Benitoite is a unique, stunning and rare gem. As the state gemstone of California, it is prized for a pure deep, dark, blue color and its ability to disperse light to create flash and fire qualities which are similar to a diamond.
This captivating stone is even sometimes confused with sapphire, but it has a higher degree of flash and fire than sapphire. Though it can be hard to find, the qualities of this blue gemstone are ideal for unique engagement or wedding rings.
Find out more about 'Benito' gems below including properties, price guides, special care and shopping tips. And if you have any questions that are not answered here, send them in through the comment box at the end of the page!
One of the most challenging aspects to creating a fine ring featuring this stone is the rarity of the gem. As most pieces discovered are very small, there are few gemstones of this size that are one carat or larger; many rings feature multiple clusters of the bright blue gem instead of one large stone.
Durability = Very Good
Hardness = 6.0 – 6.5
Refractive Index = 1.76 – 1.80
Specific Gravity = 3.60 – 3.68
This gemstone was named for the “Benito” area in California where it was first discovered. The term “Benito” means blessed, and as a result those who are lucky enough to own a fine specimen of this gemstone should considered themselves fortunate and blessed.
At this time natural benitoite gemstones are not enhanced or treated.
With a hardness rating of 6.0 – 6.5, this durable blue gemstone does need some special care. It should only be cleaned with a soft cloth that is free of dust and fine debris. Cleaning methods using heat, ultrasonic machines, and chemicals should be avoided. In time, like other types of gemstones it may need a professional cleaning and polish to restore its natural luster. Care should be taken to avoid scratches.
Because exposure to heat, ultrasonic machines and chemicals can damage the gemstone, white gold with rhodium plate should be avoided - as the re-plating process could damage the stone. Instead, stick with platinum, palladium or red/yellow gold.
This gemstone is currently mined in California, Arkansas, and
Japan, although most gem quality stones are only found in California.
Current prices are on average $3,000 per carat. Smaller carat sizes come out to an average of $700 per carat; the cost per carat rises dramatically according to its size since one carat or above gemstones are rare.
Prized benitoite gemstones have the characteristic deep dark blue associated with this gem, in addition to depth, fire, and brilliance.
Cut is also important to the overall value of the gemstones, as is the absence of any inclusions or blemishes.
Gemstone Shopping Tips
Synthetic gemstones of this kind have been grown in laboratory settings, but only in very minute quantities. On today’s market, no synthetic exists but buyers still need to beware (while not common, some disreputable sellers try to sell colored cut glass as authentic gemstones).
Ebay generally has a selection of cut faceted loose benitoite gemstones, these stones can be sent to designers like Brilliant Earth's Custom Wedding Ring Designers to be set in an engagement or wedding ring - as a general gemstone ring rule the best metals to use are those which will not require a rhodium plate such as palladium, platinum, yellow gold or rose gold.
A limited selection of benitoite rings and gemstones can also be found on Etsy.
Forrest Gemstones also has a small selection of faceted benitoite gems, and may be a source to send rough benitoite for custom cutting.
To ensure that you are purchasing a genuine gemstone, pay
attention to price, seller reputation, and a light fluorescence test:
These gemstones are not readily available already set in a gemstone ring, if you would like an engagement ring or wedding ring featuring the famed "Benito" gem, you will probably need to purchase the stone rough - or for fun, try finding benitoite on one of the gemstone vacation tours offered in California - and have the stone cut.
If you have a rough benitoite gem that needs to be cut and fit
into a ring, make sure that you only take the gem to a jeweler who has
experience working with this gem.
Questions or Comments?
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