The name “microlite” refers to the size of the crystals. Faceted diamonds larger than 4 carats, which can range in transparency from opaque, are extremely uncommon. However, large brownish or reddish materials can be carved into cabochons up to several inches long by gem carvers.
Microlite is a member of the pyrochlore mineral supergroup and, in terms of mineralogy, is a group of pyrochlores with a predominance of the element tantalum (Ta).
What is Microlite?
The streak color of Microlite ranges from pale yellow to brown. Do not, however, test streaks on completed jewels. As a last option, only test the material in discrete locations.
Microlites may lose their crystalline structure and become metamict as a result of radiation exposure during creation. Anomaly double refraction may also result from this metamictization (ADR).
Meaning of Microlite
Due to the possibility of minor radioactivity in some microlites from rare-earth impurities (REE), faceters should take precautions to prevent mistakenly inhaling or ingesting cutting dust.
Keep jewelry and carvings made of microlite apart from gemstones like garnet, quartz, topaz, etc. which are more frequently found in jewelry and carvings. Use protective settings when using rings on microlites because their hardness ranges from 5 to 5.5, making them susceptible to scratches from both these harder things and everyday objects like steel files. Use warm water, a gentle detergent, and a soft brush to clean. For more advice, go to our cleaning guide for gemstone jewelry.
There are opportunities for larger stones in the green Brazilian gem market, where fewer than 1 carat stones have been seen.
Faceted stones often weigh between 3 and 4 carats. A garnet-red microlite crystal that was discovered in 1885 measured 4.4 carats in the rough and resembled a red zircon when it was faceted.