Trapiche crystals are some of the rarest types of crystals on Earth.
Very specific geologic conditions need to occur for this geometric phenomenon to take place.
Amethyst is one such stone that has been found with the trapiche pattern.
Here are some ways to tell a real trapiche amethyst from a fake.
Trapiche Amethyst (A Guide )
What does ‘trapiche’ even mean?
A trapiche is a primitive type of mill used in the Middle Ages to extract juice from food items like olives, grapes, and sugarcane.
It is known for having six spokes shooting out from a center point in the shape of a starfish.
Trapiche amethyst, along with other trapiche gems, naturally has this six-pointed, starfish-like pattern imprinted in the crystal itself.
Little is known about how exactly it’s constructed, but these spokes are created from mineral inclusions.
They form an equivalent pattern due to mineral zoning and the crystal’s symmetrical formation.
There are two types of trapiche gems: type A, the most common, or type B, which is incredibly rare.
In type A, the mineral inclusion is what forms the pattern inside the crystal.
In type B, it is reversed and the crystal itself is what becomes the spokes.
Either of these types creates a stunning crystalline display.
Amethyst is a type of quartz known for its purple color.
It is the birthstone for February and one of the most popular crystals among collectors.
It is commonly found as tumbled stones, decorative sculptures, and jewelry.
Many spiritual individuals use it for healing practices.
It has an almost identical chemical makeup as clear quartz, which is formed from silicon and oxygen and it makes a tetrahedral crystal formation.
It is an abundant stone, found commonly throughout the entire world.
However, trapiche amethyst specifically is so unique that it is rarely ever found.
How to Identify Trapiche Amethyst
Since trapiche stones are incredibly rare, they are very valuable.
Here are ways to identify trapiche amethyst and ensure that it is genuine.
What color is it?
Amethyst is a specific kind of quartz that comes in different shades of purple.
It can be so light that it almost appears clear, and it can be so dark that it can seem opaque.
The purple can be tinted with other colors, such as red, pink, and orange, but looking out for that purple hue is the key to identifying an amethyst.
What is the diaphaneity
A stone’s diaphaneity describes how light is transmitted through a stone.
It can range from opaque to transparent.
Amethyst, as with other types of quartz, varies from translucent to transparent.
Translucent is when a stone can transmit light but you can’t see through it, while you can see through a stone that is transparent.
Although some amethysts are clearer than others, you can always count on light to be able to shine through.
This is easily tested by holding the stone up to a light.
If the light illuminates the stone from the inside, then you know that its diaphaneity is correct.
What is the luster?
Luster refers to how much light is reflected off the stone.
Amethyst has a vitreous luster, which means that it has a glassy sheen to it.
Light should easily reflect off the stone, making it look very sparkly.
This is part of what makes it such an attractive crystal for jewelry.
What is the hardness?
Hardness can be figured out with the MOHS hardness scale.
This scale goes from one to ten, with one being the softest and ten being the hardest.
Something higher up on the scale can scratch something lower, but not the other way around.
Amethyst is about a seven on the scale, which means that it is a relatively hard stone.
You can test its hardness by trying to scratch something lower on the scale with it, like glass, which is a five and a half.
If the amethyst scratches the glass, then you know it’s higher up on the scale.
To be even more accurate, try scratching the amethyst with something higher up on the scale, like a drillbit, which is between an eight and nine.
If it passes both tests, then you know that it’s of the right hardness.
Is it magnetic?
Amethyst, along with other colored types of quartz, are what is called diamagnetic.
This means that it is repulsed by magnets instead of attracted or even neutral.
If you have a strong enough magnet and you try to place a piece of amethyst on top of it, the amethyst should ‘float’ on top because of the diamagnetism.
Does it have the characteristic pinwheel pattern?
The thing that distinguishes a trapiche amethyst from other types of amethyst is the pinwheel pattern caused by the mineral inclusions.
It should have what looks like a starfish in the center of the stone.
If it is type A, the starfish will be caused by the mineral inclusion.
If it is type B, the starfish will be made from the amethyst.
Be careful of fake trapiche amethyst
Because trapiche stones are so rare and valuable, many vendors will create a fake trapiche pattern in the stone using dyes or other methods.
Luckily, it is generally relatively easy to spot a fake.
The pinwheel will most often look like someone took a black sharpie and colored right on top of the stone.
You can find these most often with the black pattern baked into colored glass, being sold fraudulently on eBay and other sites.
Take heed, because these stones are very expensive and you don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for something that ends up being fake.
However, there are some stones that develop a trapiche-like pattern in stones.
There is one main difference, however – in a trapiche-like stone, the pinwheel pattern is continuous, while in a true trapiche, there are several unconnected pinwheel patterns all across the stone.
These other stones called star stones do look very similar, but they are not the same.
Caring for trapiche amethyst
Like other amethyst stones, trapiche is hard and durable.
However, because trapiche is such a valuable type of amethyst, you want to take care to keep it pristine and undamaged.
Keep it away from other jewelry, especially stones like diamond and topaz, that are higher up on the MOHS scale and can scratch amethyst.
Clean it with a soft washcloth and water.
Trapiche amethyst is an incredibly rare and treasured stone.
Use the tips above to ensure that your stone is genuine and that it stays in its best condition.
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