13th January 2018 by Mike Petrov
Being one of our favorite and most unusual stones, we decided to go to the source of this Meteorite-formed gemstones to Czech Republic. Hope you enjoy some pictures from the trip. My grandfather joined us from Siberia, so we had 3 generations of gem-hunters on the hunt!
Czech Republic!! The land of great history, beautiufl architecture, wonderful beer and delicious food - but most of all MOLDAVITE! We here at Russian Stone, fell in love with this gem the first time we heard about it about 20 years ago. Its beautiful and mysterious, and one of our most popular gems that we carry, so we decided to take the opportunity to go see in person the lands where it comes from.
Beautiful Besednice Moldavite available in our gallery
A quick summary of Moldavite:
The origin of Czech moldavites, also known as the Vltavines, is most likely connected with an event that happened about 14.7 million years ago. At that time a huge meteorite around 1 km in diameter hit the borderland between what is today southern Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The impact left traces that are still visible today, namely the 24-km wide Ries crater, in which the city of Nördlingen was built, and the Vltavines. The energy released by the impact of this large body instantly melted the surrounding rocks and glassy masses were ejected to heights of up to 200 km and distances as far as 450 km. Fragments of this semi-liquid mass that had been transformed into aerodynamic shapes on their way through the atmosphere (drops, spheres, rotating discs, doubled drops – dumbbells, etc.) fell down on a Tertiary plateau with large lakes. This territory is today called South Bohemia. South Bohemia is the most famous moldavite site today, but there are also other sites in the Czech Republic where these gemstones can be found. One of them is near Dukovany and Třebíč in South Moravia. Other recently discovered sites include the moldavite fields in the Cheb Basin or sediments in the vicinity of Dresden. Rare occurrence of Vltavines has been documented, although with less reliability, in Upper Austria in the borderland at the south-eastern end of the Třeboň Basin. Rare finds of Vltavines are reported from the Elbe River Basin or the Vltava Terraces near Prague.
It is a type of tektite. It was introduced to the scientific public for the first time in 1786 as "chrysolites" from Týn nad Vltavou in a lecture by Josef Mayer of Prague University, read at a meeting of the Bohemian Scientific Society (Mayer 1788). Zippe (1836) first used the term "Moldavite", derived from the Moldau (Vltava) river in Bohemia (the Czech Republic), from where the first described pieces came.
The chemical formula of moldavite is SiO2(+Al2O3). Its properties are similar to that of other types of glass, and reported Mohs hardness varies from 5.5 to 7.Moldavite can be transparent or translucent with a mossy green color, with swirls and bubbles accentuating its mossy appearance. Moldavites can be distinguished from green glass imitations by observing their worm-like inclusions of lechatelierite.
As a gemologist, it is my duty to ensure that we only carry the genuine material, and I regularly analyze and check our stock to ensure they have these inclusions mentioned above.
Over our years of travels, we have met miners from Czech Republic who have the reputation for ethical and legal mining of this wonderful gem, and we can rely on obtaining the top quality stones from them at the most competitive prices. Thanks to this, we got the opportunity to visit some of the famous areas (we found out that there are dozens of localities where Moldavite has been dug) that produced the finest Moldavites around.
But not before saying hello to the beautiful Prague :)
Famous for its red roofs, I think Prague is one of the most beautiful cities not only in Europe, but in the world!
Mike and Elena infront of one of many beautiful historic churches
Listening to grandpas wisdom
Nothing better than a Czech beer with my grandfather
Visiting our friends Milan and Eva Prukart in Plsen
Elena with Eva Prukart, in their beautiful warehouse in Plsen
Amazing design, ammonites and crystals all around
Mike looking at Moldavites
Ok now on to the Moldavite hunting...
Beatiful fairytale road to southern Czech Republic - Bohemia!!
Besednice!! Perhaps the most beautiful of all Moldavites - the hedgehogs - come from basically underneath our feet here
With most of the areas being private property, we only had access to a few public spots for digging thanks to our local friends
I'm digging here in an old pocket that goes about 4 meters (12 feet) deep under the roots of the trees. We've been told Moldavites are primarily found about 3-6 meters underground, as millions of erosion pushed them deep down.
Pretty little Moldavite in its rough
Slavce - another famous village for Moldavites. Some of the largest Moldavite ever found come from this area.
Valeri sniffing around in Slavce
So strange. This looks like any field in Toronto, Sydney or Moscow. But there are magical little green rocks underneath me that are not found in any of those places :)
Elena posing with some massive white mushrooms in the forest near Slavce
Growing up in Siberia, we all have a weakness for Mushrooms, a popular hobby for Russians in the early-mid fall
No Moldavite trip is complete without a stop in Český Krumlov to see the largest Moldvaite Museum in the world.
In case you still don't believe me that Moldavite in Czech is Vitavin haha
Just some of the local spots where Moldavites have been discovered. There are more areas outside of this map. But don't be fooled - the supply is really small as there is just not enough of this rare gem to go around with the huge demands for its beauty, energy and mystery. Thus so many fakes are on the market!!
Some samples used in movies about Moldavites
A wonderful display showing other varieties of Tektites in the world. Proud to say we carry most of them :)
Beautiful display of some exceptional specimens at the Museum
Until next time buddy, I'm sure we will be back to this beautiful land!!