April 13, 2019

12th June 2017 by Elena Petrova

We are starting a new series of interesting an unique facts about various gemstones, and we are starting with one of the most unusual clear stones - Phenakite!!!

1 ---First name of Phenakite, Kokovinite came after of Ya.V. Kokovin (1787-1840), a discoverer of this mineral, a manager of the Yekaterinburg lapidary factory, Russia in the Middle Urals at Izumrudnye Kopi (Emerald Mines) at the beginning of 19th century;

2--- In 1833 Russian Mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld named a rare beryllium mineral PHENAKITE.  The name comes from the Greek word phenakos, meaning 'deceiver' - a reference to the fact that Phenakite can be easily  mistaken for Quartz.

3---This gem belongs to the Phenakite mineral group as the beryllium analogue. This very rare element occurs in emerald and alexandrite, as well.

4---Phenakites can show pale yellow, pink colors, as well as no color. More rarely greenish-light blue or brownish (very rare red gems cut from Russian Phenakite).

5 --- Recently, gemological laboratories have confirmed cat's eye gems cabbed from Phenakites from Madagascar and Sri Lanka.  There are occasional chatoyant specimens, and four-rayed star stones with a brownish tint have been reported from Sri Lanka.  


6--- Faceted gemstones normally range between 1 and 5 carats in size. 

7---One of the best samples of Phenakite was a transparent crystal of the perfect shape, 18x15x12 cm. in size. The biggest crystal, 22x15x8 cm. in size, is kept in the collection of the Mining Museum, Saint- Petersburg., and in the Ural Geological Museum, Yekaterinburg, there is a crystal that is 7 kg in mass.

Crystals up to 5 x 10 x 18 cm have been found, although usually heavily flawed.

8---The largest known rough Phenakite was a pebble found in Sri Lanka. Weighing in at 1,470 carats, it cut a 569 carat clean gem and several smaller stones. The large stone has many needle-like inclusions.  They are kept in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

9- Phenakite is found in gem quality in very few locations in the world.  Russia, Burma and Brazil have been sources of gem Phenakite.


a- The best crystals of Phenakite are found in emerald-bearing mica schist's predominantly in the Malyshevo, near Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovskaya Oblast, in the Ural Mountains of Russia, in association with Emerald and Alexandrite


b- Complex, colorless floater crystals of Phenakite are classics from Rio Piracicaba, in the pegmatites of Minas Gerais, Brazil.


c-  Lustrous, gemmy, prismatic crystals are mined in Mogok and Mongmit, Burma (Myanmar).


 d-  Prismatic  large Phenakite crystals have recently been coming from the Anjanabonoina pegmatite, Betafo District, Antananarivo Province, Madagascar. 


e - In 2008 a significant deposit of beautifully etched , highly lustrous and unusually large Phenakite crystals was found in the Salistone Mine, Jos Plateau, Nigeria.  These Nigerian stones have been given the name “Okuta-Didan” which is the Yoruba term for “shining stone,” a logical name given the brilliance of the Nigerian gems.  Production has been intermittent since then, and the mineral collector market has purchased many of the crystals due to their stunning etching patterns.


f- In the U.S., stubby, usually cloudy crystals are known at Mt. Antero, Chaffee Co., Colorado.


10---Synonyms. Ural diamond,  Rhombohedral emerald, Kokovinite, | Phenacite.


Article by: Elena Petrova


Please visit our online stores and Mineral Gallery The Russian Stone , Toronto, Ontario to see the best phenakite collection in North America.  You can find not only crystals, rough, gem quality phenakite, but also amazing collection of one of kind jewellery made from naturally formed and faceted gems of phenakite from all famous location of the globe.