Gem Collector's Delight, Axinite

The name axinite reminds you more of an axe rather than a gem. The interesting thing is that axinite crystals in their raw form have a shape that resembles the tip of an axe. The Greek word 'axina' means axe and the resemblence of the gem to the tip of an axe gives it the name 'axinite'. The rather low availability of axinite has meant that very few people know of this gem. Fine crystals that are sufficiently large to set in jewelry are even rarer. The terms 'limited availability' or 'hard to find' have been misused in the world of gems. Any gem provider including the big players on T.V label a gem as 'rare' if they want to sell it and, they want to sell everything!

The color of axinite gems can be brown, blackish brown, greyish or sometimes blue. Axinite with a brownish grey color can resemble smoky quartz, it is often mistaken for smoky quartz too. It is ofcourse many times rarer than smoky quartz. Axinite has a hardness of 7 which makes it suitable for most jewelry applications. However the low availability and the limitation of small sizes, makes it difficult to create large gem stone design ideas for the gem. As expected of most rare gems, axinite is not cheap and can be classified as being in the higher price range. Axinite is sometimes mistaken for quartz, interestingly it has a similar hardness rating as quartz. The truth is that Axinite is not quartz, even though some colors of this stone can be similar to smoky quartz.

Most people who know of axinite stones prefer to keep them as collectors items rather than, to set them in jewelry that will be worn frequently. Tanzania and Russia are often listed as the locations in which Axinite gemstones are mined. There was a place in Pakistan where axinite was found, much of that output was not transparent and was quite milky and included. At one point of time, miners ventured deeper into the earth and did start bringing up some rather transparent and fine axinite crystals. The exploration stopped abruptly as the Pakistan government started implementing it's anti-terror strategy, the mining area was known to be a terrorists hideout.

If you do manage to lay your hands on a few pieces of axinite gem stones, make sure that they are genuine. Do not go overboard on the price and make up your mind to buy some only if, within your capacity or budget. Most axinite gem stones are cut to save on rough material loss, calibrated sizes and nice uniform shapes will surely not be found in large numbers.