SUGILITE (‘ROYAL AZEL’) DESIGNER CABOCHON (Africa) – 3.97 ct.
Sugilite, also trade named “Royal Azel” and “Royal Lavulite,” is a relative newcomer to the gem scene. The mineral was named after its Japanese discoverer but gem quality material was unknown until a manganese mine in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert encountered a small deposit nearly a mile beneath the earth’s surface in the late 1970s. Very little quality material now comes to market and good material has always been costly. I was fortunate to find some excellent rough in the 1990s but tucked it away because I couldn’t polish it satisfactorily. I’ve recently learned “the secret” and am now able to offer a few fine stones from that old stock. This is a very fine color pear shape with high gloss polish. Reddish purple with a few streaks of other minerals. Sugilite is often associated with red bustamite and bluish richterite. Measures 11 x 19.6 x 2.4 mm. (All uses, N)