots of beautiful jewelries and handmade... Please check our GemWow lens to have some ideas about Thai Gems.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I like this as this is one way to show off a 'Go Green' way of life!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have this stone as it always attracts me but I did not know its name until I saw your lens. Thanks. I saw it the first time in Nepal.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have this stone as it always attracts me but I did not know its name until I saw your lens. Thanks. I saw it the first time in Nepal.

    • profile image

      LeslieBrenner 9 years ago

      Sphene/Titanite: love its yellow-green color. Never heard of it before today either.

    • Gatsby LM profile image

      Gatsby LM 9 years ago

      5* Never seen one of these before. Solve Dog Behavior Problems

    • DogWhisperWoman1 profile image

      DogWhisperWoman1 9 years ago

      5* You sure know a lot! Dog Whisper Whisper Woman

    • profile image

      elaines 10 years ago

      Fabulous lens with lots of great info - 5 stars!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 10 years ago

      Beautiful and educational, as always!

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      Enchanted_Ways 10 years ago

      Love your lenses! I'm a gemologist wanna-be. LOL!

    • Classic LM profile image

      Classic LM 10 years ago

      I saw you on the stores board. Great lens! I leave you with 5*s please visit my lens(es) to rate! Thank you!

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      Scarboroughseashells 10 years ago

      Another informative lens by the lady with the rocks! :) Great job 5 *****s

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      DeanBakerWholesale 10 years ago

      Love the lens and great info. Lot I had already rates this one, guess not. Gave you 5 stars!

    • fefe42 profile image

      fefe42 10 years ago

      Another great gem lens by you. The pear cut gems are really nice looking.

    • LABELSTONE profile image

      LABELSTONE 10 years ago

      Green is my favorite color and these gems are just super! I must visit you on ebay! 5-star lense!

      LABELSTONE

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      My husband may not appreciate my knowing about all of these beautiful gems thanks to your lenses! :)

      Keep up the good work!

    • AnnsHomeDecor profile image

      AnnsHomeDecor 10 years ago

      Nice lens! Well worth a 5 star rating!