Bolivianite, also called ametrine, is a newly-discovered stone found in Bolivia.
It is naturally occurring and known for it’s dual color grading.
Although it is still a very recent discovery, it has quickly risen in popularity in the form of tumbled stones, jewelry, and for spiritual practices.
What exactly is Bolivianite?
Bolivianite is the trade name of the stone ametrine.
The word ‘ametrine’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘amethyst’ and ‘citrine’ because of its unique shading.
It is a blend of the violet color of amethyst and the honey tone of citrine.
Despite its name and color, it is not actually a mix of those two quartz stones, although many people incorrectly advertise it as such.
Although exact chemical makeup is still under debate, it is mostly a mix of fluorite and serpentine.
It was first discovered in 2018, making it one of the newest crystals on the market.
After it was discovered in Bolivia, there have been a couple of Bolivianite mines found in Peru, and some rare finds in India and other parts of Asia.
How to identify Bolivianite
Although unique in its makeup, Bolivianite can be easily confused for other stones.
Here are a few of the easiest tips for identifying the stone so that you can ensure that it is genuine Bolivianite.
Coloring and transparency
Bolivianite has a characteristic dual color of honey-yellow and violet purple.
It is also semi-transparent, so the lightly colored stone will be illuminated from the inside if a light is shone through it.
Its raw form tends to be darker in coloring and seems less transparent, but when polished, it has a higher vibrancy and gains more transparency.
Since Bolivianite contains fluorite and serpentine, which are relatively soft stones, Bolivianite is lower on the MOHS hardness scale.
It tends to be between a four and a five, which means that it is more easily scratched than most gemstones.
To test the MOHS hardness, you can see if it scratches something lower on the MOHS scale, such as copper.
Then, you can try to scratch the Bolivianite with something higher on the MOHS scale, such as a regular kitchen knife.
This will give you a good idea on how hard the stone is.
Luster of a stone refers to how much light the stone reflects.
Bolivianite is a crystal of very high luster.
If you find this gemstone in a piece of jewelry, it should be a very bright and shiny gem.
In its raw form, it’s will be less lustrous, but should still reflect more light than is typical with raw stones.
For what it’s worth
Ametrine in general is a rather inexpensive stone, ranging from $1 a carate to $8 a carat.
Bolivianite, however, is a much rarer stone than general ametrine, so it can be several thousand dollars a carat, depending on its cut and clarity.
Less valuable tumbled Bolivianite stones can be very inexpensive, sometimes even less than $10 for a raw crystal.
Keep in mind that there are many Bolivianite imposter stones out there, as many people try to pass off other kinds of less valuable ametrine as Bolivianite.
Also, since it is a very new stone with few mines in the entire world, it can be difficult to get your hands on one.
It is important to use the tips above to ensure that you are getting the correct stone, if you decide to purchase or mine for it.
Don’t get it confused
In fact, there are many different stones that are easy to pass off as genuine Bolivianite.
A simple internet search can bring up not only different forms of ametrine, but also various shades of amethyst and citrine that people will attempt to pretend is Bolivianite.
Fluorite is also easily passed off as Bolivianite, as it has similar colors, luster, and transparency.
It can be very difficult to clarify with vendors that it is, indeed, Bolivianite, since many people don’t even know what Bolivianite is.
This can add to the difficulty in ensuring that you are not receiving an imposter stone.
The easiest way to see if the stone is genuine is to look for both purple and yellow naturally in the one stone.
Some vendors dye clear quartz to look like Bolivianite, so if the color looks fake, trust your gut.
What it is used for
The most popular use of Bolivianite is for jewelry.
It makes for some gorgeous and uniquely colored necklaces and earrings.
It is also used by many for spiritual practices.
Because it is such a recently discovered stone, these practitioners still are not entirely sure how the stone should be used, but it is thought to be good for mental clarity, purging negative energy, and love.
How to care for Bolivianite
Keeping in mind that it is a rather soft and delicate stone, you want to stay clear of any abrasive materials.
Room temperature or cold water and a soft washcloth is best for cleaning.
Be sure to dry it off as soon as possible so the water does not permeate the stone.
Avoid direct sunlight or heat, because Bolivianite is very sensitive to heat and can get damaged.
The Bolivianite Legend
According to Bolivian legend, Bolivianite is the product of a love story.
Don Felipe de Urriole Goitia was a soldier on a Spanish expedition to Bolivia.
When he arrived in Bolivia, he fell in love with Anahi, the princess of the Ayoreo tribe.
The two of them wed and the king gifted Don Felipe with a mine filled with stones of purple and yellow.
However, Don Filipe dismissed the mine, considering its value beneath those of gold, silver, and emerald, and neglected it.
When Don Felipe decided to make his return to Spain with his bride, the tribe saw this as an insult and abandonment.
They attempted to assassinate him, but ended up injuring Anahi.
As she was dying, Anahi bestowed her husband with a purple and yellow stone from the neglected mine.
He saw the duality of colors as Anahi’s heart, torn between her love for him and her love for her people.
The plentiful mine that was discovered in 2018 at the border of Bolivia and Brazil is named Anahi after the fallen princess.
Bolivianite is truly rare and unique.
If you happen to come across a piece of genuine Bolivianite, consider yourself very fortunate, and be sure to give it proper care.
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