Locality - Wessels Mine, Hotazel, Kalahari manganese field, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
Size – 41 x 34 x 31mm
Weight – 63g
This rare sugilite specimen displays stunningly rich, gemmy, fibrous royal purple crystallization throughout in patched and mottled patterns across a dark, slate black manganese matrix along with a snowy white mineral believed to be pectolite. Sugilite is increasingly scarce and highly sought after, making this a serious collectors piece.
Sugilite is a very rare cyclosilicate mineral that typically forms in massive, microcrystalline aggregates and dislays pink to deep lavender purple tones, caused by the presence of manganese, with some specimens also showing impressive chatoyancy or mottling where chalcedony is present. It is most commonly opaque, though some scarce specimens may also be translucent (referred to as 'gel sugilite'). It is also one of the most incorrectly pronounced mineral names, with many pronouncing sugilite with a soft 'g', as in 'gene', when it is correctly pronounced with a hard 'g', as in 'geese'. This mineral is also known as 'wesselite' because exceptional, translucent, gem-grade material is found in the Wessels Manganese Mine near Hotazel, South Africa. The finest, pure purple sugilite commands high prices and is considered one of the greatest purple gemstones in existence.
Sugilite in History
Sugilite was first found in Japan in 1944 as a brownish-yellow rock-forming mineral and named in 1976 by Nobuhide Murakami in honour of the petrologist Ken-ichi Sugi. An exceptional deposit was then later also found in 1979 in South Africa forming in attractive rich, bright pink and lavender purple colours, and this variety became highly sought after for use in ornamental carvings and jewellery.