Although faceting chabazite isn't too difficult, it's too soft for jewelry. However, only a handful of cut chabazites may exist because facetable material is extremely scarce.
The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.
|Crystallography||Hexagonal. Crystals rhomb-shaped, tabular; frequently twinned.|
|Colors||Colorless, white, yellowish, pinkish, reddish white, salmon color, greenish.|
|Specific Gravity||2.05 - 2.16|
|Cleavage||Distinct 1 direction.|
|Transparency||Transparent to translucent.|
|Formula||CaAl2Si4O12 · 6H2O|
|Optics||Variable; R.I. = 1.470 - 1.494. Uniaxial (+) or (-). See “Identifying Characteristics” below.|
|Etymology||Originally named chabasie by Bosc d'Antic in 1780, later changed to chabazite. See “Comments” below.|
|Occurrence||Cavities in basalt and other basic igneous rocks; also hot spring deposits.|
Chabazite refers to a series of related minerals. This series include calcium (Ca), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), and strontium (Sr) dominant members. The sodium-dominant member is also known as herschelite.
This stone can show pale but attractive colors. Unfortunately, it’s too soft to wear (hardness 4 – 5) and rarely found in clean condition. Usually, faceters can cut only one corner of pinkish or colorless crystals, since they’re never entirely transparent. Even museum collections seldom possess cut material.
This rare, relatively little-known gem has a poetic but mangled etymology. The name “chabazite” comes from a poem attributed to the poet Orpheus from Greek mythology. However, the actual source, the 4th century CE Orphic Lithica of Pseudo-Orpheus, refers to chalazias, a stone said to be like hail. According to this mystical work, the stone purportedly cooled passions and cured fevers and snakebites. Evidently, its magical purview doesn’t include typos. The “b” in the modern name came from a misspelling in a text of the poem used in the 18th century.
Labs have created synthetic minerals, like SSZ-13, isostructural with chabazite. (They share the same crystal structure but not the same chemical composition). These materials only have industrial uses.
- United States: California; Colorado; Hawaii; Nevada; New Jersey; Oregon.
- Canada: Bay of Fundy district, Nova Scotia.
- Australia; Czech Republic; Germany; Greenland; Hungary; India; Ireland; Italy; Russia; Scotland; Slovakia.
Cut chabazites are always very small, usually less than 1-2 carats.
You’re more likely to find chabazites in mineral collections, if at all, than in jewelry collections. These gems have significantly lower hardness than common jewelry stones, such as quartz and topaz, not to mention diamond. Therefore, store them separately from other gems to avoid contact scratches. For cleaning, use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water. Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.