Anatolite are beautiful, rare, color changing gemstones exclusively from Anatolia in Southwest Turkey. With gemstones, beauty drives demand and rarity price. Anatolite embodies a gem’s quintessential ideals: genuine ‘sole source’ rarity, a palette of breathtakingly beautiful colors in a single gem, and everyday durability, making it one of the world’s most coveted gemstones, and a prized addition to any jewelry collection.
Hardness 6.5 – 7
Refractive Index 1.70 – 1.75
Relative Density 3.4
Undeniably beautiful, Anatolite has a well-developed and highly attractive color change observable under different illumination, displaying a variety of body colors specific to each light source: kiwi (bright green) with flashes of canary (vivid yellow) in daylight, champagne or ginger (pastel to medium orange brownish yellow) in traditional indoor lighting (fluorescent), and raspberry, pink or Rhodolite-like hues (purplish pinks) under incandescent lighting. These colors can also be seen from different angles and a wide variety of other colors may occur in alternate lighting conditions.
Some of Anatolite s most unique characteristics are a superior appearance in mixed lighting compared to other color changing gemstones, displaying all its colors at once; unlike other color changing gemstones, its color change is not limited to two basic colors; and that its best color changes are not dependent on dark tones. The versatile nature of its changing colors also suits every complexion, fashion, personality and style. Like all gemstones, larger Anatolite displays a more striking color change and greater color intensity. Anatolite’s major value determinants are color change, low cutting yield, durability, eye-clean clarity, grading, no enhancements, saturation, and scintillation (play of light).
All Anatolite is optimally cut to maximize its inherent color change and finished eye-clean, the highest clarity quality grade for colored gemstones as determined by the world’s leading gemological laboratories, with excellent brilliance, scintillation, and an attractive shape and overall appearance. The faceting of Anatolite crystals is challenging as they must be correctly oriented to optimize color change and polish.
Prior to the formation of its modern republic, Turkey was ruled by the Ottoman Empire (1299 – 1923). Aptly known as the ‘Ottoman Gem’, Anatolite is the extremely rare color changing variety of the mineral Diaspore from the Ilbir Mountains in Anatolia, Southwest Turkey. Anatolite’s name is derived from its locale and the Greek ‘lithos’ meaning stone. Diaspore (aluminum oxide hydroxide) was first described in 1801 at Mramorsk Zavod in Russia’s Urals. Diaspore was named by René Just Haüy from the Greek ‘Diaspora’ (διασπείρειυ, to scatter), in reference to cracking when exposed to high temperatures. Anatolite may contain traces of iron, chromium, titanium and manganese, which could be responsible for the gem’s unique color change effect. From the early 1950s until 1972, Diaspore crystals in the Ilbir Mountains were extensively studied by the Turkish Government. In 1972 Etibank acquired the mining rights to all Turkish deposits and started mining the area for bauxite at the original mine in the Kucukcamlik and Buyukcamlik hills. Color Change Diaspore crystal specimens became popular with collectors after being promoted at the Munich and Basel mineral fairs in the late 70s and it was first recognized as a plausible gemstone in 1977 when examined by the Gemological Association of Great Britain Gem Testing Laboratory in London. While commercial faceting began in the early 80s, in 1982 the Turkish Government halted all mining activity by Etibank. Many Diaspore crystals were extracted and sent overseas by Euro-Asia Ltd., who introduced the gem to the market in 1994, with an article also appearing in Gems & Gemology magazine (winter 1994). In 2005 all Anatolian mining areas were privatized by public auction and Milenyum Mining Co. reopened the mine in 2006. Other tradenames for Anatolite are Color Change Diaspore, Ottomanite, Turkish Diaspore, and Turkizite.
Color change is a rare and highly valued optical phenomenon in gemstones, making color changing gems (Alexandrite, Color Change Fluorite, Color Change Garnet, Color Change Sapphire and Color Change Diaspore) extremely coveted.
While Color Change Diaspore was originally sourced from a single mine, Anatolite is currently extracted from several mines at the world’s only deposit of gem-quality Diaspore. First hand-mined in the mid-1980s by small-scale miners, the gem has only been in commercial production since 2006. Anatolite is mined directly from its bauxite host rock, which is difficult and time consuming, contributing to low yields. Cutting yields are usually low, typically 1 – 3 percent, but no more than 15 percent. Given its sole source and the rarity of color changing gemstones, this accentuates its scarcity, particularly when the typical return on a gem mineral is 20 – 35 percent. Available in classic and specialty cuts, Anatolite’s average size is 1 – 3 carats with sizes exceeding 5 carats exceptionally rare.
Gemstone enhancements or treatments are prevalent in the marketplace with over 90 percent treated and they can have a significant impact on gemstone value. Anatolite is a natural gemstone and not enhanced or treated in any way, adding to its value and rarity.
Durability & Care
Anatolite (Mohs’ Hardness: 6.5 – 7) is an excellent choice for everyday jewelry, but avoid doing anything that risks impact, exposure to chemicals, heat, or extreme temperature changes. Anatolite should always be stored carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.