Hessonite is a beautiful grossular crystal found primarily in Asia Minor.
It is a very popular gemstone used in jewelry due to its sparkle and durability.
Since hessonite is a relatively rare stone, it is important to be able to identify it.
Here are some tips to make sure that you have genuine hessonite.
What Is Hessonite?
Hessonite is a grossular stone, which is a type of garnet known for its luster and expansive variety of colors.
Garnet is an umbrella term for a wide range of stones and crystals.
It is found as geometric crystal clusters from metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks.
Grossular stones are chemically composed of calcium aluminum silicate and are colorless without other mineral inclusions.
Hessonite comes in a range of oranges, and its color comes from iron.
It is found primarily in placer deposits in Sri Lanka and India, but it is also sometimes found in California and Brazil.
Despite the fact that garnet is such a common stone found all over the world, hessonite specifically is found in comparatively few places, making it relatively scarce.
How To Identify Hessonite
Since hessonite can be pretty pricey, it is important to be able to differentiate it from other stones.
Here are some simple techniques you can use to ensure that your hessonite is real.
Identify the color
Although grossular garnet comes in almost the entire color spectrum, hessonite comes in different shades of orange.
At its lightest, it takes on a golden orange hue, and at its darkest it is an intense red orange.
Be aware that, because it is colored by iron, it does have a brownish tint to it.
This is a very easy way to rule out other stones that do not come in these colors.
Identify the diaphaneity
Diaphaneity refers to how well a stone or crystal is able to transmit light; oftentimes, it is described in terms of transparency or translucency.
Hessonite ranges from translucent to transparent, which means that, similarly to quartz, light can easily be shone through.
This is a great way to help you identify hessonite from stones that are opaque.
Identify the luster
A stone’s luster is how much light is reflected off the surface.
Hessonite has what is known as a vitreous luster, which is a luster similar to that of glass.
Therefore, it is a very lustrous stone, and has a great sparkle.
This is part of what makes it such a desirable stone for jewelry.
Identify the crystal system
The crystal system refers to the shape in which a crystal naturally forms.
Hessonite has an isometric crystal system, which means that it occurs in nature in a cubic form.
So, if you come across raw hessonite, take a look at the crystal cluster.
If it’s composed of cubic-looking crystals, then chances are you’ve correctly identified the hessonite.
Test the hardness
Hardness, while sounding complicated, is actually a fairly simple characteristic to test.
The MOHS hardness scale helps you to find the hardness of your item.
It is a scale that ranges from one to ten, with one being the softest and ten being the hardest.
Anything higher up on the scale can scratch anything lower down on the scale, but not the other way around.
Hessonite falls in between a six and a half and a seven and a half. So, you can employ the scratch test.
Find something lower on the scale, like a piece of glass, and try to scratch it.
If it works, then you know that the hessonite is harder than the glass.
If you want to be even more accurate, try and scratch the hessonite with something higher up on the scale, like a drillbit.
If it passes both tests, then you will have a very accurate idea of the hardness of the stone.
Identify the clarity
A stone’s clarity describes whether or not there are other colors included in the stone.
Hessonite is a stone that is very clear, meaning that it just has the one color.
If you find a stone that has any streaks, dappling, bands, or spots of other colors, you can be relatively certain that it is not hessonite.
Find out if it’s magnetic
Surprisingly, hessonite contains a magnetic force because of the iron inclusions.
You can easily test this by seeing if it responds to a magnet.
It doesn’t have to be a strong response, but you want to be sure that it has some amount of magnetic attraction.
If it doesn’t, then it probably isn’t a true hessonite.
Be careful – there are other stones that look like hessonite
The orange hues of hessonite are beautiful and uncommon, but there are some other stones that contain similar colors.
One such stone is mandarin garnet.
As the name suggests, it has a light tangerine color and shares many similar traits with hessonite, as they are both types of garnet.
However, you can tell the two apart in a very subtle way – hessonite has a brown tint from its iron inclusion that mandarin garnet, which gets its color from manganese instead, does not possess.
So, look out for this little detail.
Citrine is another stone that can come in orange colors.
But you can tell the two stones apart due to their colors, as well.
Citrine often has more of a yellow hue to it, while hessonite is darker.
Citrine also does not have an isometric crystal formation, instead having a hexagonal system.
There are also some orange stones that are even rarer, like orange diamonds, topaz, and zircon, and these can be differentiated in a few different ways.
Both topaz and diamond are much harder than hessonite, so make sure to always check the hardness.
Orange zircon is incredibly rare, so the chances of finding one is incredibly slim.
However, the easiest way you can tell the difference would be in its crystal system, which is a classic tetragonal shape.
Zircon also has the highest-quality luster, which is called adamantine, so it’ll have a more intense, diamond-like sparkle.
Caring for Hessonite
Hessonite is a rather resilient stone, so it is pretty easy to take care of.
Make sure to keep it away from other gems, because harder stones can easily scratch hessonite. It can be cleaned with water and a soft washcloth.
Hessonite is a beautiful stone with a very unique color. Make sure to follow our tips to properly identify and care for your hessonite crystals.
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