A Short History of Diaspore and its trade names Zultanite and Csarite


Publisher’s note: This short history was originally published by the late Stephen Kotlowski, in the public domain, and is reproduced here verbatim for education and public consumption.  If you identify any errors or incorrect attributions, please notify us immediately.  All sources are cited.

Here is a short history of the mineral Diaspore and its gemstone trade name(s) Zultanite® / Csarite™ and some of the people involved, also to answer some lingering questions of what it is and how these trade names came to be along with photos and some noted articles associated with it. At the end of this report are pictures of the 96 carat “Sultans Shield” Zultanite® and the Zultanite® “Shooting Star” motif Jewelry Ensemble valued at over $1.5 million dollars: designed by Stephen Webster of London.

In early 2006 it was my friend Murat, the current mine owner who suggested we come up with a more pleasing gemstone “marketing” name for the gemstone variety of the mineral Diaspore, it had an awful sounding mineral name sounding like a fungus, so in early 2006 he came up with the name after I suggested we call it “Ottominite” after the Ottoman Empire of Turkey and he said how about “Sultanite” after the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire and giving it a Royal kind of sounding name, well it turns out after researching the name there was a mineral called “Sultanate” out there and he said it was to close to that name so instead we just exchange the “S” for a “Z” and Zultanite® was born. In all of the proceeding adds about this new gemstone Zultanite® it refers to the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire of Turkey as the inspiration and dedication for its royal sounding name.

I’ve been involved with this gemstone since the very first time it was brought to my attention into this county way back in the mid 1990’s, from the original Turkish importer, who had been acquiring it from a government owned, but none operating, Bauxite deposit in Turkey and ever since Murat, the current mine owner legally acquired the mining rights to it back in 2005.

Back in 1995, was the year I received an AGTA Spectrum “Cutting Edge” Award for the “Uniquely K Apex Fan” Diaspore I faceted, a 26 carat fan shape shield of this gemstone that was shown at the AGTA Show in Tucson.

My 26 carat “Uniquely K Apex Fan” Diaspore under incandescent light showing the reddish tan color of this AGTA Spectrum Awards winning stone from 1995. (the name Zultanite® was not created as of yet nor was Csarite™ which is a recent New Trade Mark name by the mine owner Murat Akgun in Turkey)
My 26 carat “Uniquely K Apex Fan” Diaspore under incandescent light showing the reddish tan color of this AGTA Spectrum Awards winning stone from 1995. (the name Zultanite® was not created as of yet nor was Csarite™ which is a recent New Trade Mark name by the mine owner Murat Akgun in Turkey)

Then it was only known as Diaspore a “new color changing gemstone from Turkey”. My partner and I at the time, where one of the only few companies marketing this lovely color changing gemstone under our company name Golden Land Trading, since I was one of only a few people faceting this gemstone and I tended to received most of the larger crystals due to my expertise working with this tricky gemstone. We had a full page color add in the 1995 Tucson Gem Show Guide on the right hand side of a page near the beginning of the Guide, we were displaying all of our own stones along with the “New Color Changing Gemstone from Turkey: Diaspore” at the GJX Show across the street from the AGTA Show.

From this point on till the acquisition of the legal mining rights by Murat in early 2005, the gemstone Diaspore had its ups and downs until at one point I lost contact with the former Turkish importer who was getting this fine gemstone mineral crystals out of Turkey. Quite a few years went by and my connection with the original importer had fallen off and I had not heard from him in quite some time. Then in 2004 Murat contacted me about the diaspore deposit and the former importer who I was getting the diaspore from was out of the picture. He contacted me as the person to see since my involvement with the former importer and my faceting expertise on cutting Diaspore was a valuable asset to him.

Murat asked me about continuing to facet the “untrade named” diaspore for him and I said I would be delighted. At the time he was looking for financial backers to help in the expansion and marketing of this gemstone and at that point became partners with a backer from Fort Lauderdale Florida and “Zultanite® Gems LLC” was formed.

The Floridian backer was the person I did most of my cutting for, for Murat and Murat concentrated on the opening up and upgrading of the new mining operation in Turkey along with the promotion of the Zultanite® and getting the gemstone rough to the people involved with faceting it. The Floridian partners concern was financing the marketing here in the USA and promoting the new gemstone by creating the website zultanite.com They did work together on this as Murat would concentrate on foreign distribution and getting commercial cutting involved and creating connections with different trade magazines for the promotion of the new gemstone Zultanite®.

Murat would send the best rough to his partner or to me directly or one of the other cutters involved and I would cut the stones and send them to the partner in Florida and he would pay me for my work. During this time between 2006 and from this point on, the company added several people to its sales force here in the USA and the campaign to promote “Zultanite®” and Zultanite® Gems LLC was on in force, being seen in many magazines and trade publications along with a gemstone tour around the county to promote this new gemstone “Zultanite®” on several home shopping networks.

Very well known jewelry designers were contacted and given stones to work with in the preceding years and Zultanite® and Zultanite® Gems LLC took off in the gemstone trade and jewelry market while Murat kept the mining operation ever expanding.

Since the diaspore was found in veins within a bauxite deposit he started marketing the bauxite and exporting the ore to the aluminum industry to help cover the cost of the expanding operation. During this time I was privileged on working with some of the largest crystals to have come out of the mine and was able to have several of the stones that I cut win AGTA Spectrum “Cutting Edge” awards over the years for Zultanite® Gems LLC.

The first Big Zultanite® stone to come from me became the first “World’s Largest Zultanite®” the 80 carat oval I faceted which won an AGTA award in 2008 under “Phenomenal Gemstones”, this stone is in the Winter of 2009 publication of the GIA Alumni magazine “The Loupe” which was recognizing GIA alumni members that won AGTA Spectrum Awards of which I’m an alumni. Then in 2011 I won another award for an 11 carat modified square princess cut Zultanite® for the company.

The 80 carat Oval that won a AGTA Spectrum Awards “Cutting Edge” award under “Phenomenal Gemstones” at one point it was the worlds largest Zultanite® to come from Zultanite® Gems LLC, this is under incandescent light. (Csarite™ which is a recent New Trade Mark name by the mine owner Murat Akgun in Turkey) the photo was taken by Robert Weldon for Zultanite® Gems LLC at the time.
The 80 carat Oval that won a AGTA Spectrum Awards “Cutting Edge” award under “Phenomenal Gemstones” at one point it was the worlds largest Zultanite® to come from Zultanite® Gems LLC, this is under incandescent light. (Csarite™ which is a recent New Trade Mark name by the mine owner Murat Akgun in Turkey) the photo was taken by Robert Weldon for Zultanite® Gems LLC at the time.

In early 2009 I was contacted by Murat directly and received an exceptional large diaspore crystal, it had recently come out of the mine and I took my time examining the crystal and planned out the potential stones to come from it. After several months I finally got to working on this crystal and was able to get a 96 carat shield shape out of it, I named it the “Sultans Shield” and it became the newly crowned “Worlds Largest Zultanite®”.

Sometime afterwards, after I returned the stone to Murat and quite sometime latter, it along with one matched pair of pear shapes and an large oval were given to Stephen Webster of London for the creation of a jewelry ensemble with the 96 carat Sultans Shield Zultanite® as the main attraction in a “Shooting Star” motif necklace, along with a matched pair of earrings and a fabulous ring in the same motif (you can view them in the link at the end of this report below) of which the Zultanite’s in the ring and earrings where “not” faceted by me but I believe they where stones faceted by Rudi & Ralph Wobito of Canada, who where also involved with many faceted Zultanite® stones coming from them and their very fancy and clever “Snow Flake” cut, a part faceted and carved designed stone resembling a snow flake. This ensemble is valued at over $1.5 million dollars with the 96 carat Sultans Shield Zultanite® coming in at over a cool $1 million dollars just for the stone I faceted, though I did not know at the time it would become so valuable.

Stephen Kotlowski of Uniquely K Custom Gem’s / Phenomenal Facets, was commissioned to cut the world’s largest Zultanite® gem. The 96.20 ct. “Sultans Shield” Kotlowski cut for the mine owner from Turkey and Zultanite® Gems LLC in Fort Lauderdale FL. The jewelry designer Stephen Webster of London just revealed his creation in an exclusive showing in Las Vegas to a select group of people in the trade. Great Job Stephen!  For more images and information, check out Phenomenal Facets on Facebook.

Right around this time is when the partnership soured along with other players in this company. This was the beginning of the end of the partners and ownership of Zultanite® Gems LLC by Murat. There was a legal battle and finally a settlement was made with the bulk of the inventory and the Zultanite® trade name and Zultanite® Gems LLC name going to the partner in Florida, since it was legally created and registered here by this partner.

Murat had to give up all rights to the Zultanite® trade name in the settlement leaving Murat out millions of dollars of inventory and having to restructure his business and loosing all of his hard work and money in all of the publications and advertising he had created with the Zultanite® trade name over the years. Since the lawsuit and settlement Murat had to come up with a new name to replace the Zultanite® name and he came up with the newly registered gemstone trade name of “Csarit™”. This all took quite sometime to go thru and now the two parties are working together, supporting each other’s business.

So this is the story behind this wonderful color changing gemstone and mineral Diaspore and my background on it. Now you know the reason for the different gemstone trade names for “Turkish Color Change Diaspore”. Just recognize it as a “rare” truly outstanding color changing gemstone desired by people and designers all around the world and how it has risen from being a “fungus” sounding named mineral Diaspore, to Zultanite® “A Royal Gemstone” of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire of Turkey and now with the mine owner a new name called Csarite™ pronounced sar-ite, like the Tsar’s of Russia! A Royal Gem indeed!