Satisfying the human desire for symmetry, trapiche gems have a special allure. A trapiche (pronounced tra·PEE·che) is a type of milling wheel used to process sugar cane. Its spokes made it the namesake of trapiche gems, with their “spokes” or “arms” of inclusions between gemmy mineral growth. Since the geological conditions necessary to create these gems are uncommon, trapiche gems are some of the rarest specimens on Earth.

Due to their fairly recent discovery and extreme rarity, relatively little information on these gems is available. In this introduction to trapiche gems, you’ll learn some of the basic facts about these stones and their formation.

What is a Trapiche Gem?

Not to be confused with star stones, trapiche gems are minerals that form with a radiating star of inclusions between growth sectors. Some form with a core or hub with spokes radiating outward from the core, while others form spokes from the center of the gem. Only minerals with a highly symmetric crystal habit are known to form the “spokes” or “arms” that define a trapiche gem. Additionally, all true trapiche gems contain inclusions of organic matter.

Which Minerals Can Form Trapiche Gems?

In 1879, Emile Bertrand first described…