Calsilica – Myth or Reality

Some twenty years ago, calsilica started appearing in jewelry shows and gem and mineral exhibitions around the world. The specimens shown had bright and vivid colors that spanned the spectrum of the rainbow! Quite naturally, jewelry designers and fashion jewelry fans became enamored with this beautiful gemstone. Over the next several years, there was a steady increase in the demand for calsilica for jewelry designs, and soon calsilica earrings, silver pendants, rings, and other items began to appear on the market. Online and traditional jewelry stores could barely keep up with demand and the price for this stone increased steadily.

Once the initial euphoria of a new and beautiful gemstone in the world of jewelry died down, gemologists and some well-informed jewelry fans started to ask questions about the origin of this stone. In most cases, these questions arose from natural curiosity, while in other cases the questions were borne from suspicions concerning the authenticity of calsilica. At first, suppliers staunchly claimed that calsilica was a natural stone that was discovered in a mine in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. They claimed that mining of the stone continued to present day and even provided a few photographs of the mining operations. The photographic evidence was inconclusive and the doubts about the origin of calsilica persisted. Gemologists and geologists requested permission to visit the mine and visually inspect and confirm the deposits in Chihuahua. All these requests were denied on the grounds of proprietary information. Suppliers persisted with the claim that calsilica was a natural material – a natural form of microcrystalline calcite, that was found in the veins or seams of the volcanic rhyolite rock formation. The claim was that the binding agent in the stone was a mix of natural clay minerals that hardened under high pressure and temperatures, rendering the stone in the form that we now see it today. This did little to quiet rumors that calsilica was indeed a man-made material and not a naturally occurring stone as was originally claimed. In fact, new rumors of a spectacular deposit of natural calsilica in China started to spread in the world of gems and gemology. The specimens supposedly obtained from the mine in China were quite beautiful and their colors and patterns rivaled those of the specimens from the original mine in Mexico.

To quell these rumors and answer the many questions surrounding this gemstone the Swiss Gemological Institute (SSEF) undertook a laboratory investigation of calsilica in 2002, and published their findings in one of their newsletters in 2003. To begin their investigation, SSEF purchased two calsilica specimens at a gem and mineral show in France in 2002. The seller of course claimed that the stones were natural and even produced photographs of the mine in Mexico. To further bolster their claim, they even had a letter of authentication from a laboratory in the United States stating that the stones were not man-made. SSEF performed microscopic examinations and laboratory tests on the specimens, and found that the base materials were indeed a natural form of calcite. They also discovered however, that the colored streaks in the stone contained man-made coloring pigments. They also found that the binding agent was a transparent soft, plastic-like material very similar to paraffin wax, and not natural clay minerals as was originally claimed. This investigation proved once and for all that calsilica is a man-made stone.

Author Bio: Mr. Arnold writes extensively on sterling silver jewelry and fashion gemstones jewelry. He is a geologist and amateur gemologist in Arizona.

Category: Womens Interest
Keywords: calsilica, gems, gemstone, gemstones jewelry, silver jewelry, sterling silver jewelry

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