Jewel Stones of Greenland


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Greenlandite was discovered in the 1960 during the survey of the lage iron deposit, isukasit, north of Nuuk. Greenlandite was subseguently discovered in several loclities in the Godthaabsfjord area. It was later established that the geological envionment in which greenlandite was formed in the order of 3.8 billion years old. This meant we are talking about one of the Earths oldest formations! Greenlandite has been used as a gemstone in Greenland for many years, justly maketed as ”the world’s oldest gemstone”. Green aventurine quartz has long been known as an Indian or Brazillian gemstone, and mor recently stones from southern Africa have appeared which can be difficult to distinguish from greenlandite. Experts will note that the color og Grenlandite is more bluish green than of the foreign variants of aventurine quartz. Any confusion with jade (nephrite)(hardness H = 6.5 to 7) can be resolved with


Greenlandites’ two components are quartz (SiO2) with a hardness of H=7 and fuchsite (K(Al,Cr)2AlSi3)10(OH,F)2) with a hardness of H=2.5. As a result the stone is very hard and can readily be polished to a smooth surface. Varying green (fuchsite) and white (quartz) schlieren (streaks) in the same piece can produce many variants of the stone. That indeed is part of greenlandites’ singularity.


For lapidary purposes the most usual form is as a cabochon, but flat polishing also produces pleasing effects. Thin slices are partially translucent, and are therefore well-suited to uses where light can shine through them. Polished greenlandite is best suited to mounting in silver. Superb results have been obtained by mounting in combination with other single-colored gemstones, such as red tugtupite, or blue lapis lazuli.

Greenlandite is well suited to carving for signet rings, for example. the best-known use of greenlandite is in fact in the Bishop of Greenland’s cape. Larger pieces can be used decoratively as bookends or letter racks. It is also well-suited for use in larger stone arrangements, mosaics, and candle holders.




last update: 08. august 2013