Kyanite comes from the Greek word ‘kyanos’ meaning ‘blue’. But the gemstone also occurs in several other colors like pink, yellow, white, gray, and even green-blue with patches absent of color. Read on to learn how to tell if Kyanite is Real or Fake.
Since buying and identifying a Kyanite can be a cumbersome task. What separates it from other minerals is a vast sea of characteristics, which are hard to understand, especially for the beginner on the lookout for an original piece.
Suggested Reading: Kyanite: Meaning, Healing Properties, Benefits and Uses
How to Tell if Kyanite is Real or Fake?
Observe the Cleavage
Cleavage indicates the tendency of a crystal to break along definite plane surfaces. If you are buying an uncut piece of Kyanite, this should be the stone’s most visible physical and tactical feature. Real Kyanite has perfect unidirectional cleavage.
This means that it can splinter easily in the direction where the atomic bonds are weakened. Physically, this makes real Kyanite look like a colored mass of splintery wood. Unfortunately, this property is near impossible to imitate in other materials.
- It is important to remember that even with its perfect cleavage, real Kyanite is able to hold together due to its great atomic bond strengths. Real Kyanite will not splinter in the direction opposite to the partitions.
- Even when struck in the direction of its cleavage planes, a real Kyanite will require a significant blow to break.
- Sometimes layers of glass may be stuck to each other to give the appearance of a structurally compromised crystal. Materials such as glass, however, do not splinter on the application of force; they shatter.
- If you suspect that an alleged Kyanite is an imitation material like glass, you can try hitting it with a piece of hammer along the cleavage planes. If it shatters rather than chipping off in fragments, it is a fake.
Can Kyanite Go in the Water? Is Kyanite Water Safe? Read here.
Look for Pleochroism
Pleochroism means ‘more colors’.
When a gemstone shows two or more colors when viewed from different angles, it is pleochroic.
This is an essential tool used by gemologists for not only classifying but also grading Kyanite stones.
A very interesting pleochroism observed among some Kyanites is called the Cat’s eye-effect, or Chatoyancy, which occurs when the several angles at which light meets the splintery structure of a Kyanite cause the light passing through it to form a thin band across the surface of the stone.
This looks very similar to the pupil on a cat’s glass eye and is therefore called so.
Kyanite is made of long, flattened, and fibrous crystals, which can create Chatoyancy in some specimens, so some kyanite has a cat-eye effect, although not all of it.
Pleochroic Kyanite is rare and therefore more expensive than Kyanite that does not show such results.
What is the difference between pleochroism and Colour Zoning?
Pleochroism is not the same as color zoning, which is the presence of multiple colors within a crystal.
Color zoning typically occurs due to various minerals in a crystal, while pleochroism has to do with how a crystal responds to the colors present in white light.
For example, the common colors in a pleochroic Kyanite are violet and blue and shades of yellow-green and green.
You can observe pleochroism by moving the stone in your hand under light or taking a picture of your crystal.
If it looks like it is reflecting different colors from different angles, it is likely to be a real and high-quality Kyanite stone.
Observe the Luster
If you have only observed Kyanite in images where it appears splintery, almost wood-like, then it may feel that Kyanite has a dull or waxy surface. This is very far from the truth.
A real Kyanite, despite its appearance and fractures, has a brilliant vitreous, almost glass-like luster. The best way to understand the luster of a stone is to move it in your palm and observe it under the sun.
Imitation materials made to look splintery are often pasted together with resin, easily visible as seams holding several thin layers of glass together. A real Kyanite, when stored under diffuse light, would look pearly and cloudy around its cleavage planes.
Check for Hardness
Kyanite is unmatched in its characteristic variable hardness. This means that depending on the direction in which hardness is measured, it gives different results.
So within a singular piece of Kyanite, the hardness can vary from a 4 to about 7.5 on the Mohs’ scale. Often blue quartz or glass are used as imitation materials for Kyanite.
- One way to identify these is their uniform hardness of about 7. Both quartz and glass have the same hardness throughout the crystal regardless of the direction in which it is measured.
- You can test this by trying to scratch your stone with a coin. A real Kyanite may get scratched by a coin in its softer parts while not in others. Imitation materials such as glass or quartz are hard enough not to be scratched by a coin at all.
Test for Luminescence
Certain electrons in atoms within the crystal structure of a mineral may be able to absorb energy and release this energy at a later time. This creates a phenomenon known as luminescence.
When the absorbed energy is released almost immediately, it is called fluorescence. This property is inherent to the composition of particular crystals and cannot be imitated.
Luminescence, therefore, is a sure-shot way to establish the authenticity of your crystal. For example, Kyanite is known to show a dim red fluorescence under long-wave UV light.
Inquire for Origin
If you are buying Kyanite from a gem dealer or gemstone expert, be sure to ask for its place of origin. This is a great way to connect with the biography of your gem and ascertain its originality.
Here are a few things about the geographical occurrences of various varieties of Kyanite that you can keep in mind while buying one.
Kyanite typically occurs in large masses in schists, gneiss, and granite pegmatites. Therefore, you can get your hands on large-sized pegmatites when trying to buy an uncut variety. Some localities where such stones are found include:
- Various places in the United States, especially Yancy County, North Carolina, have vast deposits of deep blue or green crystals, which can be up to 2 inches long.
- Some of these are face tables and are currently in the market. So you are likely to encounter Kyanites from these places in the market today.
- Vermont: Connecticut: Virginia: Georgia; Massachusetts. Mozambique is known to be the sanctuary of a great many dark blue varieties of Kyanite
- Brazil is also home to massive-sized blue and blue-green Kyanite crystals.
- Machakos District, Kenya, produces blue crystals banded with green, also some rare colorless variety.
Read about the properties and benefits of other Blue Crystals here.
Check for the Size of the Stone
Kyanite is rare as a faceted gem, especially when free from inclusions and flaws. The material is tough to cut because of its perfect cleavage and the extreme variability in hardness in different directions in the same crystal.
Since it is so directional, almost like a plank of wood, due to its long, fiber-like crystalline makeup, Kyanite beads, when faceted, are flattened and have long oval shapes.
If you are being sold a bracelet made of perfectly spherical beads of Kyanite, it is most likely a fake.
Faceting kyanite stones is problematic because of the stone’s makeup and because translucent kyanite specimens that are large enough to cut down are scarce—they are much more common in tiny sizes, 2 carats at most. Kyanite gems are sometimes cut to about 20 carats, but they are seldom spotless over 5 carats.
Although commercially viable and readily wearable specimens of Kyanite are few and far between, mid-grade Kyanite varieties are often used to make pendants and earrings.
When buying a Kyanite, be very sure to test for originality as the tests above suggest, but also make sure to offer regular care to a piece of Kyanite you buy.
You may want to store it in a separate bag of its own so that it does not splinter easily and lasts you longer.